Goodbye Tokyo, Welcome to Beijing!
Ambassador Dai Qingli Contributes an Article on Beijing Winter Olympics
11 August 2021
Every Olympics is faced with unique challenges, and Tokyo has certainly had more than its fair share. The raging pandemic has not only delayed the Games for a year and created enormous uncertainties for organizers and athletes alike. Despite its unavoidable struggles and hiccups, the Tokyo Games has been most memorable for bringing people around the world together. It signifies humanity’s courage and triumph in the face of a pandemic unseen in a century.
The historic move by the IOC to add “together” into the Olympic motto, “Faster, Higher, Stronger” just before the Tokyo Games cannot be more timely. We were impressed, uplifted and touched not only by exhilarating sportsmanship, but also by displays of team spirit and common humanity.
Team Bahamas has brought glory and pride to this country and to the Bahamian people. No gold medal has ever come easily. Steven Gardiner and Shaunae Miller-Uibo had to fight off stiff competition from the best athletes in the world and overcome injuries and the discomfort of training under a pandemic. This is a victory to be relished not just for them personally, but also for all Bahamian athletes, coaches, sports and medical officials.
Chinese athletes also did well in the Tokyo Games, finishing second in the medal count. What particularly delighted sports fans across China was the fact that Chinese sprinter Su Bingtian made history by finishing the men’s 100 meter semifinals in 9.83 seconds. This made him the fastest sprinter in the whole yellow-skinned race. And Su and his teammates won fourth place at the men’s 4x100 meter relay, also a historic breakthrough. These achievements, though short of winning gold medals, were equally precious.
As the curtain falls for Tokyo summer Olympics, Beijing is poised to light up the Olympic flame again in six months’ time. The success of Tokyo will no doubt provide much needed experience for Beijing in hosting the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games during the pandemic, as the world would probably still be fighting the virus in January 2022.
An important objective for China’s hosting of the winter games is to give a boost to the quality of China’s ice and snow sports, which was overshadowed by summer sports and lag far behind traditional heavyweights, and to encourage broad participation by the general public, particularly young people, in winter sports and recreation.
The health and safety of all athletes and participants would be the top priority. A special working group on COVID-19 control has been set up by the Beijing Organizing Committee in collaboration with the IOC and the World Health Organization (WHO). Beijing and the IOC will jointly issue the Epidemic Prevention Manual for the Winter Olympics.
The winter games will be green, lean, clean, and it will be open and inclusive. All 12 competition venues have been completed, and 11 of them developed Carbon Neutralization Plan and will totally use green electricity. Facilities that increase accessibility have also been built for athletes with disabilities. Latest technology will be employed to ensure smooth functioning of the games and enhance audience experience.
The progress Beijing has made in preparing for the Winter Games was recognized by the IOC and national leaders and leaders of national Olympic committees from many countries have extended their support to China in hosting the games.
Olympics should be non-political events. On occasions like the Olympics, it should be sports that take center stage, not politics. Beijing will step up to the plate. The Winter Olympics in 2022 will be a safe and splendid event, and will be another remarkable demonstration of sportsmanship and the Olympic spirit. This is the most important thing that sports fans around the world will be looking forward to.