Author: Mr. Zhongdong Tang, Consul General of China in Johannesburg
On 20 February, the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, the world's first comprehensive sporting event that being held on schedule since the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic inJanuary 2020, came to a close as the Olympic flame in the center of the giant snowflake-shaped cauldron in the National Stadium "Bird's Nest", which is located in north central Beijing, was slowly extinguished.
Under the personal impetus of Chinese President Xi Jinping and the strong leadership of the Chinese government and with the commitment of organizing a green, inclusive, open and clean Games, China has worked closely with the IOC and other stakeholders, made every effort to counter the impact of Covid-19 pandemic, and eventually the world saw a successful Beijing 2022 as a streamlined, safe and splendid Winter Olympic Games.
In the 16 days of the Games, Beijing witnessed sports glories and dreams, and enhanced solidarity and friendship among people all over the world. Nearly 3,000 winter sports Olympians from 91 countries and regions have striven to excel themselves and go beyond their limits, setting two world records and 17 Olympic records and living up to the Olympic motto of “Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together”.
The closing ceremony saw smiles on the faces of competitors from all over the world. They expressed their happiness in the simplest and most direct way: taking selfies with their mobile phones, cheering and waving to their hearts' content, and flying kisses into the camera. ...... The Beijing Winter Olympics has reinforced the belief that even fiercely competitive rivals can rise above their differences, respect each other and work together.
China has made great efforts to fulfil its promise to host a streamlined, safe and splendid Olympic Games, providing first-class competition venues and excellent organizational services. We have created professional and fair competition environment for the athletes. The organizational system worked smoothly and the games were exciting.
We have organized wide variety of cultural activities incorporating traditional Chinese cultural elements to set up good vibes and showcase the unique charm of Beijing as the world's first city to host both the Summer and Winter Olympics. The Chinese people have fully demonstrated their hospitality by preparing their most delicious and healthy foods, warm and thoughtful services in terms of transportation and health-care.
International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach exclaimed in his closing speech: “This unforgettable experience was only possible because of our gracious hosts, the Chinese people. With over 300 million people now engaged in winter sports, with the great success of the Chinese athletes, the positive legacy of these Olympic Games is ensured. With the truly exceptional Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 we welcome China as a winter sport country.”
We have taken safety of all participants of the Games as our priority in order to present a splendid Games. The strong and effective Covid-19 protocols have made Beijing 2022 the first comprehensive global sporting event to be held on schedule since the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic and set a successful example for the hosting of major international events.
The green, low-carbon and sustainable approach will be cherished as part of the rich legacy of Beijing 2022. We have realized carbon neutrality during the entire Games, and developed post-Games utilization plans for all venues. The Shougang Park, where the ski jump competitions were held and the Olympics main offices and one of the Olympic Villages located, has become a new landmark for urban rehabilitation. Yanqing match zone has become the most beautiful Winter Olympics city, and Zhangjiakou city, where skiing events were held, has become the best tourism destination for ice and snow sports fans.
The Olympic spirit has been fully upheld during the Beijing Winter Olympics. Highlighting the theme of "Together for A Shared Future", China has provided a stage for exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations, and called for strong solidarity in the face of difficult challenges.
Beijing is now ready for the Winter Paralympic Games and is confident for making it equally wonderful with the Winter Olympic Games. We will continue to work together with the IOC and the international community to pass on the Olympic legacy, promote the development of the Olympics and build a community with a shared future for mankind.
Beijing 2022 has changed the scale of winter sports. The Chinese team has broken its records of both gold medals and total medals won at a single Winter Olympic Games by winning 15 medals in total including nine golds, four silvers and two bronzes, ranking the third in the gold medal list. China has made the best results since its first participation in Winter Olympic Games in 1980.
China has fulfilled its solemn promise of "engaging 300 million people in ice and snow activities" ahead of schedule in the process of preparing for the Winter Olympic Games, with the total number of people participating in ice and snow sports reaching 346 million at present. Obviously, Beijing 2022 has opened up a new era for ice and snow sports globally.
The closing of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games is not the end, but the beginning of a renewed solidarity around the world. One World, One Family. In the name of the Olympics, let us continue to work together with solidarity towards a shared future!