Beijing 2022 'Well on Track'

(ATR) IOC members are told that "test activities" were carried out in February, a year ahead of the next Winter Games.

(ATR) Optimism for the delivery of safe and successful Olympic Winter Games in Beijing remains high despite the cancellation of all international test events this winter and a pandemic that has yet to be defeated.

Beijing 2022 executive vice president Zhang Jiandong, speaking during Thursday's online IOC Session, reported that an adapted program of "test activities" covering 17 Winter Olympic events and three Paralympic events were carried out for snow and sliding sports at venues in theZhangjiakou and Yanqing clusters between Feb. 16-26. Fourteen "special tests" were also conducted during this time.

Operational command center and venue operations tests were also administered. "Test activities" for the ice sports at Beijing Olympic Park are scheduled for April.

Test events cancelled this winter will be replaced with 10 international events and three training weeks between next October and December. BOCOG remains in constant virtual contact with the respective International Federations, in addition to the IOC regarding athlete qualifications.

International Bobsleigh and Skeleton and winter federations president Ivo Ferriani says that Beijing 2022 organizers are "well on track" for great Winter Games and he is looking forward to witnessing the "wow effect".

International Ice Hockey Federation presidentRené Fasel commended Beijing organizers for their "remarkable job of work."

All 12 competition venues have been completed and according to Beijing 2022, are already becoming local landmarks. Venues will showcase distinct Chinese characteristics, culture and innovation such as the harrowing 360-degree spiral curve at the bobsleigh track in Yanqing. Snowboarders will launch airborne off an icy jump sculpted as China’s Great Wall during Big Air events. State of the art snowmaking is being perfected at the freestyle skiing venue in Zhangjiakou despite the cancellation of the world championships.

In terms of COVID-19 preventions and controls, Beijing 2022 organizers and accompanying health experts are developing necessary COVID-19 countermeasures and playbooks, similar to Tokyo 2020, are being worked on," according to Beijing 2022 executive vice president Zhang Jiandong.

"Given the continued spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the IOC establishment of the international COVID-19 response task force with the World Health Organization and Beijing 2022 provides guidance and assistance in the epidemic response for the Beijing 2022 Games," Zhang said.

"We, Beijing 2022 and the National Health Commission of China jointly established a COVID-19 task force as well with a team of COVID health experts who have put forward an epidemic response scheme for test activities and is now working on playbooks for the 2022 Games," he said.

Beijing 2022 IOC CoComm Report

Beijing 2022 coordination commission chair Juan Antonio Samaranch followed Zhang, addressing IOC members during Thursday afternoon’s second day of the IOC Session, also available online to the world’s media.

Samaranch says China’s ambitious target of introducing winter sports to 300 million people through the 2022 Beijing Winter Games has been achieved.

"It’s already a reality. We will not need to wait until 2023 to see that legacy," Samaranch said.

Samaranch commended Beijing 2022 organizers for their perseverance overcoming numerous challenges during exceedingly difficult times.

"All these achievements are in very difficult and hard situations, under COVID-19 posing tremendous restrictions in the local workforce of BOCOG.

"Tremendous difficulty to travel and transfer expertise of previous Winter Games for our friends in Beijing, by international experts, something that has been resolved.

"Difficulties with test events, but no matter what the Olympic Villages, the venues, all the facilities and the team itself have been deployed in a successful way."

Samaranch noted that more than one-fourth of the 1,200 fulltime Beijing 2022 employees have already been assigned to venues

"They are now venue ready, so we are very comfortable with that.

"The COVID working group is working, playbooks are in place and the IOC, our people are already onsite and have been very much welcomed.

"Our friends from BOCOG – you are doing an extraordinary job," said the Spanish IOC Executive Board member.

Zhang’s Report to the IOC

Zhang’s presentation prior to Samaranch's brief, but highly complimentary address, included numerous key facts, figures and dates.

The Chinese sports leader noted that there are 28 departments comprising Beijing 2022 governance, including 18 special interest groups.

There are 1,223 Beijing 2022 staff members, being assisted by 23 domestic and 123 foreign winter sports experts. More than one million volunteers have expressed their interest in contributing at the Games.

5G communications are in place at the smart venues and state-of-the-art weather forecasting technology is being installed and implemented.

Twenty-eight non-competitions venues will be used and athletes will be spread across three Olympic villages, one for each venue cluster. Zero emissions of greenhouse gases will be realized at indoor ice venues.

The three Olympic Family hotels have been designated, each in the vicinity of Beijing Olympic Park.

Nine new sponsors have increased the total to 38 sponsors.

Medals design is nearing final stages as well as details and locations of the Torch Relay route.

Given the pandemic and economic concerns the Chinese sports leader said that opening and closing ceremonies will be a "matter of simplicity".

The Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games are 329 days away, scheduled to open on Feb. 4 and run through Feb. 20.

Homepage photo: Beijing 2022

Written and reported by Brian Pinelli

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