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China is using the Beijing Olympics to push a winter sports boom

Added 01-28-22 02:07:02am EST - “The ruling Communist Party is using the Games to promote winter sports, many of which are new to most Chinese, for fitness and business opportunities.” - Npr.org

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Npr.org: “China is using the Beijing Olympics to push a winter sports boom”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

A child practices ice hockey near the Beijing Olympics Tower in Beijing, China, Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022. Ng Han Guan/AP hide caption

A child practices ice hockey near the Beijing Olympics Tower in Beijing, China, Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022.

BEIJING (AP) — Holding his skis beside a bunny slope, Li Wei enthuses over his winter job as a farmer-turned-ski coach on the northwestern outskirts of Beijing.The tall, tanned 36-year-old works December to March at a resort in the Yanqing district, which will host skiing, luge and other sliding events at the Winter Olympics, which open next week. The ruling Communist Party is using the Games to promote winter sports, many of which are new to most Chinese, for fitness and business opportunities.

Skiing "boosted my income to another level," said Li, who charges 400 to 500 yuan ($60 to $80) per lesson — almost as much as his family earns in a week growing corn during warmer months. He also finds skiing relaxing. "After a few slides down the intermediate slope, all my troubles are gone," he said.Many in Beijing have long enjoyed winter ice skating on canals and lakes. But now, young Chinese are expanding their aspirations from basketball, football and gymnastics to sports such as hockey and skiing.

The government and private companies have built ice rinks and ski runs. Public schools are adding skating and other winter sports. Parents are opening their wallets to pay for hockey teams and skating lessons. Villages near ski slopes are building inns to serve well-heeled tourists."I want to be an ice hockey player in the future," said 8-year-old Guo Yuchen, who took up the sport at 4 and trains seven hours a week at a rink in Beijing. "Then I can bring glory to my country."Wu Mengkai, 11, said hockey made him more extroverted and a "very sunny person.""You can't be introverted when you play ice hockey," Wu said. "You have to be brave enough to fight."The buildup to the Winter Olympics set these trends in motion, said Mark Dreyer, author of the book "Sporting Superpower: An Insider's View on China's Quest to Be the Best."

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