International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach hailed on Thursday the preparation work of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics as a “miracle.”
“It’s almost a miracle,” said Bach during an exclusive interview with Xinhua via a video link.
“Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the preparations for the games have progressed so smoothly.”
With around one year to go before the 2022 Games open, all competition venues scattered across the three competition zones in Beijing and co-host city Zhangjiakou have been completed.
“The venues are really excellent. They are pieces of art of Chinese architecture…and they are excellent for creating the best conditions for the best winter athletes of the world,” said Bach.
Beijing is set to become the first city in the world to host both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games.
The IOC chief acknowledged that Beijing 2022 will leave a lasting legacy for China as well as for the world, just like its 2008 counterpart.
“With regard to sustainability, they are giving already a very good example,” said Bach.
“On one hand, they are making use of many venues which have been built for the Olympic Games in 2008. On the other hand, the other venues will benefit the Chinese population, which is embracing the spirit of winter sports.
“President Xi had the vision to engage 300 million Chinese people in the winter sports… this is a huge legacy for the Chinese people. And the legacy is as huge for the global winter sports.
“It’s really a landmark event for the global development of winter sport.”
The test events planned for the first quarter of 2021 have been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and an adapted testing program will be introduced.
Bach reiterated the need to drop the original testing event scheme.
“We appreciate and welcome this adapted testing program, which has been agreed with the IOC and with IPC. We appreciate it because we can see that it’s very important to get the number of infections with coronavirus down now and as soon as possible,” he said.
“We are supporting all of the measures which are getting the numbers down right now and as soon as possible, because these can make us even more confident about the success.”