The Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics kicks off Friday. And the Games are a chance for China to help spark enthusiasm for winter sports, as it prepares for its turn in the Olympic spotlight.
CGTN’s Frances Kuo has more.
Nearly a dozen new winter sports parks in Beijing are setting a new foundation for China.
“My kid says it is very exciting and loves to play this. He’s so excited that he is almost restless,” said one man.
The man and his son were among the crowds at Yuyuantan Park, one of the recently built parks in the capital that cover a total of nearly one million square meters.
Among the features is an elementary ski trail where you can try your skills under the guidance of professional coaches.
The park also includes an ice rink stretching 30,000 square meters where you can try figure skating and ice hockey.
This is all part of a push by Chinese President Xi Jinping to promote winter sports in the run-up to the 2022 Beijing Olympics.
Xi says public participation and the competition in China are relatively low, so it’s rolling out a national plan to encourage 300 million people to participate in winter sports in the next four years.
That’s the hope at ski resorts like one in Jilin Province.
The Chinese government wants to build the nation’s first world-class ski resort complex at one city there.
At the recent World Snow Day in China, young skiers delivered the Olympic spirit while dashing down the tracks.
“The promotion of World Snow Day, coupled with the development of China’s economy and approaching Olympic Winter Games has added to the cultural atmosphere for the public participation of skiing,” said Duan Shijie, President of the Chinese Ski Association.
In 2014, the capital debuted an annual open competition for ice and snow sports, drawing thousands of people to participate in sports like speed skating and alpine skiing.
“Skiing is a mixture of speed and passion. It’s so exciting!” said one boy.
It’s an enthusiasm for winter sports that China hopes will be fueled for 2022 and beyond.