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Welcome to new winter sports era

By Thomas Bach | China Daily | Updated: 2022-02-02 08:52
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IOC president Thomas Bach speaks during an exclusive interview with Xinhua, on Jan 31, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

Dear Athletes,

Together we are writing a new chapter in sporting history. Beijing is the first city ever to host both the summer and winter editions of the Olympic Games. The Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 will be the start of a new era for winter sport. Well over 300 million Chinese people are now taking up sport on snow and ice. Today, China is a winter sport country. This will change the global landscape for winter sport forever.

Now is the time for you, the best winter sport athletes of the world, to make history. You can only make your Olympic dream come true because our Chinese partners and friends have set the Olympic stage in such a splendid way. You have magnificent venues from which to shine. Your Olympic dream is coming true in front of hundreds of millions of new Chinese winter sport enthusiasts, giving a tremendous boost to your fan base and to your sport.

Over the coming days, you will compete fiercely with each other for Olympic glory, while living peacefully together under one roof in the Olympic Village. You will be watched by a global audience of billions, sending this powerful message to the world: yes, it is possible to compete with each other for the highest prize, while living together peacefully and respectfully.

The international community greatly supports these Olympic Winter Games because this unifying message is even more important in our divided world today. This was most recently exemplified by the Olympic Truce Resolution, which was adopted by consensus of all 193 Member States of the United Nations General Assembly. The positive role that you, the athletes, are playing is explicitly highlighted: with this resolution, the UN Member States "welcome the leadership of Olympic and Paralympic athletes in promoting peace and human understanding through sport and the Olympic ideal".

Your inspiring sporting performances; the unifying message of the Olympic Games and the international support this enjoys; the passion for winter sport in China and the hundreds of millions of Chinese winter sport fans: all these elements will take global winter sport to unprecedented new heights.

This is why the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 are also a unique opportunity for the Chinese people to write a new chapter in the country's great history. The new level of sport engagement contributes significantly to health and well-being. These Olympic Winter Games are providing tangible social and economic benefits to the people in Zhangjiakou and Yanqing, creating jobs, promoting tourism and generating business in these regions.

As the world gets ready to watch the best Chinese and global athletes perform on the biggest sporting stage of all, these Olympic Winter Games serve as a timely reminder that we can only go faster, we can only aim higher, we can only become stronger, if we stand together-in solidarity.

I kindly invite you, the athletes, and all Chinese people to enjoy this historic celebration of the Olympic spirit.


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