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Italian student proud of opening ceremony role

China Daily | Updated: 2022-01-19 09:53
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With just two weeks to go before Beijing 2022 begins, Italian university student Helena is brimming with excitement about her role in next month's opening ceremony.

Helena, whose mother is Chinese, is studying at the Arts and Design Academy of Tsinghua University in the Chinese capital, and has been preparing for the last three months to work as a volunteer at the National Stadium, aka the Bird's Nest, where the opening ceremony of Beijing 2022 will be staged on Feb 4.

"I was selected after being recommended by my teachers. This is my first time volunteering for such a large-scale event. I'll serve as a volunteer in the performance group. We often rehearse for the best presentation at the opening ceremony," she said.

"I think it gives me a better understanding of Chinese aesthetics."

At the time of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games, Helena was very young and didn't know much about Chinese culture. Nowadays an increasing number of foreigners are interested in Chinese culture, and Helena believes Beijing 2022 will further pique their curiosity.

"More and more people love Chinese culture. I believe that the Beijing Winter Olympics, which is full of Chinese cultural elements, will win the favor of people all over the world," Helena said.

The Winter Olympics have also given Helena a greater understanding of ice and snow sports.

"Because I grew up in Guangzhou, a southern city in China, I seldom saw snow when I was young. Tsinghua has organized some ice skating activities for us, and we have gradually discovered the fun in it and I love it," she said.

Helena also feels privileged to count herself among the hundreds of millions of Chinese to get into ice and snow activities as part of the nation's push to promote winters sports in the build-up to the Games.

Official figures released last week show that 346 million people have participated in ice and snow sports since Beijing and Zhangjiakou won the bid in 2015 to host the Games.

"In recent years, China's ice and snow sports have gradually become popular, among young people in particular. Now, you can often see Chinese people skiing or skating," Helena said.

"I am looking forward to the opening ceremony, and believe we can achieve what we set out to do."


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