December 10, 2023

IOC President witnesses legacy of Beijing 2022, excitement for upcoming events and strong dedication from TOP Partners in China

International Olympic Committee

09 May 2023 – IOC President Thomas Bach has been to China for the first time since the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, which were organised successfully and safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. His visit (Friday 5 May until Tuesday 9 May) took him to Beijing, Qufu City, Hangzhou and Shanghai. During his entire tour he was accompanied by the IOC Members in China, Yu ZaiqingLi Lingwei and Zhang Hong.

In Beijing, the IOC President was welcomed by Chinese Olympic Committee (COC) President Gao Zhidan. The IOC President congratulated the COC President again for the great success of the Chinese athletes at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. They also exchanged information about the preparations for the Olympic Games Paris 2024, which are extremely well underway. In this context, the unifying power of the Olympic Games and the COC’s commitment to support the respective efforts by the IOC were reaffirmed. Please see the full story here.

IOC President Bach met with Chinese Premier Li Qiang in Beijing. They discussed the great success and legacy of Beijing 2022. President Bach thanked the Chinese government for its support to hold the Games amidst the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both leaders highlighted the mission of the Olympic Movement to unite athletes from all National Olympic Committees in peaceful competition without any discrimination. Please see the full story here.

During his visit, the IOC President announced that the IOC will contribute its share of the surplus of USD 10.4 million from the organisational budget of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 to support the legacy of these Games. The IOC’s share will be given to the COC and is intended to support the development of sport in China, in particular the continued engagement of 346 million Chinese people in winter sports, with a special focus on young people. Please see the full story here.

The IOC President was also welcomed by Yin Li, Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party of the Beijing Municipal Committee, to talk about the legacy of the Olympic Games Beijing 2008 and the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.

While in Beijing, President Bach watched the newly released Official Film of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. The film, which was produced by Zhang Yimou and directed by Lu Chuan, premiered at the opening ceremony of the 13th Beijing International Film Festival. It will be released in Chinese cinemas on 19 May. “This film wakes up the emotions about these truly exceptional Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. It shines a spotlight on the athletes, the volunteers and the people who made these Games happen. Congratulations to the production team,” said the IOC President.

Thomas Bach also visited the China Media Group (CMG) headquarters. CMG is a Media Rights-Holder for the Olympic Games. At CMG, he was welcomed by Shen Haixiong, President and Editor-in-Chief. The IOC President expressed his high appreciation for the great coverage of the Olympic Movement through the CMG Olympic Channel. In this respect, the exchange of content with the Olympic Channel was agreed. Both leaders also discussed the development potential and risks of e-sports and e-games.

In Beijing, President Bach also met WADA Vice-President Yang Yang and Li Quanhai, the President of World Sailing.

In a meeting with Jeffrey Lu, CEO of Worldwide Olympic Partner Mengniu, and the executive leadership of the Chinese dairy company, the upcoming Olympic Games Paris 2024 were discussed. The Mengniu CEO updated the IOC President on their plans. During the meeting, the IOC President also invited Mr Lu to visit Lausanne. Please see the full story here.

On Sunday, the IOC President took the high-speed train to Qufu, the hometown of Confucius, where he toured the Confucius Temple and visited the Confucius Cemetery and the Confucius Museum. The great philosopher Confucius had also emphasised the importance of physical fitness and healthy living. During his visit, Thomas Bach learnt about a Confucius quote: “The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential: these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.”

A tour of the venues for the Asian Games in September this year, including the Main Operations Centre, marked the start of Monday for the IOC President in Hangzhou. “Hangzhou has world-class facilities and is operationally ready. The athletes and the spectators can look forward to exciting Asian Games Hangzhou 2023. They will be brilliant,” the IOC President said when he spoke to the media.

Thomas Bach visited the impressive headquarters of Worldwide Olympic Partner Alibaba, where he was welcomed by the Chairman and CEO of the Alibaba Group, Daniel Zhang. He presented the newest Alibaba technologies to the IOC President and gave an outlook on new projects.

Afterwards, with their teams they discussed Alibaba’s Worldwide Olympic Partnership and the topic of digitalisation and sport. “I want thank Alibaba very much for their great commitment to the Olympic Movement and their great contribution to the success of the recent editions of the Olympic Games. Our partnership was always intended to be a transformative one. It is about transforming the Olympic Games, and with this the Olympic Movement. If we want to get better, we have to change and digitalise. We also have to answer the question of how Artificial Intelligence is going to change the Olympic Games. Our excitement and our passion for this topic are as great as yours,” the IOC President said.

As the official “Cloud Services” and “E-Commerce Platform Services” Partner through to the Olympic Games 2028, Alibaba is committed to helping the IOC transform how fans engage with the Games year-round and to upgrading the world’s largest sports event’s cloud-computing technology and spectator experience for the digital era.

Later that night, Thomas Bach witnessed the first final of the Chinese Basketball League. The home team, the Zhejiang Golden Bulls, lost the game 99:107 to the Liaoning Flying Leopards in front of their home crowd in a packed arena, which will also serve as a venue for the Asian Games. Afterwards he received a phone call from legendary basketball player Yao Ming, who is now the President of the Chinese Basketball Federation.

The final day of his China visit took the IOC President to Shanghai. The city wants to host a stop of the newly created Olympic Qualifier Series, which will premiere next year ahead of the Olympic Games Paris 2024. Thomas Bach visited the Huangpu Riverside with the Dock 1 Skatepark, where he witnessed some exciting urban sports action, and joined children and young athletes for some BMX, skateboarding and roller sports fun. The Huangpu Riverside is the venue for the Olympic Qualifier Series which will include four sports – BMX freestyle, breaking, skateboarding and sport climbing. The series of festival-style events will bring together the best athletes from each of the four sports in one urban park, as they compete to qualify for the Olympic Games Paris 2024. Hosted in compact city centre venues over four days, between March and June 2024, the festivals will offer a new Olympic experience to fans from around the world, blending sport with music, art and culture.

In a meeting with Gong Zheng, the Mayor of Shanghai, the IOC President thanked him for his city’s interest in hosting the Olympic Qualifier Series. He confirmed that the city will be awarded one of the stops of the series, subject to the approval of the IOC Executive Board.

In all the provinces the IOC President visited, he was welcomed by the highest political authorities, and also met a number of other personalities from sport, culture and business.

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