Countdown to Beijing 2022 | Beijing 2022 preparations in full swing

2021-04-12 03:26:43 GMT2021-04-12 11:26:43(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

BEIJING, April 10 (Xinhua) -- With 300 days to go until the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, the "Experience Beijing" testing program has come to a delightful end.

From the fluttering snowflakes in Zhangjiakou and Yanqing competition zones in February to the crystal ice surfaces in the five venues in downtown Beijing in April, the mission has been accomplished ahead of Beijing 2022.

TESTING BY THE OLYMPIC STANDARD

Testing and analyzing all possible scenarios by the Olympic standard is the fundamental principle of the "Experience Beijing" testing program.

As the oldest of all five Olympic venues in Beijing, the Capital Gymnasium is the only venue that has to switch between two sports in the middle of a day, namely figure skating and short speed skating.

Fulfilling seven conversions in six days, staff members at the Capital Gymnasium faced challenges of completing the conversion work including protective pads, camera stands, temporary structures, ice making within two hours and are now able to deliver in an orderly and timely manner.

The National Indoor Stadium and the National Aquatics Center, which will host the Paralympic ice hockey and wheelchair curling events respectively, were also upgraded from Olympic venues to accommodating Para athletes with accessibility facilities and traffic flow, such as accessible ramps, accessible seating, accessible counters, and an assistive device maintenance center.

"We did a lot of testing based on the Olympic schedule," said Yan Cheng, head of human resources of Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (BOCOG).

"For the ice events in particular, we managed conversions on the ice, and the transitions between Olympics and Paralympics, testing all the facilities and adjusting team collaboration, which is very important and beneficial for our entire team."

According to Yang Jinkui, head of the Paralympic Department of BOCOG, the accessible traffic flow was designed based on the needs of Paralympic events, allowing the drop-off area as close to the venue as possible, and the restrooms and locker rooms as close to the field of play as possible to provide the greatest convenience for the Para athletes, with preparation works and logistical support in place.

Don Moffatt, chief ice maker for ice hockey, admitted that he was a little bit scared before the testing program because he didn't know about the ice makers and ice resurfacer drivers here in China but he is now "very impressed with all of the people."

"There's some very good knowledge and good experience," Moffatt gave a thumbs-up for local staff. "And for me, the most fun is working with people that want to learn and get better. So I get to do that. But I also get to share my experiences."

While aiming at an Olympic standard on ice making, Beijing 2022 is also looking to go above and beyond.

The National Speed Skating Oval, locally known as the "Ice Ribbon," is the first speed skating oval to use carbon dioxide transcritical ice making technology, with the ultimate goal to create the "fastest ice at sea level."

"I don't see any reason why this can't be one of the fastest ovals in the world," said Canadian ice maker Mark Peter Messer. "We just need to find the right parameters to make that happen."

"Ice events have a high standard for the quality of ice," said Yao Hui, head of Venue Management of BOCOG. "Our team is capable of ensuring the top quality of the ice surface from details, including the indoor temperature, humidity, ice temperature and water quality."

The venues in Zhangjiakou and Yanqing competition zones were also recognized by all parties during the testing program in February. "Yanqing Sliding Center is the greatest venue from different perspectives where I have been and worked at. There are a lot of advantages here," Normunds Kotans, a former Latvian bobsledder who has become an expert for the Olympics, commended.

A BOOST FROM TECHNOLOGY

Hosting an Olympics of high quality won't be possible without a boost from new technologies, which have ushered in a new era of intelligence for the Olympics.

As spectators walk into the Wukesong Sports Center, they are not only able to watch an ice hockey game, but also experience the extra excitement and convenience that technology can bring.

The interactive smart game assistant will allow spectators on site and fans anywhere in the world to view the game from different angles via their mobile devices and VR headsets. Meanwhile, smart robots are also available for delivery, cleaning and sterilizing in the venues.

For journalists, cloud broadcasting technology has created a platform where they can produce and broadcast remotely, with each cloud broadcasting station offering different frames and versions of the same game. It also allows journalists to conduct remote news release and interview with the athletes at a distance.

As part of the epidemic control and prevention measures, smart thermometer is put into practice at Wukesong Sports Center, which is the smallest and most accurate wearable intelligent temperature measuring equipment with a detection accuracy of 0.05 degrees Celsius.

Also known as the "band-aid thermometer," it can be easily stick to armpit skin. The real-time body temperature will then be automatically uploaded to the terminal equipment for continuous monitoring.

"The new technologies that we are using during the testing program are likely to be installed for the Olympics," said Yu Hong, head of technical department of BOCOG.

"Reliability and the advancement in technology are the basic requirements for Olympic standard technology. Reliability serves the needs of recording the athletes' performance accurately while advancement entails a commitment to promote technological progress on a larger scale."

EVENT AND LOGISTICS SERVICE ON STANDBY

The "Experience Beijing" snow and ice testing programs have engaged more than 9,000 people at 11 venues, areas like epidemic control and prevention, spectator services, sports presentation, and award ceremony were all well-tested.

On April 2, the "Ice Cube" welcomed 600 spectators to its curling event for the first time. Volunteers who check tickets and handle crowds at the entrance, members who are responsible for multi-language broadcast and screen display, and medical staff who are always on call at the FOP stations together delivered a stunning performance.

In the meanwhile, three types of award ceremonies were carried out at the National Speed Skating Oval in accordance with the epidemic control and prevention measurements of the International Olympics Committee.

Yu Debin, head of the Games Service of BOCOG, said, "After the testing program, we will learn from the experiences, address the shortcomings, and perfect our plans. We will also strengthen what we are already good at and prepare for the next challenge."

Team work makes the dream work. In October, a series of international events will take place in Beijing to further examine the preparation works of Beijing Winter Olympics.

Hoping for courage and trying for honor, Beijing 2022 is more than ready to meet the upcoming challenges.

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