IOC President Thomas Bach spoke highly of the efforts made by the National Aquatics Center in creating a multipurpose Olympic venue and helping support a green Winter Games during a visit to the venue on Feb. 8.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has spoken highly of the efforts made by the National Aquatics Center, which has been transformed from the "Water Cube" into the "Ice Cube," in creating a multipurpose Olympic venue and helping support a green Winter Games.
The National Aquatics Center is a model for the sustainable management of Olympic venues and is bound to leave even more precious Olympic legacies after Beijing 2022, Bach said during a visit to the venue on Feb. 8 to watch the bronze medal match of the mixed doubles curling.
China's Fan Suyuan (L) and Ling Zhi compete during the curling mixed doubles round robin session of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games between China and Switzerland at the National Aquatics center in Beijing, China, Feb. 2, 2022. (Xinhua/Liu Xu)
As the parent company of the National Aquatics Center, Beijing State-owned Assets Management Co., Ltd. applied the concept of sustainable development in its renovation work on the venue, realizing "water-to-ice conversion" by installing a removable curling surface above the swimming pool.
During the 2022 Olympics, the "Ice Cube" hosted 147 matches between 30 teams and provided services for some 10,000 visits within the Olympic bubble. With its orderly organizing work, sound infrastructure, comprehensive pandemic countermeasures and thoughtful services, the venue has ensured the safe and smooth running of the Winter Games competitions.
Zhang Jie, head of the venue's operations team, noted that the National Aquatics Center will open to the public shortly after Beijing 2022, provided that pandemic control measures are fully in place. The move aims to allow more people to experience the Olympic atmosphere and ensure the venue's sustainable legacy.
In addition, based on the newly-built ice sports center, the National Aquatics Center will continue bringing ice sports closer to the public. On Feb. 18, Beijing State-owned Assets Management Co., Ltd., the World Curling Federation and the Chinese Curling Association signed an agreement to jointly promote curling in China and foster the utilization of Olympic legacies.
The post-Games utilization of the venue has long been discussed by its operators. Building on the existing multi-functional operating model, the National Aquatics Center will be able to transform easily between water and ice sports venues after Beijing 2022, hosting swimming and diving competitions, artistic performances, as well as ice sports activities.