On September 7, 2017, the ISU President Jan Dijkema gave a key note speech during the World Winter Sorts Expo 2017 in Beijing, China. The theme of the conference was “Leading the Way” within the context of the World Winter Sports (Beijing) Expo which aims to construct the Chinese blueprint of international winter sports industry and develop the great potential of the Chinese winter sports market.
With Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games on the horizon, Mr. Dijkema spoke about the strong presence of ISU Sports within China, “If we look at the Olympic history of Chinese Winter Sports, China has won 12 Olympic gold medals. 9 in Short Track, 1 in Speed Skating, 1 in Figure Skating and 1 in Freestyle Skiing. If the past predicts the future, China will probably win the most Olympic medals in 2022 in the ice skating disciplines of the ISU.” However, there is room for improvement and the ISU is working with a number of Chinese partners in order to further develop ISU sports and increase their popularity and visibly within the Chinese market. These partners are for example the Chinese Skating Association, COC, BOCOG 2022, and CCTV who successfully covers the ISU disciplines on TV. Online streaming is available on Tencent and athletes and fans can interact on Weibo. Furthermore, the ISU announced earlier this year its new partnership with Audi China for the Audi ISU World Cup Short Track Series this season. Leading up to Beijing 2022, the ISU is partnering up with more Chinese companies.
“The road to Beijing 2022 is vital, but so is the legacy.” Said Mr. Dijkema. “In this regard, the ISU is actively exploring with Chinese partners the opportunity to create an ISU Centre of Excellence in Beijing.. The concept is an academy where talented Skaters, Coaches and Officials can be educated. This way, facilities like the new Olympic oval and all the gained know-how can continue to play a major role after the Olympics. We have business opportunities for sponsorships and for collaboration regarding the ISU Centre of Excellence in Beijing.”
The ISU believes that there is an enormous potential for Speed Skating, Short Track Speed Skating, Figure Skating and Synchronized Skating in China. Ice Skating contributes to the goal of driving 300 million people to participate in winter sports. Ice skating is a fun and healthy activity for all ages and abilities. Everybody can learn to skate or learn to skate better. “I encourage the construction and use of ice rinks throughout China. It’s also key to educate more coaches and set up youth and adult skating programs. The Chinese Champions can serve as great role models” concluded Mr. Dijkema.