By now you have no doubt heard, last Friday, the Olympic Committee announced Beijing would be the co-host of the 2022 Winter Olympics, with its neighboring Zhangjiakou province. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) ended up allowing the city to be the first ever location to host both the summer and winter versions of the Games. Undoubtedly the legacy from the 2008 Beijing Olympics is among the major factors in the decision, as many of the facilities are fully utilizable for the upcoming Games. Here, we will provide an overview of the Games with both the existing and to-be-built venues of three main zones, each of which will have an Olympic Village.
This time the downtown Beijing Zone will be dedicated to ice sports such as skating, ice hockey and curling. By utilizing the former Beijing Olympics’ facilities, Beijing will have to establish only one building for speed skating. Most of the ice sports will be held in the Olympic Green, and even if not, the other local venues are within 20 kilometers of the central area.
As was the case seven years ago, the Bird’s Nest will enchant the audience with the undoubtedly spectacular opening and closing ceremonies of the Games.
Throw back to the fabulous night of 2008 at the Bird’s Nest [Stormfront]
Located right next to the Bird’s Nest, The Water Cube—another iconic building used for swimming in the 2008 Games—will become the ‘Ice’ Cube where the curling competition is going to take place.
Likewise, in the Olympic Green area, the Beijing National Indoor Stadium (a.k.a. the Fan)
will be the main field for ice hockey. The National Speed Skating Oval is going to be built in this area too, and will be expected to open for public skating and an ice hockey club after the Games.
Other major venues in Beijing city will include The MasterCard Center and The Capital Indoor Stadium, which will hold the short track speed skating and figure skating, respectively.
For snow sports, there will be two venue clusters in different mountainous areas.
The first one is in Yanqing County in northwest Beijing. About 60 kilometers away from the central Beijing, Yanqing is popular for its summer-escape resort and the Badaling Great Wall, which is the most well-preserved section of the Great Wall. The Yanqing Zone will need to construct both National Alpine Ski Center and National Sliding Center, which will become key fields for the Alpine Ski and Sliding events such as bobsledding, skeleton sledding, and luge.
However, the dire lack of snow, in a city famous for its dire water shortages, is causing huge concern. With only 5 centimeters
in depth on average, Yanqing will substantially rely on artificial snow to enable the sports. In its evaluation report
, the IOC listed concerns on both practical and aesthetic senses: “A warm winter…could present challenges to the quality of the field of play. Due to the lack of natural snow the ‘look’ of the venue may not be aesthetically pleasing either side of the ski run. (P99)”.
Taken in January. Can this be covered by snow…?
Despite assurances from the authorities that the snow will be generated in an environmentally friendly manner, the areas lack of water means there are also significant environmental concerns.
Zhangjiakou, the other Snow Sports Zone, has a similar problem. About 140 kilometers away from Beijing in Hubei Province, the arid location is near the Gobi desert.
Expected to host freestyle skiing, snowboarding, and the Nordic disciplines, Zhangjiakou is undertaking the construction of required facilities in its eastern part, Chongli County. There will be Nordic Center containing both the Cross Country Venue and the Ski Jumping Venue, whose post-game use would vary from competition venue to national team’s training camp. A Biathlon Center will be built as well.
Snowboarding in Chongli
While some of the Chongli people say they are excited for the Games, they will have to face some serious problems. The IOC reports estimates that “The ski jumping venue and the Olympic Village in the Zhangjiakou Zone would require the relocation of approximately 1,500 people” (62).
Though transportation between the three Zones will be much improved by 2022 through introducing a high-speed railroad, Beijing’s challenges in hosting these games have only just begun.
China’s Performance at Sochi 2014
Cover Image from Bunches and Bits