Qingdao's Olympic legacy sails into the future
( chinadaily.com.cn )
Eight years after it hosted the sailing events of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Qingdao's Olympic Sailing Center has taken on a new lease of life.
The 45 hectare center and marina at Fushan Bay has undergone numerous developments since it was purpose built to host Olympic athletes during the games.
To showcase its near decade-long transformation, the local government hosted a national media delegation on Sept 8 as part of its "Sensing Qingdao" tour, which is aimed at giving visitors a snapshot of what the city has to offer.
The group, comprised mainly of journalists and photographers, toured parts of the Olympic Sailing Center that have been repurposed. What was once the athlete's village has been transformed into a five-star hotel; what once functioned as the logistics department of the sailing events is now a state of the art business center. A coastal theater was also built on a section of marina previously used during races.
Making full usage of the center after the Olympics was part of the plan since its inception, according to the Qingdao Tourism Group. Compared with past Olympic sailing venues in other countries, the one in Qingdao is among the most used.
Since 2008, it has hosted parts of the annual Volvo Ocean Race, Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, Extreme Sailing Series, ISAF Sailing World Cup and the Qingdao Sailing Week. Keeping some of its basic functions as a sports complex has enabled the center to remain qualified to host such large-scale international events, according to a senior manager from Qingdao Tourism Group, who operate the center.
Aside from utilizing the facilities to make sure they were put to use in the most effective way possible, authorities in Qingdao have been eager to carry forward the legacy of the games.
The Olympic Sailing Center has witnessed a growing popularity of yachting and sailing as a result of people being inspired from its hosting of the Olympics. As the core area of sailing in Qingdao, often dubbed as "China's sailing city", the center has attracted tens of thousands of international tourists to take part in sailing-themed tours.
By holding diverse events such as "Sailing Week" and "Sea Fair", the center has helped Qingdao to become the most well known sailing hub in China. Authorities in the city have learned from other cities with strong sailing heritages such as Kiel in Germany, which has been holding an international sailing week for 150 years, to develop a culture of sailing and culture and promote the image of the city.