Thu, Jan 22, 2015 - Page 18 News List

China has mountain to climb with 2022 Winter Olympics bid


Beijing would become the first city to host both the summer and winter Games if it won the bid, with the Chinese capital itself hosting the ice sports.

A total of 11 venues from Beijing’s spectacular 2008 Olympics would be put to use, including the Bird’s Nest Stadium for the opening and closing ceremonies, and the Water Cube for curling.

Authorities say using existing venues would help the candidate city keep to a slender budget of US$3.9 billion, a fraction of the US$51 billion Russia spent on last year’s Sochi Winter Games.

However, much of the infrastructure improvements are not included in the total costs, including a high-speed rail line — to be built in any case — which will cut travel times between Beijing and Zhangjiakou, about 200km away, from more than three hours to a mere 50 minutes.

There were “pros and cons” over holding the Games, Ries said, who has been involved in skiing in China since 1985.

However, the mountain resort manager raised concerns over a tendency for Olympic hosts to build new facilities where none previously existed and there was no demand, “especially some sports which are commercially a nonsense like bob-sledding, skeleton, ski-jumping and so on.”

“For some disciplines, you can’t move mountains,” Ries added.

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