Beijing's Olympic venues thrive year-round after bustling winter season

(Xinhua) 13:24, March 21, 2024

BEIJING, March 21 (Xinhua) -- With daily temperatures hitting 20 degrees Celsius, Beijing is now welcoming spring after a packed season of winter sport events. But that doesn't mean the city's Winter Olympic venues will lie idle.

China's National Speed Skating Championships took place from Thursday to Sunday at the National Speed Skating Oval, dubbed the 'Ice Ribbon', with the participation of more than 80 elite athletes from across the country.

"The competition is a test for my training. I could still feel the atmosphere of the Winter Olympics when I entered the Ice Ribbon. My goal is to achieve my best at the Asian Winter Games next year and the 2026 Winter Olympics," said Alemasi Kahanbai, who represents Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

"More youth skaters have improved rapidly to become a force at the senior level, heralding a promising future for China's speed skating," added the 26-year-old.

The National Speed Skating Oval is also scheduled to host Beijing's youth short-track speed skating championships and figure skating shows, before ISU World Cup Speed Skating races return to the Chinese capital later this year, according to Shao Yi, a management official of the venue.

For Beijing's Olympic venues, holding mass sports activities during breaks between high-level competitions has become a common practice in recent years.

As one of the three competition zones of Beijing 2022, the city's Yanqing suburb staged the bobsleigh and skeleton World Cup concurrently last November. In other seasons, it has become a hub for outdoor events like hiking, camping and cycling.

In May 2023, the Beijing Cycling League was held at the National Alpine Skiing Center in Yanqing, with over 200 amateur cyclists pedalling through meadows, forests and canyons.

"Yanqing's Haituo Mountain, where the Winter Olympic venues were located, has different beauty in different seasons, which will keep attracting tourists from around the world to come here," said Hong Wei, director of Yanqing's culture and tourism bureau.

Shougang Park, an iconic venue from the 2022 Winter Games, welcomed the return of Big Air action with the FIS Snowboard and Freeski Big Air World Cup last December. It will host a number of exhibitions and forums in coming months, according to the Shougang Park sports operation and management company.

"Beijing will make full use of the Olympic legacies and coordinate the development of the summer and winter sports, in an endeavor to boost the sports industry and enhance people's well-being," said Zhao Wen, director of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Sports.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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