By Li Yongqun, People’s Daily
Welcoming athletes from around the world, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach on Feb 4 formally invited the National Olympic Committees (NOC) of the world and their winter sports athletes to participate in next year’s Games.
Respecting the spirit that the Games are a sporting event, it is the IOC President who invites the NOCs to the Olympic Games. Given the current circumstances, this was done from Olympic House in Lausanne, Switzerland. The IOC president symbolically signed and sent invitations to eight NOCs from China, Greece, Japan, France, Italy, the US, Australia and Nigeria. All eight NOCs accepted the invitation via a video message.
Speaking about this milestone, Bach said that one year from now, Beijing will write history as the first city ever to host both the summer and winter Olympic Games. These Games will connect the Chinese people with the world.
“Having seen how China is overcoming the coronavirus crisis, we are very confident that our Chinese hosts will ensure safe and secure Olympic Games in full cooperation with the IOC,” Bach said.
Every time that Bach has visited China, he was deeply impressed by the enthusiasm and support for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. “This is why, we can say already now with great confidence: China is ready. Ready to welcome the world’s best winter sports athletes for unforgettable Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. We all are looking forward to this global celebration of sport,” Bach said.
Preparations for next year’s Games in China remain on track, and excitement is building across the country. All competition venues were completed by the end of 2020, with remaining renovations and construction to be finished by the end of this year.
With the aim of getting 300 million people engaged in winter sports and having received around one million applications for volunteer positions, the Beijing 2022 Games will be transformative for both China and global winter sports. Lots of Chinese people participate in winter sports now and a new era of winter sports will usher in after Beijing 2020. This can already be seen from the numbers. Five years ago, there were only 460 ski resorts in China. This number grew to 644 by the end of 2019.
The Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 will also have a strong emphasis on sustainability. All venues will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy, while natural, low-carbon-emission carbon dioxide refrigeration systems will be used at most of the Beijing 2022 ice venues – the first time this low climate impact technology will be used in China and at the Olympic Winter Games. Furthermore, seven out of the 12 competition and non-competition venues within the Beijing 2022 competition zone will be legacy venues from Beijing 2008.
Beijing will host the XXIV Olympic Winter Games from February 4 to 20 next year.