The World Winter Sports Expo (WWSE) in Beijing recently concluded, highlighting a distinct emphasis on the sustainability and growth of winter sports in China, especially following the remarkable impact of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. The three-day event resonated with discussions, insights, and forward-looking strategies around the winter sports landscape.
Undoubtedly, the Beijing Winter Olympics of 2022 played a monumental role in boosting the momentum for China’s winter sports industry. From state-of-the-art venues and nurturing budding talents to fostering a vibrant cultural landscape around winter sports, the Games left an indelible mark. Given these advancements, the exponential growth trajectory of the industry is evident.
Zhang Li, the Executive Vice President of the Asia Digital Group which orchestrated the expo, presented some astounding figures. By 2025, China’s winter sports sector is projected to hit the 1 trillion yuan mark (equivalent to about $140 billion). “Considering the current rate of growth, as evidenced by the report pegging the industry at 890 billion yuan by 2023, reaching the trillion-yuan milestone seems imminent,” Zhang shared during the WWSE at Shougang Park – an iconic venue from the 2022 Olympics.
Zhao Yinggang, the Deputy Director of the sustainability development committee of the Beijing Winter Olympics, delved into the infrastructure developments. He highlighted the impressive numbers around the ice and snow sports venues in China. “With a tally of 2,261 venues, including 1,450 ice rinks and 881 ski resorts, China’s progress over the years is unmatched, boasting both quantity and unmatched quality in the realm of winter sports facilities,” stated Zhao.
The International Olympic Committee President, Thomas Bach, through a video address, emphasized the legacy of Beijing 2022. He remarked on the WWSE’s role in perpetuating this legacy further.
Zhao also touched upon the ripple effect of hosting prestigious sporting events. Apart from catering to enthusiasts and the general public, these events play a pivotal role in acquainting the younger generation with world-class ice and snow facilities. He pointed out that numerous high-caliber events are on the horizon for Beijing. The upcoming winter season is set to witness international competitions like the ISU Grand Prix of figure skating, the ISU World Cup short track speed skating series, and the FIS Big Air competitions.
But beyond the competitions and accolades, the larger narrative revolves around the Olympics’ influence on socio-economic dynamics. “The Olympics is not confined to just being a sporting event. Its influence extends to energizing our economy,” Zhao mentioned.
Echoing similar sentiments, Yang Yang, who holds the distinction of being China’s maiden Olympic gold medalist and currently serves as the Vice President of the World Anti-Doping Agency, shared her excitement. She has observed a notable uptick in the participation of the youth in winter sports post the 2022 Olympics. “The Winter Olympics, more than just a sporting event, has captured the nation’s imagination, introducing many to the allure of ice and snow sports. With this foundation, I firmly believe the potential for growth post-Games is astronomical,” Yang concluded.