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Commentary: Golden is the word for Beijing 2022

Editor: Wang Xuemeng 丨Xinhua

08-01-2015 19:57 BJT

Full coverage: Beijing Bids for 2022 Winter Olympics

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- Golden is the word for the second handshake between the Olympic Movement and China, the world's most populous and fast-developing country.

When the International Olympic Committee trusted Chinese capital Beijing and co-host Zhangjiakou with the 2022 Winter Olympic Games on Friday in Kuala Lumpur, it grasped a golden opportunity to promote winter sports and the Olympic Movement further more in the country of 1.3 billion people after the 2008 Summer Games.

The ambitious 2022 host has planned to push winter sports among 300 million people, which means almost the whole population of the United States will either get in touch with, become interested in, regularly practice or even excel at the sports in the next seven years.

As Beijing boy Song Andong just became the first Chinese to be drafted in the National Hockey League in the US, more kids could be expected to follow his steps. Ice hockey, among many other winter sports, has gained growing popularity and the Winter Olympics is sure a huge boost for it.

It will also be another opportunity for the IOC to put its Olympic Agenda 2020 to test as the profound reform put forth by IOC president Thomas Bach last year aims at keeping the ancient Olympic Movement vigorous and attractive.

Beijing 2022 host has unfolded a Games plan that underlined the full alignment with the principles of the Olympic Agenda 2020 and stressed sustainability as one of the key pillars.

Since the very inception of the bid, Beijing 2022 made its priority to design a Games that would be athlete-centered, sustainable and economical.

Beijing 2022 will take full advantage of both the tremendous Beijing 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games legacy - including existing competition venues, infrastructure and people with deep operational experience - and having a clear vision of how the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games is integrated in China's existing regional economic development plans.

Thus, Beijing 2022 could be a good demonstration on how the Olympics stops being a white-elephant producer and benefits the people who embrace it.

Golden era is also for the Chinese as well.

In many ways, the Winter Olympics Games has already started to change people's life for the better when Beijing announced its bid in 2013 with Zhangjiakou, a city from neighboring Hebei province.

Chongli county of Zhangjiakou, where about 50 gold medals will be on offer from snow events in 2022, turned from an unknown small place whose residents struggled at poverty line into a hot tourist destination in just one year.

Most Chongli residents, who never had the chance to see Beijing, some 200 kilometers south of their home, will find it an easy journey -- around 50 minutes of ride -- to the heart of the country once an inter-city high speed railyway completes in 2019.

Back in Beijing, the host city geared up to clean its air, implementing a five-year plan starting from 2013 that cost 130 billion US dollars to upgrade heating system, cut car waste emission and close down heavy-polluted plants. Neighboring metropolitan Tianjin and provinces including Hebei adopted similar measures.

A second five-year plan to further improve air quality is under study, according to Beijing mayor Wang Anshun.

When the IOC handed the 2022 hosting right to Beijing, making it one and only city to stage both summer and winter Olympics, it made a safe and reliable choice, knowing the Chinese will live up to their committments from top to bottom.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has thrown his weight behind host Beijing, reiterating the nation's passion for the Games in a video speech played during the final presentation to the IOC members on Friday.

He promised the Chinese people "will present to the world a fantastic, extraordinary and excellent Winter Olympics".

See you in Beijing in 2022.

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