Bach with Chinese Olympic leaders (IOC/Ian Jones)
(ATR) Thomas Bach says Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic organizers are on track with preparations.
On Sunday, Bach inaugurated the Olympic rings on top of the 250-meter Beijing Olympic Tower to mark the 2008 Games and the winter edition to come. In 2022, Beijing will become the first city to host both the summer and winter Olympics.
“The Olympic rings send a strong message about China's commitment to sport and the Olympic values,” said Bach.
Speaking about Beijing 2022’s progress, he said: “It is remarkable how quickly Beijing has embraced the spirit of Olympic Agenda 2020. “Through a strong focus on sustainability, legacy and feasibility, the organising committee is today already laying the foundation for the success of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022,” he added in an IOC release.
"Beijing 2022 will leave great legacy. These will benefit Chinese for generations," said Bach according to the Chinese news agency Xinhua.
"The IOC is giving all its advice and experts in order to organize sustainable Olympic Winter Games 2022," he said. "We will make Olympic Winter Games 2022 a great success for Beijing, for Hebei province, and for the entire world.”
Joining him at the ceremony were Guo Jinlong, president of the Beijing 2022 committee, Chinese Olympic Committee chief Liu Peng, mayor Wang Anshun, IOC vice president Yu Zaiqing and IOC member Li Lingwei.
The rings will rotate at the top of the Olympic Tower and be illuminated at night, visible on the city skyline to millions of residents in Beijing and to airline passengers as they come in to land at the city’s airport.
The IOC said the inauguration of the Olympic rings allowed Beijing to benefit from one of its reforms, which allow extended access to the Olympic brand for non-commercial use.
Alexander Zhukov will lead the IOC coordination commission’s first full visit to the Chinese capital from June 27 to July 1 to check on Beijing 2022’s progress since the city was awarded the Games last August.
With the Rio Olympics looming, Bach told Chinese media that he was “very confident” Brazil would deliver a great Games. "You will see the Brazilians with their passion, their hospitality and with the preparations they made. They will welcome the world in a unique way and the athletes will have a great stage for great Olympic performances in Rio," he was quoted by Xinhua.
Reported by Mark Bisson
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