In July 2015, at the 128th IOC Session held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Beijing was elected as the host city for Winter Olympic 2022. Beijing Olympic 2022 is an international winter multi-sport event scheduled from 4 to 20 February 2022 in Beijing, China. It will be the first-ever Winter Olympics planned to be held in China, the fourth in East Asia, and the last of three consecutive Olympics that took place in East Asia, following the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea and the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. Beijing has the honor to be the eleventh city to host the Olympic Games twice. Still, the first to have hosted both the Summer and Winter Games, having previously hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics already.
The city projects include four existing indoor venues purposely built for the 2008 Summer Olympics. The Beijing National Stadium (commonly known as the “Bird’s Nest”) will be used again as the ceremony venue. All other skiing events will be held in Taizicheng Area in Chongli District, Zhangjiakou city, Hebei province. It is 220 km from downtown Beijing.
Games are promoted for good health and better physiques. All healthy nations promote sports to ensure general public health. Sports teach us discipline, self-control, and tolerance. Sports are being used to stimulate diplomacy and understanding. It is common practice that friendly nations exchange sports delegations and organize friendly matches to promote harmony and goodwill.
The Olympic Games, which initially started in ancient Greece as many as 3,000 years ago, were restored in the late 19th century and have become the world’s preeminent sporting competition. The first modern-day Olympics were held in Athens, Greece, in 1896. However, the Olympics indeed took off as a regular international sporting event after 1924, when the VIII Games were held in Paris. Around 3,000 athletes (with more than 100 women among them) from diversified 44 nations contested that year, and for the first time, the Games included a closing ceremony. The Winter Olympics debuted that year, comprising such events as figure skating, ice hockey, bobsledding, and the biathlon. Eighty years later, when the 2004 Summer Olympics reverted to Athens for the first time in more than a century, nearly 11,000 athletes from a record 201 countries participated. In a gesture that joined both ancient and modern Olympic customs, the shotput competition that year was held at the site of the traditional Games in Olympia.
All preparations are underway, and China has committed to make the event a historic one. The Beijing Organising Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games has been constituted and is a public institution with legal prestige, in-charge of the organization, coordination of all related matters, and the preparations and delivery of 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
China has made tremendous developments in all sectors, including sports. China has the capacity and strong will to promote sports for the public good. It is believed that sports should be encouraged for International understanding and harmony. Sportsmen are goodwill Ambassadors globally.
However, some of the Western Countries are posed to boycott the Beijing Winter Olympics. It reminds us of the cold-war era. In the past, two prominent Olympics boycotts—of the 1936 Berlin Summer Games and the 1980 Moscow Summer Games were counterproductive. It is desired that the Western World should learn from past experience and should not politicize sports.
As a matter of fact, few nations are fabricating false narratives to bargain with China over political issues. They might use boycott as a bargaining chip while negotiating with China on political fronts. However, China warned that boycott would be an unspecified “robust Chinese response.”
It is desired that sports should be used to promote peace, harmony, and goodwill. Sports should not be used as a tool for political coercion. We must learn from past mistakes and should avoid repeating them again. Wish a successful Beijing Winter Olympic 2022!
Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan. (E-mail: email@example.com).