Beijing’s high-tech Olympic venues add ‘wings’ to athletes
Halfway through the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, athletes from all over the world have gone on and on renewing their personal records, breaking and setting new Olympic records and world records in various venues in China. Behind such faithful practices of the Olympic motto of "Faster, Higher, Stronger - Together," Beijing's high-tech venues have played a crucial role in the athletes' pursuit of career ambitions.
In short track speed skating in the Capital Indoor Stadium, eight Olympic records have been set, including for the Women's 500 meters by Dutch skater Suzanne Schulting and one for the Men's 1,000 meters by South Korean legend Hwang Dae-heon. Schulting also set a world record in the Women's 1,000 meters quarter-final Stage 1.
Likewise, the National Speed Skating Oval, also known as the Ice Ribbon, witnessed the birth of even more Olympic and world records. Athletes from the Netherlands, Sweden, China, Japan and the Russian Olympic Committee set 12 Olympic records and one world record.
Gao Tingyu of China claimed the gold in the Men's 500 meters with a new Olympic record of 34.32 seconds, bagging the first ever gold in China's men's speed skating history, creating one of the most memorable moments.
Yang Shu'an, vice president of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games (BOCOG), hailed the 12,000-square-meter rink of Ice Ribbon as the "fastest ice" in the world for its contribution to the athletes' amazing performances.
In speed skating, in which athletes achieve the fastest speed without assistance, the less the difference in temperature and the evener and flatter the ice surface would get contributed to better performances, according to insiders.
To help athletes achieve their best performances in Beijing with another technological leap, the Ice Ribbon has, for the first time, advanced carbon dioxide trans-critical direct cooling ice-making technology.
In addition to the ice technology, the design of the arena enhanced the performance of the athletes. The ring-shaped auditorium completely wraps around the track to help keep athletes excited. At the same time, the hyperbolic roof creates a better sense of space and helps athletes focus more on the track.
"It's one of the best speed skating rinks in the world, and I can get a good result here to stand on the podium, I am very happy," said Japanese speed skater Miho Takagi, who won three medals at the Beijing Winter Games.
Xu Qiang, director of the Beijing Science and Technology Commission, said at a Wednesday press conference in Beijing that the Ice Ribbon has won praise from the International Olympic Committee as well as the International Skating Union.
According to Xu, more than 200 technologies have been tested and used for Beijing 2022 in over 60 disciplines, making the event safer from the pandemic, more environmental friendly and more spectacular.
Chinese observers said that the great performance of athletes has not only delivered Beijing's promise of making the Beijing 2022 a "spectacular" one, but also showcased the strength of China's innovation.
Apart from the "fastest ice," high-tech elements are everywhere in the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, ranging from the robotic chef in the Olympic village, the hydrogen fueled shuttles, the bullet train connecting Beijing and Zhangjiakou competition zones, to the referee system camera.
More than speed
Records aside, many of the venues in Beijing have been praised by visiting Olympians and officials.
Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, told the media that the Beijing venues are so outstanding that all athletes are content and some of them compared the venues to heaven.
Yuzuru Hanyu, world-renowned Japanese figure skater, spoke highly of the venues of the Beijing Winter Olympics, saying both "the stadium and the ice are brilliant" and "I like it here," according to the Xinhua News Agency.
American Samoa's skeleton athlete Nathan Crumpton said the Yanqing National Sliding Center is one of the most beautiful tracks he has seen in the world, wrapped around the mountains, with great facilities and easy access.
The hi-tech construction of venues for the Beijing Winter Olympics is an important part of the event, laying the foundation for its success, observers noted.