Iconic venues that were used to host the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games will be put to good use 14 years later during the Winter Olympic Games in 2022.
Stadia that were built for the 2008 Games remain in regular use, with the Water Cube Aquatics Centre being converted into a public water park and the Bird’s Nest Stadium regularly hosting a variety of major sporting events, including the 2015 IAAF World Athletics Championships.
Beijing will now make use of existing venues from the 2008 Games when it hosts the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, with the Water Cube set to stage the curling events, the National Indoor Stadium to be used for ice hockey, and the Opening and Closing ceremonies scheduled to once again take place at the Bird’s Nest.
In addition, Beijing 2022 will benefit from several major infrastructure projects that were completed ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games, including the construction of a new terminal and runway at the city’s international airport, which increased passenger capacity from 20-25 million in 2002 to 65-75 million in 2008.
The Games also led to a complete expansion of the Beijing main road network and a massive extension and renovation of the city’s metro system, with the addition of several new subway lines and a high-speed rail link to Tianjin.
In total, public transport capacity was increased by 4.5 million ahead of the 2008 Games, leading to a reduction in road congestion, providing one of many environmental legacies from the Games.
Authorities also invested US$21bn in air quality improvements, with 60,000 coal-burning boilers being upgraded to reduce emissions and more than 4,000 public buses being converted to run on natural gas.
Wang Hui, Beijing 2022’s spokeswoman, said:
Sustainability is the core value that the International Olympic Committee tries to embody. Reusing the venues built for 2008 is in line with the IOC’s philosophy and will significantly cut the cost of hosting the 2022 Olympic Winter Games.
The 2008 Games left a profound legacy, such as accessible venues and an urban transportation system that we are still using. All these facilities and assets have been operating effectively since then, and will provide Beijing with a big edge for 2022.
Photo of Bird’s Nest Stadium courtesy: Arup. Credit: Min Yu Sun