Luca Farrari, Italian Ambassador to China. (Photo by Huanqiu.com)
Following next year's Winter Olympics in Beijing, Milan and Cortina d 'Ampezzo will host the 25th Winter Olympics in 2026. This will be the third time Italy has hosted the Winter Games, and the second time since 1956 for Cortina d 'Ampezzo, a small city in northeastern Italy, to host the Winter Games.
Italian Ambassador to China Luca Ferrari said in a recent interview that, as the next host of the Winter Olympic Games, Italy will receive a lot of legacies, not only sporting glory. The Beijing Olympics will be a success, Ferrari said, and the Chinese athletes will surprise everyone.
Italy attaches great importance to the Beijing Winter Olympics
“Beijing is ready for the Winter Olympics,” Ferrari said. “My colleagues and I have visited all the Olympic venues. Some athletes have already come to China for test events." Authorities will ensure attendants' safety during the games through "closed-loop management”, Ferrari introduced. “Pandemic prevention will be a top priority for the Beijing Games, and China has done a good job in this regard."
Italy, which will host the Winter Olympics for the third time and is the successor of the Beijing Winter Olympics, attaches great importance to the Beijing games. Ferrari said the Italian Embassy in China has set up a team of young diplomats to take charge of the Winter Olympics, and he is in daily contact with Italian Olympic Committee President Giovanni Malagò.
Performance of the Chinese athletes will surprise everyone
While preparing for the Winter Olympics, China is also promoting the development of snow and ice sports in terms of competition and popularization. Ferrari spoke highly of China's efforts to develop ice and snow sports.
"China is making great efforts to promote the popularity of winter sports in the country. China has set a goal of 300 million people participating in snow and ice sports. I was impressed by the ski resorts in China, which have all the necessary environment and facilities. The Winter Olympics will be an important opportunity for the development of snow and ice sports in China, and will also promote the improvement of the snow and ice industry."
Although there is still room for improvement in China's winter sports compared with traditional powers such as Italy, Ferrari has high expectations for the host country's performance in Beijing. "The Olympics will be very competitive, but I think the Chinese athletes will surprise everyone."
Speaking of his confidence in Chinese athletes, Ferrari said, "The Chinese are incredibly capable of learning. They learn very quickly, and they are always focused and disciplined to manage things very well."
Beijing Winter Olympics will promote China's international image
In June 2019, 13 years after hosting the Turin Winter Olympics, Italy won its bid to host Milan/Cortina d 'Ampezzo in 2026. This will be the third time for Italy to host the Winter Games.
Ferrari believes it's no coincidence that Italy has hosted more Winter Olympics than summer Games. It is not only because of its strong winter sports tradition but also because the former Winter Olympics have indeed left a legacy for Italy, except for sporting glory.
Milan and Cortina d 'Ampezzo won the right to host the 2026 Winter Olympic Games at the 134th Session of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne, Switzerland, on June 24, 2019. Photo shows International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach announcing the results of the vote. (Photo by International Olympic Committee)
"The Olympics will attract people from all over the world, make Italy the focus of the world. We hope that Milan/Cortina d 'Ampezzo Winter Olympics will put Italy back on the global radar, boost tourism and increase the influence of Milan and Cortina d 'Ampezzo in the world.” Fang said.
Ferrari said that the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games showed the world the amazing achievements China had made in the previous 20 to 30 years and greatly enhanced its international image. He hopes the Beijing Winter Olympics will have the same effect.
At the end of the interview, Ferrari told reporters excitedly that he is a fan of winter sports. "I have been to Chongli twice since I came to China, and the valley there is beautiful," Ferrari said. "With the opening of the high-speed railway, the ski resort of Chongli can be reached in just an hour's train ride from Beijing. I can take a taxi or a bus there, and those hydrogen buses are great. When you arrive at the ski resort, you can go skiing as long as you register. Everything is perfect and it's one of my favorite things to do in Beijing in winter." He couldn’t hide the excitement.