Post-Olympic projects poised for takeoff

By SUN XIAOCHEN | China Daily | Updated: 2022-03-24 07:38
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A view of the National Aquatics Centre (right) and the National Stadium during the Winter Paralympics this month. WANG HE/FOR CHINA DAILY

Mountain paradise

In Yanqing district and Zhangjiakou's Chongli district, venues that were prepared for snow sports at Beijing 2022 are bracing for a surge in public participation, with new slopes, cable lines and infrastructure maintained in top condition for commercial operations.

Situated on Xiaohaituo Mountain in Yanqing, the National Alpine Skiing Centre earned positive reviews from Olympians for its challenging but fun terrain and high-quality snow courses.

According to the organizing committee, it is time to attract the ever-increasing number of amateur participants to this venue.

Liu Xinghua, director of legacy management for the Beijing 2022 Organizing Committee, said: "Operating the venue as a commercial skiing resort for public use after the Olympics has always been an integral part of the entire project. It's the best Alpine course we have in our country, so we'd better make all the investment and development efforts worthwhile by keeping it busy."

The organizing committee will work with the venue owner, the local sports bureau and the international governing body to adjust the overall setup of the slopes, retaining the Olympic tracks at the top of the mountain for World Cup races while expanding the lower and flatter areas for more recreational courses for the public, Liu added.

The prospect of the Alpine center hosting more International Ski Federation-level events and developing into a popular resort is appealing to top athletes, including Kjetil Jansrud from Norway, the 2014 Winter Olympics champion in men's super-G.

"Looking at it from an athlete's perspective and the love of skiing, I think that having built such a fantastic venue, and with opportunities for skiing to continue here for many years, this is a great thing," said Jansrud, who finished 23rd in men's Super-G at Beijing 2022.

"If Alpine skiing is going to survive and gain a foothold in Asia as well, this venue really speaks for that future. It's amazing."

Similar post-Games adjustments and transformations are taking place at the newly built National Cross-Country Skiing Centre and National Biathlon Centre in Zhangjiakou, where a major skiing and outdoors sports destination is taking shape, bolstered by the increasing number of participants nationwide.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the promotion of winter sports leading up to Beijing 2022 resulted in 346 million Chinese taking part in ice and snow sports and related leisure activities.

The General Administration of Sport of China said the country witnessed a rapid improvement in winter sports infrastructure, equipment manufacturing and educational programs as part of the Games' legacy.

A total of 654 standard ice rinks and 803 ski resorts were operating in China by the start of last year, rises of 317 percent and 41 percent respectively from 2015, when Beijing and Zhangjiakou won the bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.

By the end of last year, 2,060 primary and secondary schools across China had introduced Olympic and Paralympic education featuring winter sports to their curricula.

The growth potential for winter sports participants and consumption in China bodes well for a sustainable future of all Olympic venues and facilities, according to the International Olympic Committee.

IOC President Thomas Bach said during the closing ceremony for the Beijing Winter Olympics, "With over 300 million people now engaged in winter sports, with the great success of the Chinese athletes, the positive legacy of these Olympic Games is ensured.

"With the truly exceptional Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 we welcome China as a winter sport country."

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