Post-Olympic projects poised for takeoff

By SUN XIAOCHEN | China Daily | Updated: 2022-03-24 07:38
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Visitors pass Shougang Big Air, a Winter Olympics venue at Shougang Industrial Park in west Beijing, on Monday. The park opened to the public after the Games. ZHU XINGXIN/CHINA DAILY

Venues transformed for wide variety of uses after the Games

Editor's note: In a series of reports titled "Legacies of the Games", China Daily explores changes brought to the country by the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. This is the fifth and last in the series.

With follow-up plans ready to kick in, venues for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics are expected to remain busy as organizers and venue owners introduce legacy projects to keep facilities running profitably and sustainably.

More than a month after her gold-winning performance at the Winter Olympics, freestyle skiing superstar Gu Ailing last week revisited Shougang Industrial Park, where she won the freeski Big Air event on Feb 8.

Her return again focused attention on the park, which reopened to the public after the Games for sightseeing, exercise and leisure activities.

Gu was invited as an ambassador to take part in a charity running event organized at the foot of the giant slope she hurtled down to perform stunning aerial tricks during the Olympics.

"I feel honored to return to Shougang, where I made history to win on the event's Olympic debut, and it's great to see more action going on here," said Gu, an 18-year-old prodigy who also won a gold and silver medal in the halfpipe and slopestyle events to become one of most decorated Olympians at Beijing 2022.

Her return to the venue where she found stardom shed new light on the use of permanent Olympic venues after the Games-a challenge commonly faced by hosts of major sporting events worldwide.

Shougang Industrial Park, also home to the headquarters of the Beijing 2022 Organizing Committee, has emerged as a new destination for sports and cultural events, exhibitions, conventions and tourism. The former site of a steel mill, it can be reached by subway, and also boasts restaurants and hotels thanks to an urban revitalization project triggered by the Olympics.

Hosting International Ski Federation World Cup events before the Games, the Shougang Big Air venue will continue to bid for more world-class freeski and snowboarding competitions. Grassroots activities such as marathons, hiking and cycling will also be organized regularly at the park, turning it into a mass fitness center, according to the authorities.

Cai Qi, president of the Beijing 2022 Organizing Committee, said during a review visit to the park on Saturday: "Big Air Shougang impressed the world during the Olympics with its transformation from an industrial site to a burgeoning sports center. It is important that it continues to be well used after the Games to draw more visitors and stimulate sports and cultural activities beyond this year."

To diversify business at the park, additional parking lots, retail outlets and exhibition spaces are planned for warehouses vacated by the relocation of the Shougang steel mill, said Cai, who is also secretary of the Communist Party of China Beijing Municipal Committee.

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