Beijing Olympic venues still going for gold
Updated: 2012-09-03 17:45
Beijing's main Olympic venues are still operating more than four years after the Games closed, the People's Daily has reported.
The report followed a series of pictures released in March depicting the desolation of the capital's Olympic venues by Reuters news agency journalist David Gray.
On Aug 14, the paper reported Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park was a hub of activity. A dragon boat competition featuring more than 100 participants was taking place in one area. On the other side of the track, a water-skiing club held their own activities.
Gao Jiayi, head of marketing for the park, blamed the initial report and images on the time of year. "The pictures on the Internet were taken in winter when it was too freezing to carry out outdoor programs. Besides, some facilities were in maintenance at that time.”
The park has hosted 11 major sports events like Sino-US Water Ski Star Competition, as well as large-scale activities since 2009.
Also, some temporary Olympic venues like the Laoshan Bicycle Moto Cross Venue were designed to be demolished after the Olympics. Currently, the gymnasium is locked in disuse, weeds grow on the track.
Of all the Olympic stadiums, Beijing National Stadium, or the Bird's Nest, the Water Cube and most college gymnasiums enjoy the highest utility ratio.
By the end of July, the Bird's Nest received more than 20 million visitors, having hosted more than 60 large-scale activities," says Xiang Jun, deputy general manager of National Stadium Co, Ltd. The yearly maintenance cost for the Bird's Nest is nearly 80 million yuan ($12.6 million). Nowadays, the income exceeds the expenditure, according to the report.
Compared with independently-operated stadiums, there are also six Olympic gymnasiums belonging to the General Administration of Sport. "The National Shooting Range Hall and Laoshan Velodrome will be used as training bases for Chinese national teams. The State is in charge of their maintenance," says Liu Fumin, chief of the business department of the General Administration of Sport.
Olympic stadiums are still boosting economic growth. According to statistics from Chaoyang district government in Beijing, the Olympic functional area has contributed 2.24 billion yuan ($353 million）to local revenue in the first half of 2011, increasing by 19.5 percent from the same period of 2010.
"Positioned to be public, cultural and sports facilities, Olympic stadiums cannot be evaluated simply as enterprise assets, but also from the perspective of the social effect," says Lin Xianpeng, deputy director of the School of Management, Beijing Sports University.