Reporting from Beijing, China – Beijing 2022 made the last of its presentations to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Evaluation Commission Friday after covering additional topics including accommodation, transport and media operations.
The teams then headed west to the Yanqing cluster where two snow venues will be built to contest Alpine skiing, bobsleigh, luge and skeleton. Along with a mountain media centre and the Yanqing Olympic Village, these venues will only be built if Beijing wins the Games. The Evaluation team observed the sites for these proposed venues that still had remnants of snow cover from the winter.
The Yanqing cluster will be connected to the Beijing Olympic Village by a 20-minute trip on a planned high speed rail line. It will also connect further west on the same line to the Zhangjiakou Olympic Village with a 30-minute trip.
Executive Director of the Zhangjiakou operation centre Zhang Chunsheng disclosed an aggressive departure schedule during the Games indicating that 16-carriage trains could travel every 5 minutes at peak periods and every 15 minutes other times. The trains will be built using the latest technologies and include tunnels and underground stations, yet no costs for the project already planned by the central government have been released by the bid committee.
Athletes who medal in the Yanqing or Zhangjiakou clusters will attend their ceremonies at the medal plaza in Chongli, arriving at the local station there on the Beijing-Zhangjiakou high speed train 5 minutes from the Zhangjiakou Olympic Village, then traveling a further kilometer by shuttle or on foot. Alternatively, shuttles from the Athletes village will be available for transfer.
The medals plaza is the only official venue in Chongli, but the county of 120,000 people will play an important role in supporting the Zhangjiakou cluster. A recent rise in tourism has resulted in the construction of five ski resorts in the area as well as a majority of the hotels that will house spectators during the Games. Restaurants, cultural activities and other diversions in Chongli will help provide a festive atmosphere for spectators and athletes since such facilities are currently limited near the cluster’s sports venues.
Xiang Ping, Deputy Director of Beijing Municipal Foreign Affairs Office said “the renowned Chinese hospitality, world-famous cuisine and splendid entertainment, combining cultural, historical and natural experiences,”
“Beijing 2022 offers an all-inclusive proposition. Beijing 2022 would be a truly joyful Games experience for all participants and visitors – with winter sports at its core, spiced with virtually unlimited, world-class entertainment, shopping and hospitality options, as well as cultural and sport activities”.
She said “the IOC requirement for accommodation can be fully satisfied with our existing room supply.”
“As there is no need for new hotels to be constructed for the Olympic Winter Games, the accommodation function will contribute to making Beijing 2022 truly sustainable and economical.”
Beijing 2022 has planned three Olympic Villages, one in each cluster, but remarkably the bid says that the construction of two of these venues in the Beijing and Zhangjiakou are already planned and will be completed whether Beijing wins the Games or not. Bid officials explained that these are residential development plans that are required to support growth in their respective communities. As a result, the costs to construct these venues are omitted from the overall infrastructure budget for the Games helping keep perceived costs below $2 billion.
Final meetings between Beijing 2022 and the IOC are set for Saturday morning followed by the closing ceremonies for the five day meeting. Evaluation Commission Chief Alexander Zhukov and his team will share their first impressions with the media at a press conference scheduled for the afternoon.