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IOC confident in 2022 Beijing Winter Games, praises venue repurposing

Updated: Sep 19,2018 8:48 AM     China Daily

The International Olympic Committee’s Coordination Commission concluded its two-day visit in Beijing on Sept 18 with full confidence in the host’s efforts to organize an efficient and successful Winter Olympics in 2022.

After hearing reports from Beijing 2022 organizers, the commission, chaired by IOC Vice-President Juan Antonio Samaranch, said it would leave the Chinese capital assured that the country will deliver on its promise of hosting an excellent yet sustainable Games that will inspire greater winter sports participation in 2022.

“We are very comfortable and extremely confident in their work,” Samaranch, son of the late IOC president of the same name, said after the inspection visit on Sept 18.

“We are also very happy to see some of the ideas, like the development of winter sports, becoming a reality rapidly, and not waiting until 2022.”

China is committed to using the 2022 Winter Games, which will be held in three venue clusters — downtown Beijing, Yanqing district and co-host Zhangjiakou, Hebei province — as a catalyst to involve 300 million people in winter sports activities by 2022.

The Chinese sports delegation has been introducing foreign expertise and developing local talent to improve its prowess on ice and snow in order to qualify for all 109 events and fight for breakthroughs in 2022, said Yang Shu’an, a vice-president of the Beijing 2022 organizing committee.

Beijing boasts an economical plan as it will repurpose 11 existing competition and noncompetition venues from the 2008 Summer Games for the 2022 Winter Games, thus achieving sustainable operations.

The coordination commission visited the National Aquatics Center, also known as the Water Cube, on Sept 17 to learn more about Beijing’s plan to transform it into an “Ice Cube” to host curling in 2022.

The shift of the venue between summer and winter events, according to the IOC, underlines the host’s vision to make the Games intelligent as encouraged by Agenda 2020, which was introduced in 2014 to cut costs for host countries.

“In today’s world, bigger is not better, and spending more is not necessarily better,” Samaranch said of the IOC’s definition of intelligent Games.

“To use all resources and money efficiently is being intelligent. It’s not only about saving money but saving everything, and leaving a better legacy. So far, I can tell you the plans Beijing has made are very intelligent.”