Review lauds 'amount and quality of work' that's already been completed
The International Olympic Committee likes what it sees in China's preparations for the 2022 Winter Games.
Following joint project review meetings with local organizers, the IOC and the International Paralympic Committee report that, with less than three months until the first test event, preparatory work in Beijing and co-host city Zhangjiakou in Hebei province is solidly on track.
All major infrastructures are already in place and primary programs and tasks have either been completed or are scheduled to be finished ahead of schedule.
"We are very impressed with the progress achieved. I am not going say it surprises us, but we are very impressed with the amount and quality of work that has been done "said Juan Antonio Samaranch, an IOC vice-president, as the three-day review wrapped up at the Beijing 2022 organizing committee's headquarters on Wednesday.
"It gives us a lot of confidence in the ability of Beijing 2022 and your partners to deliver on a very ambitious vision."
Attended by 30 local organizers and about 20 executives from the IOC and IPC, the review started with a Monday visit to the mountain venue in northwest Beijing's Yanqing district that will host the first test event.
That was followed by 10 panel sessions over the next two days to discuss topics ranging from sports programs to venue readiness and the Olympic villages.
It was the ninth review initiated by the IOC to help Beijing organizers identify challenges and address issues to ensure a successful Games.
Beijing's preparatory work is now moving from the general planning state to the operational phase, with a Feb 15-16 alpine skiing race on the International Ski Federation's World Cup schedule marking the critical shift.
The race has attracted 111 skiers from 19 countries to compete in men's downhill and super-G, testing the Olympic course and services at the new National Alpine Skiing Center in Yanqing, one of three 2022 venue zones, 90 kilometers northwest of the capital.
Another Olympic facility in Yanqing, the National Sliding Center, has completed installation of its 1.9-km track for bobsled, luge and skeleton events and will be ready for test runs in early 2020.
After touring the alpine center, Christophe Dubi, the IOC's executive director for the Olympic Games, expressed glowing admiration.
"The engineering that shapes the venue into a new winter resort in Beijing is extremely impressive. This is a venue that will be absolutely spectacular," he said.
"We are also very reassured that along with what will be an extraordinary downhill course for the world's top male and female skiers, there will be a number of slopes for athletes of all skill levels in the future."
Zhang Jiandong, executive vice-president of the Beijing 2022 organizing committee, has urged his colleagues to refine operational details while pushing venue readiness through field experiences, including organizing a string of 15 Olympic and five Paralympic test events starting with the Yanqing World Cup.
"Our preparation in the next stage will stick to real Games demand and the feedback will help us improve wherever necessary," said Zhang, who is also vice-mayor of Beijing.
Zhang said the nearly completed high-speed rail link between three Games clusters-Beijing downtown, Yanqing and Zhangjiakou-along with the launch of Beijing 2022's sustainability management system and the launch of a recruiting drive for Games volunteers represent other milestones in the preparation.
On Wednesday, the Beijing 2022 organizing committee received an international certificate from Geneva-based SGS, a multinational verification, testing and certification company, for its sustainability management system, which was finished in September.
The system certification, a guidance for organizational work at all levels toward sustainability, validates Beijing's efforts to deliver the 2022 Winter Olympics with a lasting legacy for the sports sector, environment protection, green energy and sustainable planning for future events.
"As an example of how your success has surpassed Winter Games organizations in the past, this is another demonstration of delivery legacy even before the Games," said Samaranch.