Beijing Winter Olympics bound to be a success: Laax Open event director

2022-01-17 15:30:35Xinhua Editor : Zhao Li ECNS App Download
Special: 2022 Winter Olympics

Donald Nader, the event director of the Laax Open snowboarding competition, said he is optimistic about the success of the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics.

"I don't think that I would have many worries," Nader told Xinhua at the Swiss mountain resort of Laax where the tournament took place from January 11-15 this year.

"The Olympic Games are basically the same thing we're doing here, just much bigger. But the motivation is the same. Our motto here is to think positive, test negative. So I don't have worries."

"Worry is not a good thing to think about too much. People are very careful here, and I'm sure people are very careful in China as well."

Nader said that Beijing 2022 was an opportunity to boost solidarity, unity and resilience of humankind in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

"Solidarity is a very important word because COVID is not only about protecting yourself, but also about protecting other people as well. It is an aim or a goal for society. And for us, it is a good opportunity to show again that you don't only care about yourself, but you also care about your community," he said.

"I think the athletes will feel comfortable because they will feel safe. That is like the best condition to give them a good start for competing in a contest. So I think it's important that the Chinese government is taking strict measures."

Nader also stressed that he was against the politicization of sporting events in general and the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in particular.

"The sportsman, the snowboarder, male or female, the freeskier, they are so focused on their sports and they are looking forward to having perfectly organized Games in China. China as a country, as a society is capable and willing, and it's one of the best in terms of organization."

"From that point of view, they are safe, they are looking forward to, they will perform their sports in the best way possible."


The FIS Snowboard World Cup in Laax takes place as part of the European package at the beginning of the year.

Laax is part of the ski resort Flims-Laax-Falera in the Swiss canton of Graubunden. It counts 224 kilometers of slopes, five snow parks and 28 ski lifts, 70 percent of those are situated at an altitude of between 2,000 and 3,000 meters which makes Flims-Laax-Falera a reliable winter sports venue.

"For me, the beauty about winter sports, whether it's snowboard or skiing, is this being in the mountains, the fresh air, the calmness, the snow, the nature. That's what it's all about," Nader said.

"We do not have an ocean in Switzerland, it is our way of surfing on snow and that's what I enjoy about it."


Ahead of the upcoming Winter Olympics which will take place between Feb. 4 and Feb. 20, China has been making great efforts to boost the country's winter sports industry.

It issued an Ice and Snow Sports Development Program (2016-2025) highlighting priority sectors for investment, such as winter sports infrastructure, snow equipment manufacturing, tourism and winter sports education.

The government also set targets of engaging 300 million Chinese in winter sports, growing the total value of the industry to 157 billion U.S. dollars and building 5,000 elementary and middle schools focusing on winter sports.

Nader said he was hoping to attract Chinese riders to glide down the slopes around Laax in the future.

"A total of 300 million Chinese people who want to get into snowboarding and skiing, that's an amazing number for us, our country has 8.5 million people only. So that's an incredible number to imagine for us," he explained.

"Our attitude is that we would like to get the best from the world and bring it to Laax. And then also the other way around, take the best from Laax and show it to the world. So it's like a vice versa kind of interaction."

Nader also expressed the hope to travel to China one day in the near future.

"I would love to go to China one day as soon as possible. The most attractive thing is the food. I love Chinese food, I could live on Chinese food," he said.

"And then the amazing culture which has been going on for so many years is something I really find very impressive. So those are the two things, the ancient culture, the beauty of the clothing and all that." 

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