Reporting from the Lausanne Palace Hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland – If Beijing wins the 2022 Olympic bid, a high speed train will whisk spectators from the ice venues in Beijing city to the snow cluster in Zhangjiakou in about 50 minutes. It’s not built yet, but that’s ok – you can experience it now.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) members toured exhibition rooms hosted by the Beijing and Almaty bids for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games Wednesday morning at the Lausanne Palace Hotel. They were shown models and offered details of their plans to host the Games.
In the Beijing room, you could virtually experience the high speed train ride between clusters complete with genuine cabin chairs, video, and 4D virtual reality goggles to complete the experience. You could also use VR goggles to virtually tour both existing and proposed venues – or view detailed models of the venue layouts.
Almaty offered a touch screen experience where you could view videos and photos of the venues, many existing, or see the models. Kazakh figure skating Olympic medalist Denis Ten offered a personal virtual tour of the layouts and he was able to provide context from the important athlete’s perspective. He said, with a touch of humour, that the plans made a lot of sense because the Athlete’s Village is just steps away from the figure skating arena. But more seriously he suggested that close proximity to the airport and easy access to the other venues will make Almaty’s plans compelling.
A Beijing 2022 venue expert who demonstrated the aspects of the Zhangjiakou cluster said many IOC members were surprised that there were already existing ski resorts in the cluster. They were also impressed, she said, that the high speed rail ran underground near competition venues so they wouldn’t disrupt the athletes in competition and that the ski jump venue would offer vistas of the Great Wall of China.
Also, prominently displayed by Beijing was a video screen showing snowfall near Zhangjiakou with “May 10, 2015” written across it – an apparent answer to the IOC Evaluation Commission claim that there is a lack of snow at the venues.
The exhibitions came at the conclusion of the IOC bid city briefing session that began Tuesday with 45-minute presentations followed by 45-minute questions and answer periods. The Vice Premier of China and Prime Minister of Kazakhstan led their respective delagations.
The IOC will vote for their 2022 host on July 31 in Kuala Lumpur.