Beijing 2022 Updates Progress with Venues

(ATR) Beijing 2022 organizers press forward with preparations despite the "unprecedented challenges" of the pandemic.

(ATR) Beijing 2022 organizers press forward with preparations to host the world in about 20 months despite the "unprecedented challenges" of the coronavirus pandemic.

The release of an official sustainability plan is the latest task to be finished as new Olympic venues near completion.

The sustainability plan was developed jointly by the Beijing municipality, Hebei Province and the Beijing 2022 organizing committee. It is to serve as guide for the sustainability work of the of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games, to be implemented throughout the entire process of staging and delivering the Games.

It reflects the Beijing 2022 mission of being "green, open, inclusive and clear" and follows reforms introduced through Olympic Agenda 2020. Additionally, it is aligned with the United Nation’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

"The IOC welcomes the publication of the Beijing 2022 Sustainability Plan, as it provides a comprehensive framework for the overall sustainability vision of the Olympic Games Beijing 2022," said Juan Antonio Samaranch, Chair of the Beijing 2022 IOC Coordination Commission.

"The Plan also highlights the fact that the Organising Committee Beijing 2022 is working hand-in-hand with the national and regional authorities to achieve their ambitious sustainability objectives."

The plan promotes the Beijing 2022 Games’ vision of "Sustainability for the Future" and identifies the three themes of "positive environmental impact", "new development for the region" and "a better life for the people". The themes support actions taken surrounding the environment of the competition zones, regional development and improvements for the host communities in Beijing and Zhangjiakou.

A Beijing 2022 spokesperson addressed the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and what effects the rescheduling of Tokyo 2020 until July 2021 – now just seven months prior to the Beijing Winter Games – might cause.

"COVID-19 has had a significant impact on global sports, including the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, creating unprecedented challenges to all," according to a Beijing 2022 spokesperson in response to questions from Around the Rings.

"The 2019/20 FIS World Cup event in Yanqing, initially scheduled for February 2020 was cancelled earlier this year. Beijing 2022 is evaluating the impact of the Tokyo 2020 Games postponement and COVID-19 on the Beijing 2022 Games and will communicate any progress in time," he said.

Beijing 2022 Winter Sports Venues

Beijing 2022 organizers inform that the three new venues being constructed for the Beijing 2022 Winter Games – the national speed skating oval, national Alpine skiing center and national sliding center – are nearing full completion.

"Beijing 2022 venue construction is currently proceeding as scheduled," a spokesperson tells ATR. "All venues are set to be completed on time, according to the schedule for test event and the Beijing 2022 Games."

Despite the cancellation of the men’s Alpine World Cup test event scheduled for February, the FIS and organizers are likely to host a women’s event next winter.

The National Alpine Skiing Center is 89 percent completed, the speed track has finished construction and passed the homologation by the FIS. Work relating to water and power supply, the cableway, snowmaking, transport and subsidiary buildings has all been finished. While the highly anticipated World Cup races never took place, China’s 14th National Winter Games were held in Yanqing.

Primary construction on the National Speed Skating Oval was completed as the last roof plate was hoisted into place on December 31, 2019. The image of the Ice Ribbon has now taken form.

According to Beijing 2022, future work includes focus on ice rink construction, mechanical equipment installation and interior decorating. Starting in July, ice-making equipment will be tested and interior structural construction will be implemented.

The first ice-making is planned for October, while in February 2021 the venue is expected to host its first test event.

The National Sliding Center in Yanqing is 88 percent complete. Work on the concrete track structure, the main awning and refrigeration rooms have been finished and are ready for testing.

Construction on the main structure of the residential zone at the Yanqing Olympic Village has been completed, accounting for 40 percent of the total project.

Shougang Park

Beijing 2022 personnel have recently returned to working onsite at the organizing committee’s new headquarters at Shougang Park in western Beijing.

The 100-year-old urban Shougang Park will not only serve as the OC offices, but also houses the Big Air ramp project.

Construction of the Big Air Shougang ramp was completed in November 2019 and the venue was used for the first time as part of the 2019 Air & Style competition in December. FIS conducted a fairly complete test of the competition venue at the inaugural event which was a stepping stone for another major test event in February 2021 – the 2021 FIS Freestyle Ski and Snowboarding World Championships.

In addition to the Big Air ramp, Shougang Park is being developed into a large-scale winter sports training center with four Chinese national training facilities – for ice hockey, figure skating, curling and short track speed skating.

The IOC coordination commission, led by Samaranch, is expected to conduct its next official meeting, virtually, with Beijing 2022 organizers in June.

Homepage photo of National Alpine Ski Centre: Beijing 2022

Written and reported by Brian Pinelli from his home in Prague

Follow Brian on Twitter – @Brian_Pinelli

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