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Designs of Olympic medals unveiled to mark 100-day countdown

Beijing ready for safe, wonderful Winter Games despite pandemic

2021/10/27 13:29:52   source:Global Times

Beijing 2022 unveils the design of the medals for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games on October 26, 2021, exactly 100 days before the Games begins. Photo: Courtesy of Beijing Organising Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games

Beijing 2022 unveils the design of the medals for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games on October 26, 2021, exactly 100 days before the Games begins. Photo: Courtesy of Beijing Organising Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games

Despite of the sporadic domestic outbreaks of COVID-19 infections and external boycott noises, the Beijing Organising Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games on Tuesday unveiled the designs of the 2022 Winter Games medals on schedule - a sign that China's capital city is ready to host the first Winter Olympics in Chinese history with confidence and capability.

As part of the ceremonial events to mark the 100-day countdown to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, the release of medal designs came after the debut of the first edition of the anti-epidemic guidebook for the Beijing 2022 on Monday. Called Tongxin (meaning "Together as one" in Chinese), the medals for the Beijing Winter Olympics blend traditional Chinese culture and the Olympic spirit.

Gao Tian, deputy director of the culture and ceremonies department of the Beijing 2022 organizing committee, told media on Tuesday that the 100-day countdown marks the final stretch of preparations for the 2022 Games, and the unveiling of the medal designs is a sign to the world that "we are ready to welcome athletes from all over the world to the Beijing Winter Games."

Visitors take pictures in front of the countdown board in downtown Beijing''s Wangfujing Pedestrian Street on October 26, 2021, which marks the 100-day countdown to the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Photo: Li Hao/Global Times

Visitors take pictures in front of the countdown board in downtown Beijing's Wangfujing Pedestrian Street on October 26, 2021, which marks the 100-day countdown to the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Photo: Li Hao/Global Times

To offer the world a simple, safe and wonderful Olympic Games is China's promise, and we can and will deliver on our promises, Zhao Lijian, spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said at Tuesday's routine press briefing.

"We welcome athletes from all over the world in Beijing next February to share the passion and joy of the Beijing Winter Olympics," Zhao said.

From April 24, 2020, when the designs of the Beijing Winter Olympic medals were solicited, to July 13, 2021, when Beijing 2022 organizing committee confirmed the final plans, the viruses, including the "political virus" of a boycott call, has never obstructed Beijing's preparations.

Despite the challenges, experts from home and abroad have expressed confidence that Beijing will host a safe and impressive Winter Olympics, as China not only takes the lead in epidemic prevention and control with its zero-virus strategy, but also has diplomatic wisdom to resolve differences and provocations.

With all these great efforts and outstanding preparation we can already see now, we can really say "Together for a shared future," and this shared future will be a bright one for the winter sports worldwide, Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said in a congratulation video broadcasted by the China Central Television on Tuesday.

2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games: A timeline of China''s preparations Graphic: Xu Zihe/GT

2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games: A timeline of China's preparations Graphic: Xu Zihe/GT

'Together as one'

Named Tongxin, meaning "Together as one," the medals feature five concentric rings embodying the traditional Chinese philosophy of harmony between heaven, earth and human beings. The rings also symbolize the Olympic rings, carved in the inner circle, and the Olympic spirit uniting the world through sport.

The surrounding grooved rings are engraved with the Games' official title, "XXIV Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022," along with cloud and snowflake patterns, with the outer ring free of decoration.

The reverse side has the Beijing 2022 emblem at its heart, with the official name of the Games carved in Chinese characters below. The surrounding rings mimic star trails, with 24 dots representing the 24th edition of the Olympic Winter Games. The general picture, which resembles a celestial map, carries the wish that athletes achieve excellence and shine like stars at the Games.

The 2022 Paralympic medals share similar concentric-ring designs as the Olympic medals, but with the Paralympic logo in the center and "Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games" engraved below. The words gold, silver or bronze are also inscribed in braille for the respective medals.

The emblem of the Paralympic Winter Games and 13 dots, referring to the 13th edition of the Paralympics, feature on the reverse side.

