Bach: Winter sports 'fundamentally' changed after Beijing 2022
The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics has changed winter sports "fundamentally," International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach said on Sunday, hours before the closing ceremony of the Games.
It would leave the world with a legacy of a new global winter sports, Bach told China Media Group (CMG).
"Winter sports will fundamentally change after this Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, with engagement of more than 300 million of Chinese people in winter sports," he said.
"This is an amazing figure," he added.
According to statistics by China's National Bureau of Statistics, over 346 million Chinese people have participated in winter sports activities since Beijing's successful bid for the Games in 2015, showing that China has fulfilled its commitment.
'Olympics beyond political disputes'
Noting that the Games took place when the world saw "high political tensions," Bach said that the success of the Games proved that Olympics transcends political disputes.
He told CMG what the Beijing 2022 had impressed him most was the moments when Ukrainian and Russian athletes embracing each other, when Chinese athletes offering pin signs to their American counterparts to show their hospitality, and when athletes clapping for Chinese volunteers of the Games.
"They have demonstrated the Olympic Spirit," he said. "They have been ambassadors for friendship, understanding and peace."
CMG coverage 'unprecedented success'
The IOC chief also hailed CMG's coverage of the Games through all its platforms, describing it as an "unprecedented success."
CMG's Beijing Winter Olympics-related coverage had achieved a total of over 48.4 billion views, according to available data as of February 17, three days before the Game's close, a number higher than the total figures from Tokyo 2020 (hosted in 2021 due to the pandemic), which stood at 47.9 billion.
The IOC also appreciated the role CMG has played in promoting bigger understanding of the Olympics among the Chinese people, Bach said.
"CMG really managed to make the Chinese people more enthusiastic about the Games," he said.
The IOC on Saturday awarded the Olympic Cup to the Chinese people in recognition of their support for the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games.