POSTED: Friday June 5th 2015

Post-Games Legacies of Beijing 2008 Venues Set Sustainable Standard for Beijing 2022 (1/2)

After 2008, four former Beijing Olympic venues experience strong post-games usage; pool of relevant expertise; and a transition to winter-themed events

Families gather at the 2015 Bird's Nest Ice and Snow Festival at the National Stadium (Bird's Nest) ©Beijing 2022
Families gather at the 2015 Bird's Nest Ice and Snow Festival at the National Stadium (Bird's Nest) ©Beijing 2022

In addition to its conversion as a Water Park, the Water Cube also hosted key events at last year's APEC meetings ©Beijing 2022
In addition to its conversion as a Water Park, the Water Cube also hosted key events at last year's APEC meetings ©Beijing 2022

Beijing, June 5 - Hosting a Winter Olympics that are athlete-centred,  sustainable and economical has been the foundation of the Beijing 2022 bid, and the post-Games legacies of four iconic venues from Beijing 2008 - National Stadium (also known as Bird's Nest), National Aquatics Center (also known as Water Cube), Wukesong MasterCard Center and the China National Convention Center (CNCC) - are all prime examples of how these concepts have already been in motion even before the inception of the Beijing 2022 bid. Over the past seven years, these four venues have grown and developed into the "go-to" multi-purpose arenas for Beijing's biggest events, fulfilling the principles outlined in the IOC's Agenda 2020 and setting a new standard of sustainability for the future of the Olympic movement.

The common thread between the post-2008 legacies for these four venues is thus: First, in line with both the Olympic Agenda 2020 and Beijing 2022's key concept of sustainability, these venues have found consistent use due to a number of strategic and long-term partnerships. Second, hosting a wide and diverse array of global events both athletic and non-athletic have bestowed upon these venues a vast pool of relevant expertise and experienced management that could be easily put to good use for Beijing 2022. Third, these venues have responded Beijing and China's growing interest in winter sports by hosting an increasing number of winter-sports related events.

National Stadium (Bird's Nest)

Strategic, long-term partnerships have been a "cornerstone behind the post-2008 strategy" for the Beijing National Stadium, (also referred to as the Bird's Nest), says Assistant General Manager Li Zhiqun. In the seven years following the Beijing 2008 Olympics, the Bird's Nest has received substantial support from the following partners: Peugeot, Walt Disney, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Beijing Automotive, Samsung, Pathfinder, China Mobile, Red Bull, Sinopec, China UnionPay, Bin Fort, in addition to multiple other globally recognized brands. Hanergy became the first strategic partner for the Bird's Nest in 2010, providing full, comprehensive support for the past five years. "Each brand equity has utilized a combination of its own characteristics, integration and 'perfect nest' to leave its own personal imprint within the Bird's Nest DNA," said Mr. Li Zhiqun.

In recent years, winter events have become commonplace on the Bird's Nest annual schedule of events: In 2014, global snowboarding sensation Shaun White signed his second five-year contract with the city of Beijing to host a leg of his Air & Style Snowboard Contest at the Bird's Nest. White said that "I think it will be exciting for me that the Air + Style will continue to be held in Beijing and it will keep bringing me here every single year." In addition, the venue has also hosted the Bird's Nest Ice & Snow Festival for the past six years (with the general schedules of the festivals' next two years already planned out). Finally, the Bird's Nest hosted the 2014 FIS Freestyle Skiing World Cup, described by FIS as "one of the biggest FIS freestyle events ever" with 40,000 screaming fans lined up to watch local hero Xin Zhang emerge victoriously in the ladies' events.
Were Beijing to be picked as the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Host City this July, the Bird's Nest would return to host both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

National Aquatics Center (Water Cube)

General Manager and venue spokesperson Yang Qiyong of Beijing's National Aquatics Center, better known as the "Water Cube" - the site where US swimmer Michael Phelps won 8 Olympic gold medals, shattering one world record after another in his wake - became a shining example of post-Games venue use by re-opening in 2010 as one of Asia's largest indoor water parks. By 2012, the venue was seeing an annual growth rate of 25% in attendance, with 968,000 coming from all over to enjoy the converted Olympic venue. Just last week, the Water Cube opened an indoor ice sculpture show in cooperation with Disney which features both a 3,000 square meter indoor ice sculpture gallery and a 2,000 square meter "World of Frozen" ice cave as an homage to the beloved film Frozen.

In November 2014, when Beijing hosted the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings, the venue was completely transformed into a traditional Chinese garden for a grand banquet hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping. "We now have a working staff that consists of high-level managers with experience hosting such global events as Beijing 2008 and APEC 2014", Mr. Yang said. "Were Beijing 2022 to be chosen as host city, these professionals would have no trouble quickly converting our 'Water Cube' into the 'Ice Cube.'" Converting the Water Cube into Beijing 2022's host for all curling events, according to Mr. Yang, only requires minimal adjustment of the venue's internal environment, the building of an ice field as well as the transformation the resting and audience area, all which can be done in a both sustainable and cost-effective way. Converting the "water cube" into the "ice cube", Mr. Yang said, is "perfectly aligned with Beijing 2022's concept of hosting an economical games."

2008 helped transform Beijing into the global metropolis it is today and a crucial element is building a pool of management experience in hosting massive events both athletic and non-athletic. There are no better concrete symbols of this legacy - and the values of Agenda 2020 - than the city's iconic venues like the Bird's Nest, Water Cube, Wukesong MasterCard Center, and CNCC have blossomed from one-time Olympic hosts to integral Beijing landmarks, where one can see both Chinese rock star Wang Feng and NBA superstar LeBron James, from the Beijing Ducks to the Chinese Men's Aerial Freestyle Skiing Team, or perhaps just enjoy a Sunday afternoon with family and friends sliding down water slides and floating down the lazy river. With the rise of winter sports fever in China, hosting the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympics would undoubtedly cement these venues' futures as the hosts of tomorrow's biggest global winter sports events.

This is the first part of the two-fold series, presented by the Beijing 2022 Bid Committee with the objective to provide a detailed look on Post-Games legacies for Beijing 2008 venues and the way Beijing 2022 plans to take these legacies to a whole new level.
Stay tuned for Part 2, where we focus on the MasterCard Center (formerly Wukesong) and the China National Convention Center.

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