The Beijing Winter Olympics is a warning to everyone. We all have a problem

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Seven years ago, in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpure, it was decided that the 2022 Winter Olympics would take place in Beijing. The Chinese capital has thus become the only city in the world to host both the Summer (2008) and Winter (2022) Olympic Games.

From the very beginning, however, the choice of Beijing has been publicly questioned. Critics pointed in the first place to the lack of natural snow and the environmental problems associated with the production of artificial snow.

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In addition, the Chinese have very limited experience in organizing winter sports competitions, and significant air pollution in the Beijing metropolitan area has also not given athletes optimism. In addition, with the arrival of winter, the smog situation worsens significantly.

Well, and last but not least, human rights violations were mentioned. After all, countries such as the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada and others have finally opted for a diplomatic boycott of the Chinese Olympic Games.

Photo gallery

The ski slope at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Source: reuters


The problem was that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) did not have much choice in 2015. Apart from Beijing, only the Kazakh city of Almaty has applied for the Games, and given the mass protests that took place in Kazakhstan only a few weeks ago, the choice of Beijing can probably be considered correct.

In any case, the last Winter Olympics in 2018 were held in Asia (in Pyongyang, South Korea), so the others were expected to move back to Europe. Originally, several cities from the “old continent” were registered in the list of interested parties, but they gradually withdrew.

The reason is often cited by the extraordinarily high price of the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014, which climbed to a staggering $ 50 billion. This is what could have discouraged potential applicants.

“I am not dishonest or negative about the Chinese right now, but if European cities remained in the game, Beijing probably would not have won. But you know what? The Chinese didn’t check out, they kept fighting and, as you know, the winners will always find a way to win. “ said for The New York Times marketing consultant Terrence Burns, who worked on Almaty’s offer.

“It simply came to our notice then. We know that China will keep its promises, ” IOC President Thomas Bach said again.

Photo gallery

IOC President Thomas Bach at the closing ceremony of the Tokyo Games in 2021.

Source: reuters


However, the lack of natural precipitation is still the biggest enemy of the organizers. According to the Bloomberg agency, just a few weeks before the start of the Games themselves, a large number of huge snowworks were built on the slopes in Zhangjiakou and Yanqing, where they slowly turned the gray background into bright white.

However, if you take a closer look at the photos from the individual ski resorts where the athletes will race, you will find that there is no snow off the slopes. The Chinese government decided to do something so that it would not look strange on television, and therefore ordered snow cannons near the village of Chongli to blow artificial snow day and night on the forests and fields that will be captured on television cameras. At least in this way they will try to convince the viewer that the snow is natural.

Photo gallery

If you look at the picture better, you will find that there is no snow off the slopes.

Source: reuters

The problem is not the temperature. Even in Beijing these days, it regularly falls below the minimum of 10 degrees Celsius and in the adjacent mountain resorts is even lower. The problem is the lack of precipitation. According to The New York Times only about 5 inches of snow falls in Zhangjiakou each year. And that’s simply not enough for skiing. But it’s not just Beijing. This problem has a much broader scope.

“The risk is clear: man-made warming threatens the future of winter sports and, in addition, reduces the number of venues that could host the Winter Olympics due to natural conditions,” writes a report published by a group of researchers from the Sport Ecology Group at Loughborough University in England.

Either way, history will be rewritten in Beijing this year. These will be the first Winter Olympics to rely solely on artificial snow. The Olympics and Paralympics themselves will last only a month, but the impact of the massive artificial snow on the local environment will be revealed only in the next few years.

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