Photo taken on May 10, 2019, shows the countdown board reading 1000-day to the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, in Beijing Olympic Park, Beijing, capital of China. 1000-day countdown celebrations of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games were held here on Friday. (Xinhua/Chen Yichen)
Over 10 years since the 2008 Olympic Games, Beijing's iconic Olympic Park was under the spotlight again Friday evening as the '1000-Day-to-Go' countdown ceremony got under way to mark the milestone of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games.
In addition to the set-up of the official 1000-day countdown timer, the Beijing 2022 Olympic Organizing Committee also announced several important updates, including the launch of a new nationwide Winter Olympic documentary channel developed in partnership with Beijing TV, as well as Beijing 2022's highly-anticipated Olympic Volunteer Program.
A total of 11 guests came together to push the button starting the countdown at 8:00pm Beijing time, including International Olympic Committee Vice President Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr. and Yu Zaiqing, Beijing 2022 President Cai Qi, Mayor of Beijing Chen Jining, Hebei province governor Xu Qin, Director of China's General Administration of Sport Gou Zhongwen, President of China Disabled Persons' Federation Zhang Haidi and several well-known celebrities including actor Jackie Chan and world record-breaking Olympic short track skating champion, Wu Dajing.
The 1000 square meters LED countdown timer was installed between the fourth and seventh floors of the Olympic Park's Linglong Tower from now until 2022. An important legacy venue from the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympic Games, the tower's three-sided glass and steel design has since ensured its status as an instantly recognizable local landmark. Situated close to the Olympic Cauldron at the northwest side of the Bird's Nest, the 128-meter tower is one of the Olympic Park's tallest structures, allowing it to be seen from nearby buildings, stadiums and major surrounding roads.
Mayor of Beijing Chen Jining said the preparations of Beijing 2022 proceed smoothly on all fronts. "The construction of venues and infrastructure is accelerated, the organization of the competition events and the services for the Games are promoted solidly, the marketing program is keeping a sound momentum and the winter sports are becoming popular."
IOC vice president Yu Zaiqing congratulated the organisers of Beijing 2022.
"Beijing is a city with a rich history and a city where history is made. Ten years ago, the Olympic Games Beijing 2008 made history as the first Olympic Games in China. Therefore, it is only fitting that with the Olympic Winter Games 2022, Beijing is making history once again as the first city in the world to host both the Summer and Winter editions of the Olympic Games," he said.
"With the eyes of the world now focusing on China as the next hosts of the Olympic Winter Games, 2019 is a decisive year for the preparations of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. We are very pleased to see Beijing 2022 has made strong progress in these preparations, especially the role they are playing in China's ambitious plans to engage 300 million people with winter sports," he said.
Beijing 2022's Olympic and Paralympic Games Volunteer Service Action Plan was also launched at the ceremony. Games volunteers from around the world will have a unique opportunity to provide support in a number of areas, including spectator guidance, competition operation and media operation. They will be deployed in various locations throughout Beijing, Zhangjiakou and Yanqing, including competition venues and the Athletes' Villages.
The Action Plan covers five key areas - the Pre-Games Volunteers Project, Test Events Volunteers Project, Games-time Volunteers Project, City Volunteers Project and Volunteer Service Legacy Conversion Project.
Announcing the Volunteer Service Action Plan, Zhang Jiandong said he looked forward to Beijing 2022 uniting the wisdom of volunteers from all over the world so they can work together in helping to deliver an 'excellent, extraordinary and outstanding' Winter Games in 2022.
Beijing 2022's Global Volunteer Recruitment will officially launch in December 2019. More information will be announced over the coming months.