Beijing, Feb 3 (Asia Free Press): The Beijing Winter Olympics will raise the curtain on Friday, with thousands of athletes from across the globe joining the mega sports event in the Chinese capital city.
Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend the opening ceremony of the Games at the National Stadium in Beijing with world leaders from dozens of countries, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and heads of international organizations, such as United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, according to media reports.
“The world is turning its eyes to China, and China is ready,” Xi said while addressing the opening ceremony of the 139th session of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) via video link on Thursday, reported CGTN.
The Chinese president told IOC President Thomas Bach and other IOC members that China will do its best to deliver to the world a streamlined, safe and splendid Games and act on the Olympic motto “Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together.”
Xi also thanked the committee for its long-term contribution to China’s sports as a whole and its support and guidance in bidding and preparing for the Games.
From ‘One World, One Dream’ to ‘Together for a Shared Future’
“From ‘One World, One Dream’ in 2008 to ‘Together for a Shared Future’ in 2022,” Xi said China has been actively participating in the Olympic Games and consistently promoting the Olympic Spirit.
Beijing is the first city in the world to have hosted both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games.
Fourteen years ago, with the motto of “One World, One Dream,” Beijing 2008 Olympic Games showed the world how an open China embraced the world and how a diverse world greeted China.
Xi said in the address that the world is experiencing great changes that have not been seen in a century: the COVID-19 pandemic, a new period of turbulence and transformation and multiple challenges to humanity.
For the first time in over 100 years, the Olympic motto was updated last year, adding one of the most resonant words since the pandemic – “together.”
Bach, in his New Year’s message published on the IOC website, said Beijing 2022 will be a chance to “live our new Olympic motto” to become stronger by standing together in solidarity.
By using “Together for a Shared Future” as a slogan, China is conveying a message of solidarity, urging humanity to stay united in the face of global challenges, including the raging COVID-19 pandemic.
Mobilizing 300 million people
China is committed to pursuing the Olympic ideal with concrete actions, Xi said in his address at the IOC session.
The Chinese president’s primary goal of holding the Games to inspire 300 million people to participate in winter sports has already been fulfilled.
Xi said by preparing for and organizing the Winter Games, China has boosted its regional development, ecological establishment and quality of life, in addition to opening up a broader space for the development of winter sports around the globe.
Over 346 million Chinese people have participated in winter sports activities since Beijing’s successful Winter Olympics bid in 2015, with a participation rate of 24.56 percent, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows.
By early 2021, the country boasted 654 standard ice rinks, a surge of 317 percent from 2015, and the number of ski resorts has risen from 568 in 2015 to 803 now.
A research report on China’s ice and snow industry in 2021 showed that the scale of the Chinese industry increased from $42 billion in 2015 to $93 billion in 2020.
According to China’s development plan for ice and snow sports from 2016 to 2025, the total scale of the industry will reach 1 trillion yuan ($157.2 billion) by 2025.
China’s efforts would “open a new era for winter sports globally,” Bach said.