In the winter of 2013-2014, Beijing received but a dusting of snow. Should that affect its chances of hosting the Winter Olympics in 2022? No way!
At least that's Beijing's approach to the problem as it celebrated World Snow Day on Monday. It was sunny in Beijing, in case no one noticed, and to date, Beijing has received little more than a dusting as of January 20.
Beijing's overall lack of winter moisture – any long-term resident will tell you about the dryness that causes chapped lips and cracked skin – is one of the reasons that the city is sharing the bid with nearby Zhangjiakou, in Hebei province. Beijing will host ice events, with those requiring snow taking place in Hebei.
But even then, the "snow" areas only receive an average of 21 centimeters per year, according to USA Today. In contrast, Japan's northern island of Hokkaido, home to some of Asia's most popular ski areas, gets about 15 meters of snow per year. Even if you don't know much about the metric system, that's quite a big difference.
The Winter Olympics "will inspire over 300 million Chinese to participate in winter sports if we win, which will contribute greatly to the development of the International Olympic cause," President Xi Jinping said earlier this month when discussing the bid. We're not inclined to disagree with President Xi, but the 2008 Olympic Games – a much larger event in terms of number of sports, participating athletes, and viewers – has had a minimal impact on public participation. The Water Cube, one of the Beijing Olympics' most iconic venues, is no longer a swimming pool. Instead, it has been converted into an indoor water park, but would be re-converted to host curling for the Winter Olympics.
We're just hoping that with all this refurbishment and re-use of earlier Olympic venues, the Chaoyang Park volleyball cheerleaders (pictured above) will return to cheer on bobsledders and lugers, snow or no snow.
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