Experience will help China host successful Winter Olympics: IOC chief

Lillehammer, Norway, Feb 13 (IANS) International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has said that China’s experience in organizing the 2008 Olympics will make its 2022 Winter Olympics “a great success.”

“China has great experience in organizing Olympic Games. With the brilliant 2008 Games in Beijing, I think this experience will help China a lot and we’ll see a great success,” Bach told reporters here on Friday ahead of the opening ceremony of the second Winter Youth Olympic Games.

The IOC chief said many million people in China are participating in winter sports and more people will join in the years leading up to the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, which will be co-hosted by Beijing and Zhangjiakou.

“Of course the winter games will inspire many Chinese to practice winter sports. Right now, just after the election, there are already more interests by the Chinese public in the winter sports,” Bach said.

China has launched an ambitious program to encourage 300 million people in the country to participate in winter sports while preparing for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Bach said the IOC and China have been in the first stage of cooperation as the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (Beijing 2022) was launched in December.

“I will announce in the next couple of weeks the composition of our coordination commission and then the work will start,” he said, adding that both sides are making efforts to make the 2022 Winter Games embrace the reformative Olympic Agenda 2020.

Bach also said the recent heavy snow on China’s existing ski slopes was a good signal that the snow was coming at the right time.

“I was very happy to see…the photos of the huge ski slopes covered with a lot of snow, with 40 centimeters of snow already in November, and this might have made some people in other continents a little bit jealous,” he said.

Bach is in Lillehammer for the second Winter Youth Winter Olympics, in which 1100 young athletes from the age of 14 to 18 from about 70 Olympic Committees will compete in 70 medal events from February 12-21.

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