Alexander Zhukov, head of the International Olympic Committee’s Evaluation Commission, arrives in Beijing on March 23 for the inspection tour of the capital and Zhangjiakou. Liu Peng (left), head of the General Administration of Sport, and Wang Anshun, mayor of Beijing, met Zhukov at the airport.[Photo/Xinhua]
2008 venues and other existing facilities would be used to control costs, achieve sustainability
The joint bid by Beijing and Zhangjiakou to host the 2022 Olympic Winter Games is based on ideas of sustainability and frugality, with athletes taking center stage, according to the capital’s mayor.
“Holding the games in a frugal way is not a slogan, it’s a reality,” said Wang Anshun. “We will make full use of our current sports facilities and strictly control construction costs.”
The bid process enters a key phase this week with the arrival of the International Olympic Committee’s Evaluation Commission to inspect the proposed venues and assess the country’s ability to host the Games. The visit starts on March 24 and continues until March 28.
The bid plan features six existing venues and six new ones spread between the capital’s downtown area, Yanqing district and Zhangjiakou in Hebei province.
“The bid has inherited the legacy of the 2008 Beijing Olympics to the largest possible extent and has made the best use of existing venues to reduce the financial pressure and demonstrate the spirit of sustainable development,” added Wang, a National People’s Congress deputy.
“The new competition venues will provide a long-lasting legacy for the future development of winter sports and fuel the regional economy.”
He said the existing venues have helped to improve the development of sport in the capital and enrich the lives of residents.
Chongli county in Zhangjiakou, which is about 200 km northwest of the capital, has been earmarked to host the ski events.
Four existing ski parks are being upgraded, said Wang, who was speaking during this month’s annual session of the NPC.
The county’s skiing facilities have attracted more than 3 million visitors over the past three months, including Beijing residents and enthusiasts from a number of countries.
“Whether we are building new venues or transforming existing ones, all will reach the standards required for the Winter Olympics, and this will ensure they can be fully used after the Games,” added Wang. “This is an example of frugality.”
Turning to the issue of sustainability, he said hosting the Games would play a major part in the integrated development of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei, while creating a long-term legacy in the region.
Wang said the cities are ready for the arrival of the IOC’s Evaluation Commission. One issue the inspectors are likely to raise as they assess the bid is air pollution.
“We are prepared to reduce the use of coal, alleviate pollution caused by traffic, extend the use of new-energy vehicles and ask more polluting plants to move out of Beijing,” Wang said.
“We promise the air quality will meet World Health Organization standards by the start of the winter of 2022.”
Beijing and Zhangjiakou are competing with Almaty in Kazakhstan for the right to host the Games, and the winner will be announced on July 31.
Legacy of Summer Olympics
The 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics took place across 31 venues. Twelve were specially built for the Games, 11 were existing facilities that had been upgraded, and eight were temporary structures.
New uses were later found for many of the venues, and these fall into three categories:
1. Commercial activities. Examples include the National Stadium, also known as the Bird’s Nest, the National Aquatics Center, or Water Cube, and the Wukesong Sports Center.
2. Professional training: For example, the Beijing Shooting Range and the Laoshan Velodrome.
3. Public physical exercise and teaching: For example, the stadiums at Peking University and the Beijing University of Technology.