The 2022 Winter Olympics are just two months away and the Beijing Organizing Committee, as well as the Beijing and Zhangjiakou municipal governments, say preparation work has entered a critical period.
They say they have listed nearly 3,000 specific preparation tasks for next year's games. Each comes with clear responsibilities, time-frames and targets, and so far their work is going smoothly according to plan.
Among all the work, safety and sustainability are two of the most important target areas. In terms of safety, the Beijing Organizing Committee has devised a comprehensive coronavirus control plan, after thorough discussion with the International Olympic Committee.
"On October 25, Beijing 2022 released the first version of the Coronavirus Control Handbook together with the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee. It highlighted measures such as simplifying events, vaccination, closed loop management, and the integration of virus prevention and virus control," Yang Cheng, executive director general of the Beijing 2022 Main Operation Center, said during a press conference on Friday.
Aside from COVID-19 control measures, the committee has issued guidelines to support medical care, designating 41 health facilities to treat injured and sick athletes. It has established an international ski rescue team and arranged a fleet of helicopters for emergency rescue.
The committee has also been working on lowering carbon emissions and using resources more sustainably. The use of artificial snow has been questioned by some on environmental grounds, but officials insist the snow will be made in an eco-friendly and cost-effective way.
"We first considered the use of collected and stored natural precipitation to make snow. Precipitation in Yanqing is abundant, especially this year. In addition to natural precipitation, the water needed for snow making is provided by reservoirs in the region. According to statistics, the water needed during the Winter Olympics only accounts for 1.6 percent of the current water consumption in Yanqing," Yu Bo, chief of Yanqing District under Beijing Municipality.
The organizing committee said they will continue to use test events and training weeks to test all elements of the preparation work, and they hope they can deliver green, safe and cost-effective Olympics on time.