Winter Olympics trivia: Is coldest always best when selecting a site for the Winter Olympic Games?

(People's Daily Online) 15:58, December 24, 2021

Why was Beijing chosen as the site in China to host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games instead of colder regions such as Heilongjiang and Jilin provinces in the country's far northeast?

When choosing a site for hosting the Winter Olympic Games, colder places are not necessarily the best option. This is because when the temperatures get too low, it will affect the athletes' performances and can easily lead to injuries associated with cold weather.

According to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the lowest temperature at the site of a Winter Olympic Games should not be below minus 17 degrees Celsius, while the temperatures at snow sports sites located in Heilongjiang and other places are generally lower than minus 20 degrees Celsius, obviously not meeting the requirements. What's more, a place where water freezes instantly or snowstorms frequently hit is also not a suitable site where athletes can compete outdoors.

In jointly bidding for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, Beijing and Zhangjiakou followed the principle that the competition's sporting events will be held in places where the temperatures do not get too low.

Chongli in Zhangjiakou, where most sporting events taking place on snow are scheduled to be held, has an average annual snowfall of 63.5 centimeters and a skiing season that lasts about 100 days. With an average temperature of 3.3 degrees Celsius in winter seasons, the region has snow but is not particularly cold.

There are two core meteorological indicators for the Winter Olympic Games. One is that the average temperature in February is below zero degrees Celsius, and the other is that the snowfall in February is more than 30 cm.

Temperatures between minus 12 degrees Celsius and 2 degrees Celsius are optimal. If the temperature is higher, the snow will become softened, which will increase friction, and if the temperature is too low, the snow will harden. In this latter case, the players will not only see a higher movement error rate but will also become more prone to injuries. 


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(Web editor: Xian Jiangnan, Liang Jun)


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