A year after Beijing Winter Olympics, how China carries on its legacy and spirit?
Published: Feb 06, 2023 06:35 PM
Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Photo:VCG

Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Photo:VCG

Saturday marked the one-year anniversary of the Beijing Olympic Winter Games in 2022. A series of activities will be held between February and March 2023 in Beijing and Zhangjiakou, North China's Hebei Province. Eight mass winter sports competitions, the ice and snow carnival, the Beijing middle and primary school students' tour of the winter Olympic stadiums and many other activities have been launched to share people's fond memory of this event and inspire their aspiration to participate in winter sports. 

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, China successfully hosted the Beijing Olympic Winter Games. Its opening ceremony started on February 4, 2022, the Beginning of Spring, the first solar terms on the Chinese Lunar Calendar. On Wednesday, the International Olympic Committee issued an article on its official website headline reading, "The first city ever to hold both the Summer and Winter Games, Beijing delivered spectacular Olympic Winter Games last year." Its countdown to the 24 solar terms won widespread praise from the audience and was acclaimed as the "Chinese romance." The design of a snowflake used in the name plates guiding all participating countries, costumes of performers and the main torch among others were the highlight of the ceremony. The IOC President Thomas Bach called it at its closing ceremony as "the truly exceptional Olympic Winter Games." 

The Beijing Olympics was not only a success for the Chinese team which attained a record 15 medals, ranking third, but also an opportunity for China to build friendship and cooperation with other countries. For example, after the US beat China in the mixed doubles round robin, Chinese curlers presented their American rivals with a set of commemorative pin badges featuring Bing Dwen Dwen, the panda mascot of the Games, a gesture which was praised by netizens. The American duo also displayed the sets on social media, saying that they were "honored to receive these beautiful Beijing 2022 pin sets in a wonderful display of sportsmanship by our Chinese counterparts." In return, the American counterparts gave pins to their Chinese peers. And sportswoman Gu Ailing of the Chinese team comforted her rival from France after the women's free ski big air final. After China's sportsman Xu Mengtao won gold, American fourth-placed finisher Ashley Caldwell gave Xu a huge hug and roared congratulations to her friend. 

A year on, the Olympic venues have been fully used and related activities have been widely conducted. 

The application of the post-Olympic stadiums is a worldwide problem. Yet before the Games were planned, Beijing and Zhangjiakou had given it a consideration. In the Spring Festival of 2023, people lined up waiting for their entry into the National Speed Skating Gymnasium, nicknamed as "the Ice Ribbon." On the one-year anniversary, the first Beijing residents' speed skating competition was held. On Saturday, the 11-year-old girl Zhang Qianyu, the youngest participant won the first medal of the Women's Youth group, and her name was recorded on the wall of the "Ice Ribbon," the honor of Winter Olympic champions together with other nine peers. On the Shougang Big Air, many people experienced diving down on snow from the big diving platform. At the Olympic venue in Beijing's suburb Yanqing District, visitors went skiing along the Winter Olympic tracks with speed and thrill. During the Spring Festival of 2023, Yanqing received 758,000 visitors, according to a Xinhua report. At the Yunding Skiing Park in Zhajiakou, which had been transformed to meet the needs of public winter sports, enthusiasts zigzagged along the U-shaped track, a practice which could only be seen a year ago on TV. 

In Northwest Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, a 6-year-old boy named Nie Rongchen, who is the diehard fan of Chinese snowboarder Su Yiming, has "stuck" to skiing himself for four years. He held the dream that he could enter the national team as his "elder brother Su." In its Altai Mountains, the natural powder snow, a professional team for ski evaluation has settled down there. They believe that the 300 million people's participation in the snow sports was just a beginning, and more people would higher aim in the winter sports. 

Besides, Chinese people's fervor toward the winter sports go beyond the northern part of China with ice and snow. At the beginning of the New Year, a three-month event featuring competitions and experience was conducted in Southwest China's Sichuan Province; an ice and snow sports meet was held at the Lucongpo ski resort in Central China's Hubei Province; in Nanning, South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, about 2,000 to 4,000 people go on to the Wanxiang ice rink every week; in Shanghai, more than 20 winter sports events have been rolled out. Some soccer fields have been turned into skate rinks. 

And more importantly, the Olympic spirit has also inspired Chinese athletes. The Chinese skater Ning Zhongyan won a gold medal in the men's 1,000m race in Heerenveen, the Netherlands, the second leg of the 2022-23 Speed Skating World Cup. Although he failed to claim a medal at the Beijing Winter Olympics, he has taken his aim at the next winter Olympics. At the 2023 World University Winter Games in Lake Placid, the US, China has won the women's curling gold medal with a come-from-behind 6-4 victory over South Korea in the final. Additionally, for the first time in 16 years, the Chinese women's basketball team equaled the best record in World Cup history and won the second place in the competition. In 2022 Chinese athletes had won 93 championships at 21 events and broken 11 world records, according to a Xinhua report. It is projected that by the end of 2025, the number of Chinese who will participate in winter sports will exceed 500 million. It shows China is marching toward its goal of becoming a sports power in the future.  

At the moment to commemorate this magnificent event, it is also time to carry forward the spirit of the Beijing Olympic Winter Games of facing difficulties head-on, pursuing excellence and moving toward the future together.