Home >> News >> Olympic News

Hebei busy building a lasting legacy

2019-12-26 15:03:00 chinadaily

With Olympic preparations proceeding ahead of schedule, Hebei province is already looking beyond 2022 to ensure a lasting legacy for winter sports.

Co-host city Zhangjiakou will stage 51 events, with 73 of its 76 venue construction projects for the Games underway, including a new high-speed rail link to downtown Beijing.

Meanwhile, testing has begun at existing venues. Last week, Genting Resort Secret Garden switched into competition mode by staging the FIS Freeski and Snowboard Halfpipe World Cup events.

"All of our competition sites are up to Olympic standard," said Shu Wen, a senior vice-president of Genting resort. "We are also upgrading our infrastructure. For example, we've finished building a hotel that will be used as a media center for the 2022 Winter Games.

"And we will have about 3,000 hotel rooms available over the next few years, which will also meet the demand for the Games."

Shu is confident the resort's Olympic courses will impress athletes, spectators and the Games' global TV audience.

"It's because we have the most professional teams to build and maintain the slopes here," he added. "For example, we are working with the best halfpipe design and building experts in the world. After years of operation, we have also nurtured many local talents in the sport."

During the 2018-2019 ski season, the city hosted a total of 143 domestic and international events, with more high-profile competitions upping the ante this term.

"So far in the 2019-2020 snow season, we plan to host three World Cups, seven national tournaments and more than a dozen international events," said Su Yue, the deputy director of Zhangjiakou Winter Sports Administrative Center.

"Moreover, we will organize over 100 public events for all winter sports lovers. So this snow season, we plan to host over 150 international and domestic events.

"We will train and test our operation team through hosting highlevel meets. In terms of public events, we hope to involve more people in winter sports."

Public participation

The strategy of enticing the general public onto the ice and snow forms an integral part of the Olympic preparations.

Last week the city of Chengde co-hosted Hebei's inaugural Ice and Snow Sports Games, which featured six sports and three demonstration events, with four different classifications-youth, university, society and professional.

The aim was to not only provide a platform for the province's top athletes but to also encourage winter sports lovers of all age groups.

"It's nice to have this chance to compete and the outdoor skating rink in Chengde is good enough for hosting this level of competition," said 15-year-old Li Zihang from Handan, who competed in the youth-level speed skating competition last Saturday.

"I started roller skating in 2008 and last year fell in love with speed skating. It wasn't too difficult to make the transition, and most importantly, skating on ice feels much better than skating on land.

"I thought about becoming a professional just like my hero, Olympic champion Wu Dajing.

"If I fail to achieve that, I still want to stick with it and become a coach one day to teach more young skaters."

Hebei's Ice and Snow Games are a perfect example of how local authorities are getting on board with the country's bid to involve 300 million people in winter sports.

"The Games are a new way to boost the development of winter sports in the province," said He Wenge, the deputy director of Hebei Sports Bureau.

"They welcome the participation of all winter sports lovers as we have established different levels of competition. In other words, as long as you want to join, you will find a competition that suits you.

"More importantly, we have put a lot of effort into organizing youth-level competitions, given the next generation is key to the future of winter sports.

"We have also been working on promoting winter sports in primary and middle schools."

All these initiatives have not gone unnoticed by the International Olympic Committee.

"Firstly, it's a dream to inspire 300 million people to practice and get involved with winter sports, and it's happening from school level to the top athletes. That promise is really happening. The legacy of the Winter Games has been delivered even before the Games," said IOC vice-president Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr. during a visit to China earlier this month.

"Secondly, the Olympics is not only about top athletes, it starts from school. It's a way of life and philosophy…It's very impressive and they (2022 organizers) are way ahead of what they promised. We are so convinced that the Beijing 2022 Games will be an extraordinary success."

Find an athlete