Despite a global pandemic that has disrupted sporting events worldwide throughout 2020, Tony Liu, Head of Legacy, Beijing 2022, and his team are confident of hosting a sustainable Winter Games in Beijing next year.
Beijing will be the first city in history to host both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games. The country is reusing the mega venues they had built for the earlier Games in 2008.
Speaking at the recently concluded virtual Global Sports Week, supported by the International Paralympic Committee, Liu stated, “We are working very hard with various sectors in the government and respecting the current scenario. We are still focused on the goal to move towards a new sustainable business model for Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
“Beijing 2008 was the catalyst for major infrastructure projects. The aim is to drive more people towards winter sports. It is a balance of summer and winter sports and we are engaged in fostering sport development.”
Through the Winter Games, Beijing is also confident of having a positive influence on the health of the wider society.
“The Games really facilitate our national strategy of ‘Healthy China’ which aims to make our people more healthy, more strong, and will act as a catalyst to raise the average age of the Chinese to 79 by 2030,” stated Liu.
Beijing believes that sustainability is the future and they are not alone. The 2026 Winter Games hosts Milano Cortina have also heralded their focus on sustainability measures for the mega event.
With its multi-venue approach, Milano Cortina will be part of a new, purpose-powered era for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The host country, Italy is on a quest to boost sports development and international sport events to offer opportunities to the next generation.
Speaking at the Global Sports Week, Alessandro Benetton, President, Fondazione Cortina 2021, said, “As the Chairman of the committee and in various roles over the years, I was able to get the opportunity to prove myself. We are trying to give a positive response to the younger generation. We also want to boost the economic life of the cities around Italy and make them sustainable.
“Events like the Fondazione Cortina 2021, Alpine World Ski Championships, which took place in February, are an important stepping-stone to building the Games. We are on the threshold of hosting a dynamic winter sporting event. It is from here that we will create history.”
Diana Bianchedi, Games Project Leader, Fondazione Milano Cortina 2026, agreed with Benetton that the Games offer an opportunity.
She said, “Experience can have two meanings. It can be good or bad. Being a former athlete myself, I feel it’s important to use my experience on the field and work to make these Games something that future generations will admire.”
When quizzed about Milano Cortina’s sustainability efforts, Benetton, explained that not only will the Games respect their surroundings but that they will open up new opportunities.
“We have taken great efforts to ensure that the historic landscape of Italy is retained. In fact, a qualified landscape architect was employed to create something that will be of use in the summer as well.
“The skiing events are located on the picturesque northern mountains which posed a logistical challenge. We have used new technology to ensure that the venue can be used in the summer as well and that transportation is not an impediment.”