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Beijing Winter Olympics: Main venue for ice hockey features new technology, sustainability

Updated: Apr 03,2021 08:45 PM    CGTN

The National Indoor Stadium in Beijing, the main venue for the ice hockey competition at the 2022 Winter Olympics, underwent a full day of tests on April 2 as part of a 10-day ice sports test program that will gauge its readiness to stage the Games.

While the attention of visitors might be drawn to a highly competitive ice hockey drill match on the ice right inside this spacious and comfortable stadium, the venue management team was relentlessly focusing on how to improve the quality of the interactive virtual reality (VR) viewing technology that will beam the action to fans outside the stadium on match day.

On the completion of the test, the team spoke of their pride in what they had accomplished in the areas of technology and sustainability.

"Our project will use VR technology during the competition to give the audience an interactive, multi-angle experience," said Professor Chen Baoquan, head of the Interactive VR Viewing Project. "We will broadcast the games live to the viewers' homes through cubes, and the viewers can experience the games through the cable network. At the same time, smartphones via 5G or Wi-Fi can also be used to experience the service."

Since Beijing won the bid to host the Games, the transformation of the National Indoor Stadium has been prioritized, and sustainability has been at the forefront of the strategy of the venue management team.

Meanwhile, 164 indoor high beam lights, more than the minimum requirement of 120, have been installed in the stadium. In addition, four 36-square-meter suspension screens have been set up right above the center court, making it the largest size of its kind in Asia, to facilitate better viewing inside the stadium.

"This venue was used for gymnastics events for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and we have renovated it," Jin Liming, the assistant to general manager of Beijing Performance and Arts Group, said. "After the Winter Olympics, we hope to hold the top international hockey league here. Meanwhile, we can melt off the ice or put a mask on it to host some other sports or activities. So, this venue will be diversified in the future."

According to Jin, the stadium can also be easily converted into a competition venue for basketball, volleyball and indoor tennis events, as needed, after the Olympics end. But for now, the venue management team's main focus is on how to optimize the ice rink and improve its operational capabilities.