Countdown to Beijing 2022 | North China town "ready to go" in Winter Olympics preparation

(Xinhua) 09:43, March 19, 2021

ZHANGJIAKOU, China, March 18 (Xinhua) -- It's a snowing spring day. Construction workers at the National Ski Jumping Center drill as they prepare to work on the interior decoration of the venue.

Chongli, a district of Beijing 2022 co-host city Zhangjiakou in north China's Hebei Province, is gaining momentum in its preparation with less than one year to go before the Games.


At the Genting Snow Park, where freestyle skiing and snowboarding competitions will take place during Beijing 2022, skiers are testing their skills on the halfpipe piste. The site staged a testing program for Beijing 2022 in February.

"All pistes of Genting are in place. Construction of snowmaking, cable, and broadcast light systems also have been completed. These infrastructures were put into test in February, and overall we think it's been a success," said Wang Baoqi, vice president of Genting Resort Secret Garden Tourism Development Co. Ltd.

"From now, we will reconstruct these infrastructures with perfection, as the layout of some temporary setups will not be the same during the Games," he added.

"The test run amazed me," said Moon Hee-Jeoung, venue event manager of the Genting Snow Park. The South Korean came to China in December 2018 to aid the Beijing 2022 preparation.

"Despite some challenges in staging the testing program, we moved forward as scheduled, which surprised me a lot," he noted.

With good natural light, rooms in the Olympic Village, which is around 10-minute drive from Genting, are poised to offer athletes and officials comfortable accommodation during the Games.

The village has over 2,700 beds to accommodate athletes during the Winter Olympics, while over 1,100 of them will be transformed to cater to Paralympic athletes, with accessible facilities in place in the village.

A historic element is integrated into the Olympic Village, as an ancient site from the Jin Dynasty (1115 A.D.-1234 A.D.) can be found next to the village.

According to Zhang Mingqi, a designer from the Architectural Design and Research Institute of Tsinghua University, the ancient site has an overlap of six hectares of land with the Olympic Village. Although the village's design plan had already started, the design team decided to readjust its plan and reallocate the village by 200 meters to the east.

"We hope to show Chinese traditional and historic culture to athletes from across the globe during the Games, integrating it with the Winter Olympics," said Zhang, adding the team plans to go without enclosures around the village to better fit into natural landscapes, history, and culture.

"The construction project in Genting has not been finished yet. I believe that after everything is completed, Beijing 2022 will be a very successful Games," Moon noted.

Wang also expressed his confidence in a successful Beijing 2022.

"In the bidding and preparing phases of Beijing 2022, we are equipped with a high-caliber mountain operation team. We are quite confident," he said.


Organizers have attached importance to the Games' legacy throughout the Beijing 2022 preparation.

"Genting will be open to public sightseeing free of charge after Beijing 2022, offering visitors some spectacular scenes during game time," Wang revealed.

Wang added there will be exhibition facilities in each of the three finish zones in Genting after Beijing 2022 to introduce the event that the zone has staged and relive some highlights of the Games.

"This will help the general public appreciate the glamor of the Winter Olympics and better understand the Olympic spirit."

As for the Olympic pistes, Wang said through some post-Games adjustments, they will be open to skiers to challenge themselves.

Most rooms in the Olympic Village are 40 to 50 square meters, and the village will be converted into skiing apartments to cater to skiers. There are also some tailored designing zones for skiing equipment.

"The rooms are not necessarily big, but it feels like home," Zhang commented.


Zhao Chunxin, a 55-year-old Chongli local, is joyous to witness the great changes that have been brought about by the Winter Olympics, not only to himself but also to the surrounding area.

Zhao once worked in Beijing. After the Winter Olympics-related development project started, he returned home in 2015 and found a job as a security guard.

Zhao has every reason to feel happy about settling down in his hometown, as his salary has more than doubled compared with the past. He bought a car, which made it more convenient to travel.

"These changes are hard to imagine. In the past, we lived on farming, which relied a lot on Mother Nature.

"Now I have a higher income, and we live in a storied building. I think the Winter Olympics is a great treasure," Zhao said.

Moon expects a rise in the number of visitors to Zhangjiakou with the arrival of Beijing 2022.

"There was an increasing number of visitors to PyeongChang after the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, both in summer and winter. I think this scenario will take place here in Zhangjiakou," he said.

"Some infrastructures such as the high-speed railway and highway are another big factor for more visitors to come here, and resorts have accommodating capabilities."

For Moon, China's vision of engaging 300 million people in winter sports will generate a long-term benefit.

"Asian countries are not so strong in snow sports," he said. "If China's vision comes into reality, it can change the landscape of East Asian countries' disadvantage in snow sports. From this respect, Beijing 2022 will carry a significant meaning."


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