- 31 Oct 2019
- Beijing 2008 Legacy
Beijing 2008: Showcasing China
Under the vision of “Green Olympics, High-tech Olympics and People’s Olympics”, the Olympic Games Beijing 2008 aimed to showcase China’s position and potential in the modern world. Benefits in the fields of sport, education and culture, the environment and urban development are still alive in the Chinese capital.
After the Olympic Games, various sports disciplines enjoyed a boom, and the sports industry experienced rapid growth across China. The best example is tennis, which experienced substantial growth in interest and participation following the success of Chinese female stars, leading to the implementation of programmes such as “Fly Solo”, a driver for increasing athletes’ autonomy. As a result, many Chinese athletes are now developing their own businesses and brands while attracting huge social media followings, such as Olympian Li Ning (gymnastics), who is now the owner of a successful sports clothing line.
Education and culture
Thanks to the Olympic Games, approximately 400 million young people benefitted from Olympic education programmes. Olympic values and Olympic-related themes were the focus of these programmes, which also taught new skills such as foreign languages. Citizens had the opportunity to experience a four-year cultural festival in the follow-up to the Olympic Games, while witnessing numerous restorations of cultural heritage sites. Since its foundation in 2009, the Beijing Olympic Development Authority (BODA) has led and supported cultural and educational events in the city, such as the Beijing Olympic City Sports & Culture Festival, an annual festival devoted to urban sport and culture.
Beijing was keen to address the issue of pollution, and used the momentum created by the Olympic Games to put in place major environmental improvements in the country. China’s new environmental policy was focussed on diversifying the country’s energy structure and developing the green energy sector. Prior to the Olympic Games, 15,000 coal-burning boilers in the city and surrounding areas were replaced with cleaner energy sources, benefitting residents. The natural gas supply was almost quadrupled from 2000 to 2006. From 2005 to 2006, Beijing saw an increase of 17.6 per cent in the number of solar heaters.
Significant investments were granted to build new elements of urban infrastructure such as highways, subway lines and an airport terminal, and construction work was accelerated by the hosting of the Olympic Games. In terms of purpose-built Olympic venues, the National Stadium, known as the Bird’s Nest, and the Aquatics Centre, or “Water Cube”, became iconic buildings of the new Beijing, though both still partially rely on state financial support. The Olympic basketball stadium is privately run and has managed to secure sponsorship and resident teams, hosting over 100 sporting and non-sporting events per year. The venues at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Park will be used again during the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.