The Olympic and Paralympic medals representing solidarity and inclusiveness were released amid calls for a boycott and groundless accusations made by a small group of Western politicians who are trying to make personal gains by politicizing the Beijing Olympics. This was exactly what had happened for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

I have zero doubt in Beijing's ability to put on the best Winter Olympics ever, as China successfully hosted the Summer Olympics in 2008 despite the global economic crisis, Idzham Haqim, Supreme Council member of Malaysian Youth Council, told the Global Times at a Tuesday virtual meeting hosted by the International Department of Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee.

I believe China is in its prime, and I think the 2022 Winter Olympics will be like nothing people have ever seen before, Haqim said.

Vicky Mahesari, general secretary of All-India Students' Federation (AISF) and member of the National Council, told the Global Times on Tuesday that China has set a good example in epidemic control and is able to defeat those politically intended boycotts.

Although we are faced with a pandemic, the host of the sports gala can prove that human beings are able to cope with the pandemic… and hosting the Games in China can also serve as an inspiration to the world, Mahesari said.

More wisdom and maturity

Chinese President Xi Jinping told French President Emmanuel Macron that the two countries should support each other to successfully hold the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics when the two leaders held a phone conversation on Tuesday. Macron said France supports China in successfully hosting the Beijing Winter Olympic Games.

Experts reached by the Global Times pointed out that although there are a small number of Western politicians aggressively playing up a boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, China is displaying greater maturity and wisdom. So far, no foreign government has called for a boycott.

"China always upholds the depoliticized characteristics of the Olympics and spreads the concept of promoting mutual understanding and world peace through sports to the world, so that Western politicians' insidious slander of China in this area will fail," Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

China will continue to strengthen coordination and cooperation with sports-related organizations and institutions around the world, Li said.

"Sports events are inseparable from diplomatic coordination, because it involves etiquette and the consular services of various countries, and the diplomatic system will definitely participate in it," Li said. "This is an opportunity to showcase China's friendly diplomatic philosophy. It is also a good opportunity for people from various countries to learn more about China and promote mutual benefit."

Although the European Parliament passed in July a proposal calling for a boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, some experts believe it has no effect on European governments, and it is almost impossible for countries to boycott the Beijing Winter Olympics.

Those who voted to boycott the Beijing Winter Olympics in the European Parliament are all anti-China and leftist parties, which is predictable. At the same time, nongovernmental forces from the business and sports circles have maintained a friendly attitude toward the Beijing Winter Olympics and have resisted politicizing sports, Cui Hongjian, director of the Department of European Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Many European countries and nongovernmental organizations have expressed their interests in further strengthening cooperation with China in winter sports events.

At the World Winter Sports Expo held in Beijing in September, the chairman Neil Narriman of the Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry said that with the success of the Winter Olympics in the future, the prospects for cooperation between the federation and China will be very broad. Many Italian participants also expressed the hope that the ice and snow industry will be used as a bridge to expand the new space of China-Italy friendly cooperation.

As China is a developing country with a population of 1.4 billion, its promotion and development of winter sports is of great significance to world sports,, Ren Hai, a professor at the Olympic Research Center of Beijing Sports University, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

With the severe pandemic and the slowing economy in the world, China assumes the responsibility of a major country to host such an inspiring sports meeting and provide an apolitical platform for global exchanges, which reflects China's determination to build a community with a shared future for mankind, said Ren.

"As a country with the idea of peaceful development, we need to share this concept with other countries," Ren noted.

Also on Tuesday, the Beijing health authority reported four new COVID-19 cases in the latest outbreak in the capital city, bringing the total number of infections to 25. Organizers of the Beijing Marathon also announced on Sunday the event would be postponed due to the latest epidemic surge in the city.

According to the first edition of the official guidebook concerning epidemic prevention at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics released on Monday, measures like closed-loop management, health monitoring and vaccination policy demonstrated how China is going to protect the safety of its residents and foreign guests. 

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