First Winter Olympics community in Beijing to inspire public with shared enthusiasm
Published: Feb 01, 2022 08:47 PM
A woman practices traditional colored ribbon dance in front of a wall decorated with Olympics emblems in a community in Shijingshan district, Beijing on January 11, 2022. Photo: Li Hao/GT

A woman practices traditional colored ribbon dance in front of a wall decorated with Olympics emblems in a community in Shijingshan district, Beijing on January 11, 2022. Photo: Li Hao/GT

As Juan Antonio Samaranch, the chairman of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Coordination Commission for Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games says, the Games will not only present the world a wonderful 16-day sporting festival but also will leave an Olympic legacy for the public to become more active in winter sports. The Beijing's first Winter Olympic Games community - Gaojinglu - where he visited in December 2019, is a good example.

Just three days ahead of the opening ceremony of the Games, Gaojinglu Winter Olympics community, located in Shijingshan district, is filled with a warm atmosphere in preparing to welcome splendid event, the Global Times learnt from local authorities on Tuesday.

Locals enjoyed skiing and other snow and ice sports in the community; tourists came to the community to enjoy the sports culture in an endless stream; the theme song of Beijing Winter Olympics "Together for a Shared Future" was heard being played from the culture and fitness square of the community... As the only "Winter Olympic Community" in Beijing, the Gaojinglu has undergone big changes since the establishment.

Gaojinglu used to be an old community, with a total area of 1.06 square kilometers and a permanent population of 5,000. The residents were mainly retired employees from power plants and the railway, in addition to sanitation workers and teachers. The regional infrastructure was ageing, the overall community environment needs to be improved, local sports facilities were not meeting the needs of residents and other problems.

On May 11, 2019, the Winter Olympic Organizing Committee officially awarded Gaojinglu as the "Winter Olympic Community." Since then, the enthusiasm of local residents to welcome the big events was unprecedented high, the local authorities said in a statement they sent to the Global Times on Tuesday.  

In the past two years, more than 500 online and offline cultural and sports activities connected to snow and ice, such as ice skating, English exchange, cultural heritage handicrafts and opera training, have been held in line with the Winter Olympics, attracting more than 100,000 participants.

Samaranch, who visited the community in December 2019 and spoke highly of its atmosphere and activities, said in an exclusive interview with the Global Times on Tuesday that in terms of the Olympic legacies, it was not only about delivering a wonderful 16-day sports festival, it's about investments and effort to serve a community of citizens for many years, for example, the people of Beijing. 

The Global Times went the Gaojinglu community in late 2021 and learnt how the Olympic influenced the public in real life.

Ordinary people of various ages and from all walks of life enjoy winter sports such as skating and ice hockey, or use their skills in traditional handicrafts such as paper cutting and embroidery to add color to the sports event. Their actions demonstrate that the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, a sports event for everyone, will welcome friends from every corner of the world.

Practicing curling on real ice is part of the routine exercise for students with a passion for winter sports at the Dianchang Road Primary School within the Gaojinglu community.

The primary school founded its own curling team in December 2020. It prepared a real ice rink for more than 300 students at the school, so that young curlers in different classes can all have the opportunity to take part in the sport on the ice as well as off the ice.  

While practicing at the rink is more "exciting" for students, before they step onto the ice they must first train in various sets of "on the ground" versions of winter sports during classes held by the school. 

"I feel that training on ice is more exciting, and makes me think more about what I learn every day with the PE tutor on the playground," Xiaobai, a student from the school, told the Global Times. 

The school established its "2+8+5" winter sports training plan to bring some diversity to its traditional "running, jumping and throwing" focused PE classes for primary students. 

Winter sports has not only been a boon for their physical health, it has also reinvigorated the local community, providing endless motivation.