Staff member check the snowmaking machines in an industrial park of Zhangjiakou, Hebei Province, on June 23, 2021 (XINHUA)
As the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 come to an end, they have not only left splendid moments of competition in our memories, but also boosted the development of the regions involved in hosting the Games. Their legacy is expected to continue delivering social and economic benefits into the future.
China has launched green practices throughout the Games. Many venues for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games have been renovated and reused for this year’s Games, said Holger Preuss, a member of the International Olympic Committee Legacy and Sustainability Commission, at a webinar on the 2022 Games held on February 17. “Among the venues for the 2022 Games, 32 percent were built for the 2008 Olympics, and 23 percent are temporary. Seventy-seven percent of venues built for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing are still in use,” he said.
According to Xu Yongjun, a professor in the School of Information Resources Management at Renmin University of China who attended the webinar, examples of the 2022 Games using sustainable practices include the transformation of Shougang Park, which used to be an industrial park, into Olympic facilities, its adoption of new ice-making technologies that help cut energy use by 60 percent, and use of a torch instead of a cauldron at the opening ceremony to reduce carbon emissions.
The Games have inspired a newfound public passion for winter sports in China. More than 300 million Chinese people have participated in ice and snow sports activities since Beijing’s successful bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics in 2015. China now has more than 650 ice rinks, up 317 percent from 2015, and the number of ski venues has risen by 41 percent to more than 800, according to official data.
The Games have also boosted the development of Zhangjiakou, Hebei Province and the Beijing suburb of Yanqing by improving transportation, driving ice and snow tourism, and promoting supporting industries. The high-speed railway between Beijing and Zhangjiakou opened in 2019 and had handled 13.8 million passenger trips as of the end of 2021, according to China Railway Beijing Group. New ski resorts and homestays have also opened in Zhangjiakou. Starting from 2017, the city began construction of a winter sport apparel and equipment industrial park, which focuses on the production of ski suits, snowboards and footwear, as well as heavy equipment such as snowmakers, snow groomers and cableways.
Wang Zipu, a professor on sports economics at the Capital University of Physical Education and Sports, highlighted China’s efforts creating new technologies to support the Games. According to Wang, 212 new technologies were created as part of 80 programs in preparation for the Games. These technologies make contributions ranging from ensuring safety to improving viewer experience. The technological progress made for the Games will continue to deliver benefits long after the Games have ended.
The 2022 Paralympic Games will run from March 4 to 13. “The Games can also enhance public awareness of caring for physically challenged people and promote inclusiveness,” Patrick Lau, a professor in the Department of Sport, Physical Education and Health at the Hong Kong Baptist University, told the webinar.
Muhammad Asif Noor, director of the Islamabad-based think tank Institute of Peace and Diplomatic Studies, believes the Games can drive the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. “The Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 have gone smoothly despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The Games have promoted the Olympic spirit, united all countries, enhanced mutual understanding and filled in gaps in global diplomacy,” Noor said.
Copyedited by G.P. Wilson
Comments to firstname.lastname@example.org