Citing the Games' rich legacy and effective COVID-19 countermeasures, the International Olympic Committee has summed up the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics as a history-making success in its initial review of the event.
Three months after its closing ceremony, the Beijing 2022 Winter Games remained a hot topic during an IOC session last week with Chinese organizers' professional, safe and smooth delivery of the winter sports gala as well as its sustainable benefits for the hosting areas highlighted in an interim report of the Games presented by the IOC's coordination commission.
Juan Antonio Samaranch, the chairman of the IOC Beijing 2022 Coordination Commission, praised the Chinese host's "excellent delivery" of the Beijing 2022 event in his remarks while presenting the report to the 139th IOC Session on Friday in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Samaranch reiterated his belief that the Beijing 2022 Winter Games had featured "probably the best-ever Winter Games program "and will go down in history as a resounding success for many reasons. A final report is due to be delivered at the next IOC session in Mumbai next year.
With women accounting for 45 percent of the 2,897 athletes, Beijing 2022 was the most gender-balanced Olympic Winter Games in history. It featured the highest ever number of women's events at 46 out of a total of 109, the report said.
In addition, Samaranch highlighted the effectiveness of the COVID-19 control protocols adopted during the Games as a major achievement to remember during a challenging time when the pandemic is still wreaking havoc on international sporting events.
Thanks to the strict operation of a closed-loop system, where athletes could only stay and travel between official hotels and venues using designated transport services separated from the local communities, imported COVID-19 cases from inbound visitors were kept under control throughout the Games, with no infections leaking out of the loop.
"The Games have happened flawlessly and without the need of much coordination," said Samaranch. "They have safely delivered the Games in the most difficult environment that could be there. Not only that, but they have been responsive to all our requests. They had enormous patience and they were very humble with all our recommendations."
Sustainability and legacy were other key contributors to the success of the Beijing 2022 Games, the report said. All Beijing 2022 venues were powered by renewable energy for the first time in the history of the Olympic Games.
Reusing venues built for the 2008 Summer Games, such as the National Aquatics Center for curling and Wukesong Arena for ice hockey, to host winter sports events at Beijing 2022 set examples for a sustainable future of the Olympic Movement.
Yang Qiyong, general manager of the aquatics center, known as the "Ice Cube" during Beijing 2022, described the project to turn the swimming pool into an ice venue for curling competitions as a game changer.
"Now with the center capable of switching between swimming and ice sports, we could significantly diversify our business operation for all seasons," Yang said.
Beijing 2022's key legacies have also included promoting winter sports participation among 346 million Chinese in the lead-up to the Games, turning the country into a burgeoning market for winter sports and related activities.
Media coverage of the Games also set records, according to the report, with more hours of content aired and streamed than any previous editions of the Winter Games.