Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli (C) attends the inaugural ceremony of Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing, capital of China, Dec 15, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua]
Seven years after hosting the Summer Olympics, the Chinese capital launched the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (Beijing 2022), promising a “fantastic, extraordinary and excellent” Games.
Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli addressed the launch ceremony at the Great Hall of the People on Dec 15, saying that “to host a successful Winter Games is China’s solemn commitment to the Olympic Family”, as well as “an important move to push for the coordinated development” of Beijing and neighboring cities.
China aims to create a new economic belt and environment-friendly zone, incorporating the surrounding Hebei province, and Tianjin, a port city to the capital’s southeast.
The vice-premier said that Chinese leaders attached great importance to the preparation for the Games.
President Xi Jinping has urged the organizers to “work harder to host a fantastic, extraordinary and excellent Games”.
President Xi stressed a “green” Olympics and called for a heightened level of city management, broader appeal of winter sports in China, stricter budget control and strengthened supervision.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded the 2022 Olympics on July 31 to Beijing, the host to the 2008 Summer Games.
Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli attends the inaugural ceremony of Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing, capital of China, Dec 15, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua]
Beijing 2022 President Guo Jinlong said the organizers will study the Host City Contract (HCC) and Olympic Agenda 2020 before they map out a detailed task agenda.
“We will pore over the HCC and the Olympic Agenda 2020, and review our bid commitments before we work out the road map and timetable,” Guo said.
“We shall ensure every task is accomplished,” he added.
Guo reiterated that preparation for the Olympics and the Paralympics would be treated equally.
IOC President Thomas Bach sent a congratulatory letter to the organizing committee, saying “Beijing is making history as the first city in the world to host both the Olympic Summer Games and Olympic Winter Games”.
“The milestone is the first step on our six-year journey together to deliver brilliant Olympic Winter Games in 2022 for Beijing, for China and for the world,” Bach said in the letter, which was read out by IOC Vice President Yu Zaiqing at the ceremony.
The Olympic chief praised Beijing’s efforts to comply with the reformative Olympic Agenda 2020 and expressed his confidence in the organizers.
“It is impressive how quickly Beijing embraced Olympic Agenda 2020 — our strategic road map for the future of the Olympic Movement,” he said.
“If we continue to work together in this spirit of Olympic Agenda 2020, we can be confident in the success of the Games in 2022,” he added.
Bach also said that he was “convinced that the organization of the Games is placed in safe hands”.
As second-time Olympic organizers, Beijing enjoys the legacy from the 2008 Olympics which left the iconic “Bird’s Nest” national stadium and the “Water Cube” aquatics center. These stadiums will once again become the Olympic venues in 2022.
Eight venues will be built or rebuilt in Zhangjiakou, where most of the snow events will be held.
To link the two cities, the construction of a high-speed railway has already begun and will be fully operational in 2019.
Another legacy from the 2008 Games is a group of experienced staff who now work for Beijing 2022.
However, an open mind to advanced international practices remains with the organizers.
“We will enhance the communication with the IOC and the International Paralympic Committee, further cooperate with the International Federations, and listen to their advice on stadium construction, competition arrangement and talent training,” Guo said.
China is seeking to impress the world not only as a good host but also as a sport power.
“We will promote winter sports and develop winter sports industry in a bid to attract 300 million people to ice and snow,” said Chinese Olympic Committee President Liu Peng, also Beijing 2022 Executive President.
“In terms of competition, we are going to mobilize the resource all over the nation to achieve excellent results,” Liu said.
The launch ceremony was also attended by Vice-Premier Liu Yandong, Beijing Mayor Wang Anshun and Hebei Governor Zhang Qingwei.