LAUSANNE/BEIJING: Thomas Bach has formally called on the national Olympic committees of the world and their winter sports competitors to participate in next year’s Games in Beijing.

The president of the International Olympic Committee issued his call from Olympic House in Lausanne by formally sending the initial signed invitations to eight NOCs, including the Chinese Olympic Committee.

The other seven were Greek NOC representing the country in which the Olympic Games originated, NOCs from future Olympic host cities – Japan (Tokyo), France (Paris), Italy (Milano Cortina) and the United States (Los Angeles) as well as Australia and Nigeria which sent the largest delegations from Oceania and Africa respectively to the last Winter Games.

Bach said: “One year from now, Beijing will write history as the first city ever to host both the summer and winter editions of the Olympic Games. These Games will connect the Chinese people with the world.”

He has studiously avoided any comment or response to criticism of the Chinese hosting over the treatment of its Uighur Muslims which has drawn demands of a Beijing boycott from human rights groups.

Bach continued: “Having seen how China is overcoming the coronavirus crisis, we are very confident that our Chinese hosts will ensure safe and secure Olympic Games in full cooperation with the IOC.

“Every time that I have visited China, I am so impressed by the enthusiasm and support for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.

“This is why, we can say already now with great confidence: China is ready. Ready to welcome the world’s best winter sports athletes for unforgettable Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. We all are looking forward to this global celebration of sport.” 

In China, a One Year to Go celebration show was broadcast on national television. In addition to celebrating this special milestone with a cultural spectacular, the Beijing 2022 Organising Committee also unveiled the official Beijing 2022 torch design. The event was held in the Ice Cube (formerly known as the Water Cube), which will host curling at next year’s Games.

Beijing will host the XXIV Olympic Winter Games from February 4 to 20, 2022.