The most important Russian to China right now is not Vladimir Putin, but it’s a man who knows him very well: Alexander Zhukov. That’s because he has just been appointed head of the evaluation commission for the 2022 Winter Games. In other words, he is leading the team that will select the host city.
Coming into the 2014 Paralympic Games, China had amassed an impressive 326 gold, 259 silver, and 198 bronze medals 1984-2012, but all 783 of them had come in the Summer Games. The best result at a Winter Games had been a fifth place finish by Peng Yuanyuan in the women’s 5km cross-country classic style standing in Vancouver four years ago.
Here, belatedly, is one of my appearances on BBC World during the Sochi Olympics, talking to presenter Sarah Stone live via Skype. The first part is a little outdated as it talks about China’s medals and prospects (at that time), but the section from 1:38 on Beijing’s bid for the 2022 Olympic Games is still relevant.
Here are a few things we’ve been reading on China’s Olympic progress:
The BBC’s Martin Patience makes the good point that Zhangjiakou doesn’t have a hill large enough to host the downhill were China to win the 2022 Olympics. Fake snow? Check. Clear the skies? No problem. Bigger hill? Hmmm….
With several high prominent western leaders boycotting the Sochi Olympics, it was of even more importance to Russia and the IOC that Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the opening ceremony. In an official press release about the first ever IOC President’s dinner, Xi was mentioned in the same breath as Russian President Vladimir Putin, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Karolos Papoulias, President of Greece (home of the Olympics). All other attendees were listed further down the release, showing the importance of Xi’s presence.
As expected, Sunday February 9 provided little in the way of Chinese cheer: in cross-country, Xu Wenlong finished 59th (out of 68) in the men’s skiathlon,
while biathletes Zhang Yan, Tang Jialin, Song Chaoqing and Song Na finished 49th, 55th, 63rd and 83rd (out of 84) respectively. Song Na missed a team-high four targets in total, and, at 18, clearly hasn’t realized that if you’re going to have rock star hairstyle, you’d better be ready to play in the big leagues.
China has long been known as a Summer Olympic powerhouse (3rd, 2nd, 1st, 2nd in last four Games), with an almost impenetrable grip on sports such as diving and table tennis, but in recent years, it has been at the Winter Olympic Games where China has made the most improvements.
China finished in 16th place in the medal table in Nagano in 1998, then posted 13th and 14th place finishes in Salt Lake City and Turin respectively, but leapt up to 7th in Vancouver four years ago and, in the process, became a genuine force to be reckoned with at the Winter Olympics. Here are the most likely contenders to win medals for the motherland in Sochi: Continue reading Winter Olympics preview: China’s medal hopes [UPDATED]
According to the above report from Xinhua – is there a better source? – “political advisors in Shanghai have suggested the city should bid to host the 2028 Summer Olympics”.
It is, quite simply, another classic clip from Chinese state-run TV, which checks all the boxes: Continue reading Shanghai to explore 2028 Olympic bid
With Olympic visas already in force, it’s clear we’re in the final run-up to the Sochi Olympics. But as one cycle nears completion, another one is just starting. The quest to host the 2022 Winter Olympics has begun with six bids from Europe and Asia – including a Chinese bid from Beijing & Zhangjiakou – competing in a fascinating battle between traditional and developing winter sports markets.