BEIJING, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- One year after the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) hailed the social and economic benefits created by the Games.
"The first city ever to hold both the Summer and Winter Games, Beijing delivered spectacular Olympic Winter Games last year," read an article published on the IOC official website on Wednesday.
"Driven by Olympic Agenda 2020 and Olympic Agenda 2020+5, the Games have engaged 346 million Chinese in winter sports since 2015 and created lasting, wide-ranging social and economic benefits for local people," the article continued, highlighting the post-game use of the competition venues and booming winter sports industry in China.
The IOC pointed out that Olympic legacies had already been created before the Games as China strived to build itself into a snow and ice destination. "By the beginning of 2021, the country had already built 654 standard ice rinks, up by 317 percent compared with 2015; and 803 indoor and outdoor ski resorts, up by 41 percent from 2015 levels."
The efforts bring long-standing influence as a report on China's snow and ice tourism development predicts that the number of snow and ice leisure travelers in China is expected to exceed 300 million in the 2022-2023 snow and ice season. The number is expected to reach 520 million in three years, and the related tourism revenue will reach 720 billion yuan.
The Beijing 2022 Organizing Committee (BOCOG) on Wednesday released the Beijing 2022 Post-Games Sustainability Report, summarizing the Games' approach to sustainability, protection of the ecosystem, addressing climate change, implementing sustainable sourcing, promoting development for the region, enhancing people's well-being, and the legacy of sustainability.
The BOCOG also published the Beijing 2022 Post-Games Legacy Report, which covers the achievements in winter sports popularization, post-Games use of Olympic venues, ice and snow industry growth, host city development, the building of Beijing-Zhangjiakou sports, cultural and tourism belt, and cultural and social development.
The IOC acknowledged the efforts and achievements and took the Beijing 2008 venue National Aquatics Center nicknamed the "Water Cube," as an example.
"[The 'Water Cube'] was turned into an 'Ice Cube' to host the Beijing 2022 curling competitions. The venue has seen massive public interest, with more than 3,000 visitors on day one of its opening, earning it the nickname of 'the hottest ice' in Beijing," the IOC said.
"One year on, the most outstanding feature of these Games is the way they touched the lives of millions of local people by making them discover the world of winter sports," said Christophe Dubi, Olympic Games Executive Director of the IOC.
"The organizers also made sure the Games minimized their impact on the environment by prioritizing the use of existing venues, using renewable energy to power all the venues, and implementing innovative technology, such as the CO2 refrigeration systems that will help make winter sports more sustainable." ■