Olympics: Pulling the Camera Back

February 9, 2022

Watching several top skiers fall or otherwise have difficulties on artificial snow surfaces does make you wonder.

CBS News:

According to USA TODAY Sports, the venue is not actually a nuclear facility, but instead a “former industrial park where they used to mill steel.”

The New York Times gave more insight on the area, writing, “The venue was constructed at the site of a 100-year-old former steelworks of Shougang Group, which had another connection to the Olympic Games: It was shut down before the 2008 Summer Olympics, because it was a source of the air pollution that once choked the city.”

According to the Times, the area will eventually be turned into “a complex of office buildings, cafes and sports facilities.”

Many athletes do not seem to have a problem with it and some even like it. Switzerland’s Mathilde Gremaud said, “It’s really cool to have a venue that’s accessible. You can come in with your sneakers.”

“It’s definitely cool being in a stadium vibe. That’s not typically a thing,” the sole American in the women’s final Darian Stevens added.

The backdrop also makes for some pretty cool photos out of the event.

Washington Post:

In the mountains outside Beijing, thin white ribbons of snow slither through otherwise brown terrain. The snow, however, is all artificial. The 2022 Olympics are the very first without any natural snow, and climate journalists, activists and winter athletes have taken notice.

The lack of snow, after a long year of natural disasters around the globe, on face value, suggests that climate change threatens the future of the Winter Olympics, winter sports and people more broadly. Of course, this is true. The Winter Games may cease in our lifetimes because Beijing is not unique in its cold climate challenges; recent research demonstrates how most former Winter Games host cities will struggle to host again if action isn’t taken to stem rising temperatures.

But what this year’s Games reveal is how intransigent key institutions are about facing up to the reality of climate change. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has refused to acknowledge that its recent choices, including the selection of Beijing to host its winter events, are absurd. For nearly a century, in fact, leaders in cities chosen to host the Winter Games have found it difficult to provide sufficient snow for Alpine and Nordic events. Snow replacements, snow management and snow-making innovations have provided solutions. But these efforts have also helped mask the climate crisis unfolding while simultaneously incentivizing the IOC to choose impractical host locations, exacerbating damage to the clima

4 Responses to “Olympics: Pulling the Camera Back”

  1. “For the first time ever, the Winter Olympics will rely entirely on artificial snow. It’s a reality that could become more common as the planet warms — and it has environmental experts concerned. Nearly 50 million gallons of water are being piped in to serve the Beijing games, potentially setting reserves in this water-stressed region back by up to hundreds of years.”


    • Keith McClary Says:

      50 million gallons is 75 olympic pools.

    • J4Zonian Says:

      And as heat gets worse no doubt equestrian teams will have to rely on artificial horses.

      Also, it’s good to know it’s not a nuclear site; when first I saw it I got worried the hockey games were happening on heavy ice.

  2. Next time we want the winter games in Rio. Skating and sking on the Copa Cabana with girls in bikini’s watching and dancing the samba. I hate cold and snow and ice. I only love the sun at sunset on the beach.

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