Athletes compete during the women's 1,000m semifinal of short track speed skating at Capital Indoor Stadium in Beijing, Feb. 11, 2022. (Xinhua/Lan Hongguang)
Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr., Chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission for Beijing 2022, believes that the Beijing Winter Olympic legacy will have a positive impact on future generations and China is already a winter sports country.
BEIJING, Feb. 11 (ChinaEuropeDialogue, CED) -- International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach has said that the Olympic Games is perhaps the most complex event on the planet, like a huge and difficult jigsaw puzzle.For each Olympic Games, the IOC sets up a special Coordination Commission to work with the organizing committee on competitions, venues, media operations, accommodation, arrivals and departures, transport and registration.
Due in large part to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the preparations for the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games have been extremely difficult but received positive feedback from Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr., the Chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission for Beijing 2022 during an exclusive interview with Xinhua.
PREPARATION FOR BEIJING 2022 AMAZES ALL
Despite constant discussions on the capacity of the host country and the organizing committee, Samaranch Jr. said that the IOC has never doubted China's hosting capacity and the preparations for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, which fully met and exceeded their expectations.
Due to travel restrictions since the COVID-19 outbreak, Samaranch Jr. and other members of the coordination committee have had to communicate with BOCOG most of the time by video calls with a time difference.
"What has been really amazing and impressive is the capacity of this team of people, this organizing committee, and the people of China to organize the Games despite the pandemic, in very difficult conditions and making it successful and very safe for everybody. Very nice effort," said Samaranch Jr.The Olympic delegation of the People's Republic of China parade into the National Stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing, Feb. 4, 2022. (Xinhua/Wu Wei)
CLOSED LOOP MANAGEMENT PROTECTS ALL
In order to deliver a safe Games, the Beijing Winter Olympics has been taking place in a closed loop. Samaranch Jr. said that China's public health authorities have done a lot of rigorous and comprehensive work, in which the closed-loop management has played a key role in the smooth operation of the Games so far.
"You have a very important gatekeeper at the airports that is doing tests when everybody arrives," he said.
"We have prepared everybody to stay home, to stay calm, not to expose themselves and to do PCR test before they fly. So we are getting these people that get infected last minute were catching them up and putting them in isolation."
"Since there is no interaction between in and out of the bubble. Inside the bubble it is the Olympic world and all the Chinese people working in the organization of the Games. The outside is the Beijing and Hebei populations. We are safe and it's working," he added.Gu Ailing of China attends a press conference after winning the women's freestyle skiing big air gold at Beijing 2022 on Feb. 8, 2022. (Xinhua/Li He)
WINTER OLYMPIC LEGACY BENEFITS ALL
Samaranch Jr.'s father and honorary life president of the IOC, Juan Antonio Samaranch, was an old friend of the Chinese people.
During Samaranch's IOC presidency, China successfully hosted the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, while Samaranch Jr. has been involved in the preparations for the 2022 Winter Olympics from the beginning.
Samaranch Jr. recalled the opening ceremony of Beijing 2022 and liked the flow of the storytelling and technology that was displayed.
"I think that the ceremony is a reflection on the state of mind of the whole country. In 2008, China wanted to tell the world 'here we are, we are here to say we had a big, very powerful celebration. It was a statement there."
"Now China doesn't have to say to anybody here we come. You are in the center of things of world affairs. This was a very interesting way of presenting 'Together for a Shared Future.' It was very well crafted and a very good message to give to the world."
Samaranch Jr. also mentioned how the Beijing Winter Olympic legacy will have a positive impact on future generations as did the 2008 Summer Games.
"You have extraordinary venues that will serve the population of China for many years to come, not 16 days, but for much more than 60 years."
"It's an infrastructure that is very important for the population, like high speed trains, and highways that is going to increase the quality of life."
Samaranch Jr. also lauded China's commitment to engaging 300 millions people in winter sports.
"China is now a winter sports country and that will have a bigger effect in many things in your country and society," he concluded. ■
Xuefei Chen Axelsson is an independent media person. She has been a journalist for 30 years. She studied English, International politics, and sustainable development. She has been to Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and America, Canada, France, Germany, Spain and all the nordic countries including Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Iceland and Britain. She is good at talking with all kinds of people and exchange ideas and serves as a bridge between China and the world.