The following is an op-ed written by Zhou Xin, a scholar of international studies.
The curtain recently dropped on the dress rehearsal for the opening ceremony of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games (Beijing 2022) at the National Stadium (Bird’s Nest). The preview of gorgeous fireworks lighting up the night sky of the Chinese capital kindled residents’ high expectations for the Winter Olympic Games.
The promotion song for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics is titled “Together for a Shared Future.” Its lyrics go: “We all need love, let’s hold our hands together, together for a shared future.” This winter, people all over the world are in dire need of such a spectacular, harmonious, and cohesiveness-enhancing sporting event to inject more confidence and hope into the world.
Putting People First
The Olympic Charter, the basic instrument of the Olympic Movement, made it clear from the start that, “The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.” It fully demonstrates that the core essence of the Olympic spirit is to serve human development and social progress. In 2021, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) added “together” to the Olympic motto, turning it into “Faster, Higher, Stronger–Together,” emphasizing the significance of the Olympic spirit to unite people around the world and enhance humanity’s ability to cooperate in response to crises.
“There is no emcee to warm up the audience for the opening ceremony,” revealed Zhang Yimou, chief director of the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics. A highly-anticipated down-to-earth performance on the schedule features dancers aged between 5 and 70 deploying different styles to express ordinary Chinese people’s expectations for the Winter Olympics.
COVID-19 continues to surge around the world, posing a severe threat to life and property. With the “dynamic zero-case” policy, China has rolled out regular epidemic prevention and control measures to safeguard people’s health. The pressure has been tremendous. But in an orderly and well-designed fashion, Beijing has advanced the preparatory work for the Winter Olympics with the greatest efforts and utmost sincerity.
Reaching for the Stars
The years of preparations for the Olympics culminate with a few weeks of athletes competing. All participants will strive to realize Winter Olympic dreams in Beijing. Beijing 2022 is committed to creating a good competitive environment by providing all the necessary services and support for the athletes to compete and compete at the highest level.
Poised for a “green, shared, open and clean” Beijing 2022, the organizers have done everything possible to provide athletes with high quality accommodations, catering, medical care, transportation, fitness equipment, entertainment options, business facilities, and other services so that all participants are impressed with Chinese hospitality.
The athletes’ “home base,” the Olympics Village is providing meals of different cuisines from all over the world that meet the specific dietary needs and tastes of various nationalities and religions, with people-oriented care and inclusiveness. The organizing committee has also formulated pandemic prevention and control policies for athletes and created a secure closed loop (bubble) with access to transportation, accommodation, catering, competition, and opening and closing ceremonies, to ensure the safety of both the athletes and the local population.
All of the Beijing 2022 venues, both new and renovated, are designed to mitigate carbon emissions. The National Speed Skating Arena and the Wukesong Sports Center, among others, are the first of the Winter Games to deploy a carbon dioxide transcritical direct cooling ice making system that enables ice-making with carbon emissions close to net zero. Green power, including wind, hydroelectric, and solar, is widely used in all 26 stadiums in the three competition zones, setting an Olympic first of 100 percent green power supply for all the stadiums.
Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr, chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission for Beijing 2022 was reportedly happy and proud to see that the Beijing Organizing Committee had dedicated enormous attention to sustainability. Beijing 2022 is delivering on its commitments of carbon neutrality as well as the commitment to get 300 million Chinese people engaged in winter sports. He remarked that Beijing 2022 will undoubtedly be an event that actively implements the IOC’s “Olympic Agenda 2020” and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
In July 1910, Shen-pao (Shanghai News) published three prescient questions that took nearly a century to answer: First, when will China send representatives to the World Sports Conference? Second, when will China win gold medals at the World Sports Conference? Third, when will the World Sports Conference be held on Chinese soil? The “World Sports Conference” was the Chinese term for the Olympic Games at that time.
Today, all the questions have been answered. Chinese people still become emotional when recalling the year 2008. Beijing, the world’s first city to host both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games, has taken the 1910 questions even further. Every step of Beijing’s bid for the Winter Olympics demonstrated China’s commitment to the international community. In 2015, shortly after Beijing won the bid to host the 24th Winter Olympics in 2022, it set up the Beijing Winter Olympics Organizing Committee in just three months, which settled in Shougang Industrial Park half a year later. In February 2017, it launched a market development plan. In December 2019, the Beijing-Zhangjiakou High-speed Railway, an important transportation project for Beijing 2022, began operation. In July 2021, the Beijing Winter Olympics Village was fully completed and began trial operation. Beijing 2022 has shared the Chinese path with the world through its interpretation of the Chinese approach and Chinese wisdom in the process of preparation.
With unremitting efforts, all preparations for Beijing 2022 are complete. The Chinese people have the confidence and ability to deliver a splendid event to the world. In a few days, the world will focus on Beijing, the “Double Olympic City,” where the athletes from all over the world will compete in the same arena to write the next chapter of magnificent Olympic history.