International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has applauded the Beijing 2022 Winter Games for the "impressive" legacy that it left behind as China marked the one-year anniversary of the opening ceremony of the global sporting event.
The first city ever to host both the Summer and Winter Games, Beijing lived up to its promise of delivering the world a streamlined, safe and splendid Olympics last year, while managing to spur a remarkable winter sports boom with over 346 million people across China engaging in various snow activities over the past few years.
"China can look back with great pride into the past and with even greater confidence in the future," said Bach in a statement on Saturday. "All of you were an essential part in writing this great chapter in Olympic history."
According to statistics from the General Administration of Sport of China, by the beginning of 2021, the world's second-largest economic power had built 654 standard ice rinks, up 317 percent compared with 2015, and 803 indoor and outdoor ski resorts, up 41 percent from the 2015 figure.
"The impressive legacy of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 has set the path for the future," added Bach. "The Olympic community in China demonstrated our new Olympic motto at its best: Faster, Higher, Stronger - Together."
The sentiment was echoed by Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi. "Beyond staging spectacular Games, Beijing 2022 was laser focused on delivering lasting social and economic benefits for its residents," said Dubi, who led the planning, preparation and delivery of the Beijing Olympics.
"One year on, the most outstanding feature of these Games is the way they touched the lives of millions of local people by making them discover the world of winter sports."
A report from the China Tourism Academy claimed that the country's winter leisure tourism sector is expected to receive more than 520 million visitors during the 2024-2025 snow season and the revenue could reach more than 720 billion yuan ($107 billion).
Dubi also hailed the successful practices in sustainability by the Beijing Games.
The 2022 Winter Olympics were the first Games in history to exclusively power all venues with clean energy from renewable sources and use carbon dioxide in ice-making procedures.
"The organizers made sure the Games minimized their impact on the environment by prioritizing the use of existing venues, using renewable energy to power all the venues, and implementing innovative technology, such the CO2 refrigeration systems that will help make winter sports more sustainable," said Dubi.
Earlier this week, Beijing 2022 organizers released the post-Games sustainability and legacy report, elaborating on their commitment to protecting ecosystems, addressing climate change, promoting regional development and further popularizing winter sports.
"We have accumulated a wealth of experience in sustainability, contributing to the Olympics and Paralympics, which is highly recognized by the international community," Fu Xiaohui, secretary general of the Beijing Olympic City Development Association, said at a press briefing.
"As a remarkable Olympic year went by, we are celebrating the anniversary to not just reminisce about the exciting moments of the Games," he added. "But also usher in the post-Olympic era to make better use of all the legacies of Beijing 2022."