The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has awarded Beijing the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, making the Chinese capital the first city in history to host both the Summer and Winter Games. But even as people across China celebrate, attention is already turning to the delivery of the games.
This moment a dream became a reality. Delight and relief for the Beijing bid team.
After years of planning and hard work, Beijing will host a winter Olympic Games.
“This is a very happy and encouraging event for China. We thank IOC for granting China the opportunity. Beijing is now the world’s only city to hold both summer and Winter Olympics. This is just a beginning for us. Next we will build our country, and present an extraordinary excellent winter sports event in 2022,” Vice-Premier Liu Yandong said.
The vote had been a close call - Beijing winning by 44 votes to 40. And emotions continued to run high in the Beijing bid team long after the announcement.
“I was so nervous. When he announced the result I was relieved. But also it was very emotional as well. I think it is a great honour for Beijing to have the opportunity,” Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games Bid ambassador Yang Yang said.
It was a similar story for three-time Olympian Yao Ming who admitted it took time for the news to sink in.
But his excitement for the future was clear.
“It will be another boost for people’s passion to join the sports. The joy of life. Not only the summer games but also the winter games. Yeah we have a long journey about to take off,” Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games Bid ambassador Yao Ming said.
For some in the team including 18 year old Ice Hockey player Song Andong... there is now the very real prospect of playing in an Olympic games on home soil.
“I think it’s a great accomplishments for any athlete to be able to play in any Olympic Games. It is out there now. It was just a possibility before. But now it is a reality. I hope it will really motivate some of the younger kids out there to pick up some winter sports,” Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games Bid ambassador Song Andong said.
It has been without doubt an intense bidding process. But the attention now moves from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing and Zhangjiakou. The hard work begins now for organizers as the focus switches to the delivery of a successful games in 2022.