Beijing venue is in high demand as it stands the test of time

Volunteers clean the ice during a hockey game at the Wukesong Sports Center in Beijing. WU ZHUANG/XINHUA

Beijing resident Zhang Miao has many fond memories of his visit to the city’s Wukesong Sports Center.

“I went there for many concerts when I was 20, and after having my daughter, I now visit the center for dinner and shopping,” she said.

“The Winter Olympics are just around the corner, and as one of the venues for the Games, I believe the center will bring more excitement to the city and the public.”

The Wukesong Sports Center was designed and built for the Beijing Summer Olympics in 2008, hosting the men’s and women’s basketball events.

It hosted the men’s first-round match between China and USA, before hosting one of the biggest men’s finals in the Olympics. This unforgettable titans clash between the United States and Spain saw the team of LeBron James and Kobe Bryant claim a 118-107 victory for the United States.

After the Games, the center’s Olympic baseball field was redeveloped into a basketball theme park with a shopping mall and restaurants.

The area has become an important part of the Beijing 2008 legacy, providing residents with a recreational area where they can enjoy cultural events and concerts, and the center is now ready to serve as the main indoor venue for hockey ice at the Winter Olympics next month. .

A worker inspects the power supply at the center. ZOU HONG/CHINA DAILY

Zhao Yan, Chairman of Huaxi International Investment Group, owner of the center, said: “As a double Olympic venue, it has always lived up to the spirit of the Games: faster, higher, stronger. The site is the embodiment of youth, energy and passion.

“Before investing in the centre, we thought about how it could continue to inspire people after the Games and become a symbol of the Olympic spirit and an emotional connection for young people.”

To attract young people and meet their demands, the company focused on the design of the Huaxi Live space, which includes the sports center, the basketball theme park and an outdoor area with shops and a ice sports center.

Responding to increased interest in ice sports among local residents, the company created an indoor center for such activities.

Zhang said, “As a comprehensive venue, the sports center provides a wealth of cultural content and entertainment for the public. The stadium has hosted concerts featuring not only Chinese singers, but also international superstars such as Beyonce. Many bands perform different types of music. there every night.”

In the evening, up to eight groups of musicians play in the center, passers-by stopping to listen to them.

In addition to music, the Times Museum, which is part of Huaxi Live, is now open to the public. Hosting modern art exhibitions, it attracts a crowd of young people.

“Other Olympic venues may be built for one purpose, but we had a different purpose from the start,” Zhao said. “Huaxi Live at Wukesong aims to provide a healthy and happy experience for young people.”

She added that the venue had to be reusable, sustainable and capable of hosting different events.

In the future, the Wukesong Sports Center will serve as a venue for on-ice training and a teaching base for teenagers, as well as a venue for ice hockey clubs.

Xu Haoying, 22, a student in Beijing, said, “I like to spend weekends at Huaxi Live because there are spaces for sports, dining, shopping, as well as shows and exhibitions to visit. There is an artistic atmosphere, with a feeling of space. Transport services are also very convenient, which is important in such a huge city.”

Li Jiawen contributed to this story.

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