Coming just on the tail of the delayed 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games, the 2022 Winter Olympic Games are set to be held in February of 2022 in Beijing and the surrounding areas, welcoming athletes from around the globe to come and participate in a series of winter sports? So what can we expect from the country that hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics to such great success? While many of the exact details have not yet been released, we can expect Olympic fervor to once again grip the country as the Games approach.
Beijing 2022 Intro
Selected in July of 2015 as the host of the 2022 Winter Olympics, this will be the first Winter Olympics to be held in China, much like the 2008 Games were the first Summer Olympics Games to be held here. This is also the first time that the same city will have hosted both a Summer and Winter Olympic Games.
The Beijing Winter Olympics opening ceremonies will begin on February 4th and will continue on until February 20th, beginning not long after the start of the Spring Festival holiday, which begins on January 31st. There will be 109 events in 15 disciplines across 7 sports. The budget for this event is expected to be around $3.9B, which is much less than the $43B spent on the 2008 Games, though this is due in part to the use of existing venues rather than constructing new ones. It was also announced that all venues being used for the Games would be running on renewable energy.
The 2022 Winter Paralympic Games will begin on March 4th and will continue on to March 13th, with 78 events across 6 sports.
The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games will occur at three different locations within or close to Beijing. These include eight competition locations in Beijing, including the Beijing National Stadium (The Bird’s Nest), which will be used for the opening and closing ceremonies, The Beijing National Aquatics Center (The Water Cube, redubbed the ‘Ice Cube’), as well as 4 other existing venues. The only completely new venues built for this event are the National Speed Skating Oval and the Big Air Shougang, which will play host to the snowboarding and freestyle skiing events.
The next cluster of event venues will be located in Yanqing District, a suburb of Beijing located about 90 km from the city center of Beijing. This area includes the National Alpine Skiing Center and the National Sliding Center, which will host the bobsleigh and luge events. It is likely that this area will use artificial snow for the Alpine skiing events, unless there is some unusual natural snowfall.
The final area for the Winter Olympics will be in Chongli District, Zhangjiakou, Hebei Province (which XIANEASE writer Francis Miller wrote about in January 2021). This is where a bulk of the skiing and snowboarding events will be held, utilizing six different ski resorts for different events. Along with the venues, each area will have its own Olympic Village and Media Center buildings, which will be largely self-contained, as there will be restrictions on athletes and media representatives during the course of the Olympics.
Similar to policies enacted during the 2020 Tokyo Games, Beijing 2022 will institute a strict prevention policy that includes strict measures for athletes and their teams. Athletes entering the country will be required to be vaccinated, unless they have a legitimate medical exemption. Athletes will be required to remain only in selected areas, effectively remaining in a bubble to maintain COVID protocols. On September 29th, it was announced that foreign spectators would not be able to enter the venues during the games, including friends and families of the athletes. It is unclear whether or not vaccinated foreigners residing in China will be allowed entry or not, though it is likely that a Chinese ID number will be required to book tickets.
Tickets for this event will be sold through Alibaba-owned ticket retailer Damai, as well as through the official Beijing 2022 app. As previously mentioned, tickets will be unavailable to visiting foreigners for the games and will also likely be unavailable to foreign residents in China, regardless of vaccination status. Due to this restriction, it is not advisable to purchase tickets through third-party retailers, as you are likely to be turned away at the event, even if you’ve paid your money.
Events will be broadcast on CCTV and via China Mobile’s Migu streaming service, which will offer live broadcast and on-demand content.