National Stadium hosts global freestyle aerial ski competition
Updated: 2014-12-10 19:02
By Sun Xiaochen(chinadaily.com.cn)
Beijing's National Stadium, which is a popular venue for music concerts, will also be showcasing daredevil skiing air stunts at the end of the year.
The Beijing leg of the 2014-2015 FIS Freestyle Ski Aerials World Cup will be held at the 2008 Beijing Olympics venue for the second time, from Dec 20 to 21, offering electrifying world-level performances while igniting the capital's passion for winter sports, organizers said on Wednesday.
"As Beijing and nearby city Zhangjiakou (in Hebei province) are bidding for the 2022 Winter Olympics, an international ski event comes at the right time and it will definitely attract more attention from the public for winter sports as well as promote Beijing to the world," Ren Hongguo, Party chief of the National Winter Sports Administration, said on Wednesday.
Li Nina, a retired female aerialist who won the world championships three times, echoed Ren.
"The Olympic bid has drawn public interest to winter sports in the city, so we should take the opportunity to bring in more events and further push the passion for winter sports in Beijing," said Li, who competed at four Winter Olympics from 2002 to 2014.
Beijing, in a joint bid with Zhangjiakou, in July made the candidate list for hosting the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, but has faced doubts on the lack of a winter sporting tradition.
But Chen Jie, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Sports, said the capital has a long history of skating in winter and it will help the public to appreciate winter sports by introducing more events like the aerial ski competition at the stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest.
"Hosting the event at a downtown stadium will help freestyle ski better appeal to the audience while drawing more people to come to enjoy the ski competition live," Chen said.
The two-day competition, which will see aerialists ski off high ramps to perform twists and flips in the air about 20 meters above the ground before landing on a slope, has attracted 50 top-level athletes from nine countries and regions to compete at the opening stop of this season' five-leg World Cup.
The competition was first held at the Bird's Nest last December, providing fresh experiences for skiing fans to enjoy such a traditional open-air event inside a major stadium.
The Chinese team, which is training at a ski camp in Northeast China's Heilongjiang province, will send 14 aerialists to compete at the event.