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Tech Breakthroughs Help China Create Superior Olympic Venues

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Artificial snow is widely used at international skiing competitions, and the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games has designed nine different types of snow to meet the needs of various events. Icy snow, a form of skiing snow, reduces friction on the track surface, and plays an important role in improving athletes’ performances, protecting their bodies and prolonging their sports careers. However, back in 2016, there was no qualified icy snow track in China and many domestic experts had not even heard of the concept.

China started its snow and ice research later than other countries and had little experience holding international snow and ice events, not to mention possessing related, high-end technologies. With international blockades on technologies, China could not even meet the standard parameters for snow tracks. In 2017, a technology research team focused on snow protection for the Beijing Winter Olympic Games was formally established.

From 2019 to 2021, the research team initiated studies on making icy snow, which sounds as simple as combining ice and snow. But with no specific parameters for how thick the snow should be or how often water should be added, the team struggled to find its way. The testing area was also very cold, with temperatures as low as minus 20 degrees Celsius. Occasionally, team members had to work in frigid conditions for more than 10 hours at a time.

Their persistence and hard work eventually paid off. The team independently built professional monitoring equipment for the icy snow track, including an icy snow hardness tester and an icy snow particle size tester. They also reduced costs by providing a green and efficient model for ski track construction. The snowmaking, snow preservation, snow storage and other snow services all meet the needs of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games now.

In addition to the icy snow manufacturing technology, China also achieved technological breakthroughs in other areas for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. The bobsleigh competition is known as “F1 on ice” for its breathtaking speeds and excellent views, but equipment manufacturing has always been a foreign monopoly.

It was not until 2021 that Chinese researchers successfully developed a domestically-built bobsleigh, achieving a breakthrough by delivering two-man and four-man bobsleighs with aerospace technologies. The Water Cube, which used to be the main swimming pool for the 2008 Beijing Olympics has been transformed into the Ice Cube and will host curling events for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, Chinese researchers have joined forces to prepare venues, gear and athletes’ training facilities for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. In 2018, researchers and students from the wind tunnel lab joined the construction efforts of the Winter Olympic venues. The National Alpine Ski Center, one of Beijing 2022’s most technically challenging venues, was built more than 1,200 meters above sea level on Xiaohaituo Mountain in the Yanqing competition zone.

Chinese researchers from the wind tunnel lab studied the wind field data in the Yanqing competition zone and used tunnel tests to assist in the design of the Olympic venues. The team developed a system combining the terrain, awning and sunshade to reduce the impact of solar radiation. They analysed the sun’s height in spring, autumn and winter, and used computer models to simulate and determine the awning and sunshade coverage on the track.

The first bobsleigh developed in China was exhibited in Shougang Park, the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games headquarters. The Chinese team has been relying on imported sleighs for training and competitions. A research and innovation consortium of 12 industry units was established to make the Chinese bobsleigh from scratch.


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