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Beijing abuzz with Olympic spirit

2022-01-18 10:16:00China Daily


Elementary school students in Qingdao, Shandong province, get into the Olympic spirit by enjoying some ice hockey training at their local rink. XINHUA

Less than a month to go before Beijing 2022 begins, local citizens are embracing the Olympic spirit as they eagerly await the start of the sporting extravaganza.

Special edition newspapers commemorating Beijing's successful bids for the 2008 and 2022 Games enjoy pride of place in the home of Gong Hubiao, an avid Olympic memorabilia collector. His room is filled with souvenirs marking memorable moments for China at the Olympics.

Gong clearly remembers the day Beijing won the Olympic bid on July 13, 2001, when he rode his bicycle to Tian'anmen Square to join in a grand celebration.

Last October, he took a photograph in front of the 100-day countdown clock in downtown Beijing's famous Wangfujing shopping street, holding self-designed bottle gourds painted with the Beijing 2022 emblem and mascots.

"Time flies, but the Olympic spirit remains in our hearts," said 61-year-old Gong.

Excitement is also building among local schoolchildren.

At Dianchang Road Primary School in western Beijing, students can be seen zooming around on roller skis, or practicing biathlon shooting.

A full-size curling rink is located at the back of the school. It is operational all year round, even in the summer when the temperature hits 35 Celsius.

Approximately 300 students at the school get to experience sports such as ice hockey, cross-country skiing, speed skating and curling.

"I have learned a lot about the Olympics at school. I hope the athletes can achieve their dreams at Beijing 2022," said 10-year-old Zhang Jinhao.

At the Dongsi Olympic community in central Beijing, a recent "mini marathon" drew wide participation from local residents.

"Over the past decade, we have organized diversified sports activities to commemorate Beijing 2008 and embrace Beijing 2022," said the community's deputy director, Zhang Guozhong.

Sun Yuanyuan, a former professional speed skater, has been promoting winter sports in communities in western Beijing since the city's successful bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

"I hope to contribute to Beijing 2022 and encourage more people to enjoy the ice and snow," Sun said.

In a public painting competition for Beijing 2022, more than 7,500 art works were selected from over 40,000 submissions. They will be given to overseas friends as gifts during the Games.

Hao Xiakun, who works at a Beijing-based airline, is proud that this hometown Zhangjiakou will co-host the Games. "When my hometown becomes a co-host city of Beijing 2022, I want to personally feel the Olympics. Now, I am really delighted to have the opportunity to serve for Beijing 2022," he said.

"The Olympics and Paralympics are just like old friends that I haven't met for 14 years. We hope to deepen our mutual understanding from our first encounter at Beijing 2008.Now, we come together again for a shared future in Beijing 2022."

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