The Beijing 2022 Winter Games Organising Committee unveiled the Olympic and Paralympic torch on Thursday (4 February) marking the one-year countdown to the Games in a glittering ceremony at the iconic 2008 Summer Games venue the National Aquatics Center.
The Olympic and Paralympic torch share the same structure and patterns - spiraling upward to resemble two overlapping fluttering ribbons.
For the Olympics, the inner red ribbon evokes rising flames and the outer one is plated in silver to produce a striking contrast. The torch features the emblem of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on its mid-section, with patterns of clouds and snowflakes painted from the bottom up to the flame.
The Paralympic torch, on the other hand, features a different colour scheme of gold and silver. The lower section of the Paralympic torch is engraved with Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in Braille.
Beaming with dynamism and vitality, the two-tone torch presents a metaphor of ice and fire, symbolising how it will bring light and warmth to the winter sports celebration.
Another design highlight allows both torches to lock into each other at the top when torchbearers exchange the flame during the Torch Relay, representing Beijing 2022’s vision to promote mutual understanding and respect between different cultures.
“To introduce the torch at the start of the one-year countdown, we wish to kindle the enthusiasm and anticipation for the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games all around the world,” said Wang Xiangyu, a deputy director of the Culture and Ceremonies Department of the Beijing 2022 organising committee.
“The successful design of the torch has proved again that the Olympics always set the stage for the integration of sports, culture, art and science.”
To honour Beijing’s status as the world’s first city to host both the Summer and Winter Olympics, the 2022 torch features a similar design to the 2008 Games’ main cauldron, which resembled a giant scroll, highlighting the Olympic spirit’s legacy in the Chinese capital.
“By using the same colour combination and by sharing similar artistic elements with the 2008 torch, we aim to extend auspicious greetings to the world as we did at the Summer Games and to showcase Beijing’s rich Olympic culture,” said Li Jianye, the designer of the torch's appearance.
The final design was selected from 182 entries into a global competition launched in April 2020. The combination of Chinese aesthetic value, traditional cultural connotations and advanced technology helped the winning design team stand out, according to the judge.
“The current design strikes a perfect balance between the expression of the host nation’s culture, Olympism and the demonstration of the latest industrial technology,” said Lu Xiaobo, a member on the judging panel and dean of the Academy of Arts and Design at Tsinghua University.
Using a combustion system developed by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, the torch fueled by hydrogen most of the time (propane at certain circumstances), was designed and has undergone rigorous testing to burn reliably in most weather conditions and to withstand strong winds and extreme low temperatures.
Made of carbon-fibre materials, the torch is light in weight and resistant to high temperatures.
Planning for the Torch Relay and selection of torchbearers for the Games are underway with detailed information to be released in due course, according to the Beijing 2022 organising committee.