(ATR) NBA basketball star Yao Ming was shown playing ice hockey with youngsters during a light-hearted video segment, but overall, Beijing 2022’s presentation to the IOC was serious, methodical and well-scripted, stressing enormous commercial opportunity.
Yao, along with Chinese athlete ambassadors and Winter Olympians Yang Yang and Li Nina focused on how a winning bid for Beijing will inspire a new generation of winter sports participants in the world’s most populous country.
Xi Jinping, president of China, supported the bid via video. (ATR)
More than 30 percent of the 55-minute presentation was delivered in Chinese. It included four videos and one question from Prince Albert II about sustainability of the bid,
The presentation was moderated by Chinese IOC member Yu Zaiqing and a taped video address from President Xi Jinping was played first.
“The Chinese government appreciates the Olympic values,” Xi said.
“We will honor all the commitments we have made and fully honor Olympic Agenda 2022,” he said.
Xi affirmed that the government has made the Games a “national priority.”
Before giving the floor to Beijing mayor and bid leader Wang Anshun, Yu addressed the IOC referring to the 2008 Summer Games, “You trusted us then and we delivered on every expectation, we hope that you will trust us again.”
Wang, speaking in Chinese, immediately tackled China’s pollution issues.
He advises that Beijing has a $130 billion “Action Plan” in place to reduce air quality and that more than one million high emissions vehicles have been removed from the city’s roads.
“All of our efforts are moving Beijing to a clean air future,” Wang said.
Yao Ming and other Chinese Olympians during the bid presentation. (ATR)
Wang promised that Winter Games in Beijing will be “safe and reliable.”
Next to present was China NOC president Liu Peng, who claimed that “winter sports fever is sweeping our nation.”
Liu addressed the major concern over China’s lack of natural snow in its two proposed mountain clusters – Yanqing and Zhangjiakou – situated north of Beijing.
Liu advised that there is plenty of “snowmaking capability to supplement natural snowfall” and that the use of water resources will have “minimal environmental impact.”
“All winter sports IFs have improved our plan,” Liu noted.
Beijing 2022’s presentation continued with a second video about the bid’s three zones, proposed high speed rail that will link them and scenes of cross country skiers racing near the Great Wall.
Vice Premier Liu Yandong, the highest-ranking government official among the Beijing team, was next to address the IOC.
Liu focused on the power of China’s economics: “Our economy is the second largest in the world … by 2020, China’s GDP will have doubled.”
The third video played upon China’s history of winter sport.
Beijing supporters staged an enthusiastic rally outside the convention center. (ATR)
“New generations of winter sports fans will create a new generation of Olympic heroes,” the narrator said. “Beijing 2022 will inspire people across China to engage in winter sports.”
The video concluded with a fun segment as 7-foot-5 Yao Ming was dressed as an ice hockey goaltender with young Chinese players shooting pucks at him.
Yao was then introduced as China’s tallest ambassador.
Speaking of his times as a star basketball player and three-time Olympian for China’s national team, Yao said his game, “It is not played on ice and snow, but in most of the world it is played in winter so you might consider it a winter sport.
“Everybody in China loves winter sports, even me,” said the Chinese basketball superstar.
Yang Yang and Li Nina then joined Yao at the podium, their short statures next to his massive presence. Yang joked, “Yes, I am standing.”
China’s two most recognized and successful Winter Olympians spoke of their dreams being fulfilled and wanting to see the same opportunity for future generations of Chinese athletes.
Yang Yang, one of three Chinese IOC members, said of a Beijing 2022 Games, “China is a sports loving nation and you can expect every seat to be filled with knowledgeable and excited fans.”
Vice Premier Liu once again took the stage as the final presenter in Beijing 2022’s presentation, speaking first in English and then in Chinese.
“It gives me great pleasure to share with you the ardent hope of the Chinese people for hosting the Olympic Winter Games,” Liu said.
Liu said a victory for Beijing would provide another “shining page in the history of the Olympic Movement.”
Concluding in Chinese, the vice premier said: “Today, winter sports have become increasingly popular among the Chinese people,” while advising that Games in Beijing will inspire 300 million citizens.
Written by Brian Pinelli in Kuala Lumpur
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