CGTN Listens: From winter sports medals to winter sports industry
China is investing billions in new ski resorts, ice skating rinks and athletic programs ahead of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. The goal is to breed a new generation of athletes that can help the nation score big, both ahead of and during the games. In this episode of CGTN Listens, reporter Guan Yang hosts a panel discussion from China's northeastern Jilin Province.
The discussion focuses on how to get 300 million Chinese people involved in winter sports in time for the 2022 games, and why turning cold into gold might not be as easy as it sounds.
The panel includes:
1) Yang Andi – a member of the CPPCC who is also the director of the tourism administration of Jilin Province.
2) Zhao Haifeng – vice director of the development and reform commission of Jilin Province.
3) Li Jianrou – Olympic gold medalist in speed skating.
4) Gai Dongping – vice mayor of the city of Jilin.
5) Yuan Bing – deputy manager of Beidahu Ski Resort.
Also joining the discussion via WeChat from Qipanshan Ice and Snow World in the city of Shenyang:
1) Liang Wenhao – gold medalist in the world short track speed skating championships.
2) Tang Shijun – manager of Qipanshan culture industry group.
3) Yen Zhe – a winter sports enthusiast.
Seventeen years ago, China's first-ever hard fought gold medal in the Winter Olympics was grabbed by speed skater Yang Yang. Today, we are less than three years away from China hosting its own Winter Olympics. If you take a look around us, world-class winter sports facilities have sprung up like mushrooms after rain.
The discussions touch upon key topics in the development of winter sports and the business boom around it. Such as:
1) Inconvenient transportation and a lack of time are still the two major constraints that put people off when participating in winter sports activities.
2) In China's winter sports industry, we often see athletes who may not have won big in their respective sports go onto succeed as entrepreneurs in this business.
3) How to keep a cool head while this industry heats up and avoid short-term profits at the expense of long-term sustainability.
4) High up-front investment costs and the long payback period in winter sports facilities.
With hot money and hot ideas flowing into this industry, the 2022 Winter Olympics offers a golden opportunity to cultivate early adopters into long-term winter sports consumers. The country has made a commitment to bring 300 million people into the fold of winter sports in the bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics, but the task will take patience, hard work and require the whole society to collaborate.