Sustainability, resource preservation key to region’s plans for 2022 Games, as Yuan Shenggao reports.
The Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games said at a recent working meeting that its initiative on sustainability featured in developing Olympic venues has won acclaim from the International Olympic Committee.
IOC President Thomas Bach told Xinhua News Agency at the Pyeongchang Winter Games in February: “Beijing 2022 can set a new benchmark for a sustainable Olympic Games, on the one hand benefiting from the legacy of the Beijing 2008(Olympic Games) and on the other developing a new winter sports destination in a sustainable way.”
Sustainability, one of the three pillars of Olympic Agenda 2020 alongside credibility and youth, means a focus on infrastructure and natural sites, sourcing and resource management, mobility, workforce and climate, according to the IOC official website.
The organizing committee of the 2022 Winter Games has issued sustainability guidelines for planning and building the stadiums and is formulating standards for construction, service and government procurement to ensure a green Olympics.
Sustainability, a strategic concept, needs to be implemented in every specific measure, Han Zirong, secretary-general of the Beijing 2022 organizing committee, said at the meeting.
Gui Lin, an official with the organizing committee, told Xinhua that Beijing has long valued the implementation of sustainability in competition venues’ design, construction and after-Games use, seeking to dovetail them with the local region’s long-term development.
The National Speed Skating Oval, dubbed the “Ice Ribbon”, is being built, with its main structure scheduled for completion this September.
Its 12,000-square-meter ice-covered areas will enable it to become the largest skating facility in Asia, according to its developers.
Once completed, it will be able to house 3,500 skaters at the same time, Wu Xiaonan, chairman of Beijing National Speed Skating Oval Operation Co, told Xinhua.
“Since the early stage of planning the project, we have taken its sustainable use as our most important goal,” Beijing-based news portal Qianlong quoted Wu as saying.
Besides standard 400-meter skating tracks for racing and training, there will be two standard ice rinks in the National Speed Skating Oval, which can be used for mass sports, he added.
The Water Cube, or the National Aquatic Center, a key legacy of the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics, will be turned into a competition arena for curling during the 2022 Games.
The renewal project is slated to begin in November; about 4,500 new seats will be added and its systems of lighting, air conditioning, dehumidification and architectural acoustics will be upgraded.
“It will take us around one month to complete the water-to-ice transformation, which will involve more than 20 specific processing steps,” Yang Qiyong, general manager of the National Aquatics Center Co, told Qianlong.
“Big air”, a new event added to the Pyeongchang Winter Games, will also be included in the 2022 Games.
A main structure of the big air facility in Beijing, standing 60 meters high and 160 meters long, will be built at the Shougang Industrial Park, which evolved from a former steel mill closed down in 2008 ahead of the Beijing Summer Olympics.
Construction on the project will begin in the second half of this year.
Against the backdrop of an industrial tower, Shijing Mountain and Yongding River, the big air venue will become another Olympic landmark building in Beijing, Liu Yumin, executive deputy director of the planning, construction and sustainability development department of the organizing committee, told the news portal.
“The perfect combination of industrial heritage and the operation of the Winter Olympics reflects the concept of sustainability and injects vigor into the region’s development,” Liu said.
After the Games, the facility can still be used for competitions and training. It can also serve to promote ice and snow sports open to the public, Liu added.