"The Paralympic Games can change attitudes towards people with disabilities and we will work towards a more inclusive world, which is what the Paralympic Games are all about." IPC Spokesperson, Chief Branding and Advocacy Official Craig Spence (Craig Spence) said in an exclusive interview with the Beijing News "Earth Connection" recently.
After the splendid Beijing Winter Olympics ended, from March 2 to 4, the Beijing Winter Paralympics Torch Relay will be held in Beijing, Yanqing and Zhangjiakou. The Winter Paralympics will be held this Friday (March 4). 4) opening.
With the vision of "Pure Ice and Snow, Passionate Dating", this event will pay tribute to the legacy of the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games and promote the values and vision of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.
Craig Spence highly praised the work of the Beijing Winter Olympics Organizing Committee and expressed his expectations for the Winter Paralympics. He is very concerned about the performance of the defending champion Chinese wheelchair curling team in this Winter Paralympic Games.
"Enjoyed the Beijing Winter Olympics very much"
Beijing News: Have you followed the Beijing Winter Olympics?
How do you feel?
Craig Spence: The International Paralympic Committee is closely following the Beijing Winter Olympics, and we really enjoy the wonderful games that the Winter Olympics will bring to us.
We also paid close attention to the feedback from the athletes, who liked the Winter Olympic Village and the Beijing Winter Olympics facilities very much, and were very happy with the success of the Winter Olympics.
We often joke that every Winter Olympics is a test event for the Winter Paralympics.
Because we can draw lessons from the hosting of the Winter Olympics and apply them to the Winter Paralympics.
We are now ready for the opening ceremony of the Winter Paralympics this Friday.
Beijing News: What impresses you most about the Beijing Winter Olympics?
Craig Spence: Because I'm British, I'm very focused on curling, especially in the gold medal match, where the UK wins the women's curling gold medal and the men's curling team wins the silver.
Also, overall, the Winter Olympics are a great venue and the feedback from the athletes has been very positive.
I am impressed by the devotion and commitment of the Beijing Winter Olympics Organizing Committee to the Winter Paralympics. They are committed to hosting a Winter Paralympic Games as exciting as the Beijing Winter Olympics.
We are very much looking forward to the Winter Paralympics.
Looking forward to the performance of the defending champion Chinese wheelchair curling team
Beijing News: Are you in Beijing now?
How do you feel about the Winter Paralympic Village?
Is there anything that stands out to you?
Craig Spence: The volunteers who greeted us at the airport were very warm, and we felt the warm welcome from Beijing, which was our first impression.
I haven't had a chance to visit the Paralympic Village yet, but my colleagues at the Paralympic Village praised the barrier-free facilities, saying that the Paralympic Village has world-class facilities.
We also get similar feedback from athletes who say that the Paralympic Village is convenient and the rooms are very spacious.
The positive feedback from the athletes also makes us look forward to their performance in the Winter Paralympics.
We are all ready for the Winter Paralympics.
Beijing News: Disabled athletes overcome many difficulties to participate in the Winter Paralympic Games. What are your expectations for the Winter Paralympic Games?
Craig Spence: The Paralympic athletes are extremely competitive, and I'm sure some of the people who have never watched it will be impressed by its engrossing competition.
For example, in an alpine skiing event, we will see visually impaired athletes skiing downhill at speeds of up to 100 kilometers per hour, with only one leader pointing the way.
Seated skiers also ski incredibly fast.
Wheelchair curling is also an exciting sport.
The Chinese wheelchair curling team is the defending champion and the champion of the World Wheelchair Curling Championship. It is a very good team.
Wheelchair curling is different from the Winter Olympics, they don't have ice scrubbers, so the precision of the athlete's shot has to be perfect, and it's worth watching.
In Paralympic ice hockey, hockey players engage in physical confrontation, and they all possess incredible skill, agility, and a very fast pace.
China's Paralympic ice hockey team is relatively new and may surprise us a lot.
In biathlon, visually impaired athletes can also participate in rifle shooting.
For the Winter Paralympics, we have a special gun for visually impaired athletes.
This is an audio gun that makes different sounds depending on the distance between the athlete and the target, and they shoot according to the sound.
Biathlon is a great test of endurance for athletes. First, they need to ski long distances, usually up to 20 kilometers. After that, they will rest a little and reduce their heart rate to ensure that they can shoot accurately.
This is a huge test of the athlete's endurance, skill, agility and accuracy.
There are also events such as snowboarding, cross-country skiing, and more, each of which is fascinating.
(Note: Biathlon consists of cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. Biathlon was first included in the Paralympic Winter Games in Innsbruck in 1988, when competitors were limited to physical disabilities. Albert in 1992 Visually impaired athletes compete in biathlon at the Winter Paralympics for the first time.)
Beijing News: You mentioned a lot of competitions. Are there any competitions that you are very concerned about?
Craig Spence: It's a bit difficult for me to pick one event, but I'll be paying close attention to wheelchair curling because I think it will be a very special moment for the Chinese wheelchair curling team to win the championship in China.
At the same time, I also love downhill skiing, because the speed of the athletes is unbelievable.
The message of the Winter Paralympics: Peace and a more inclusive world
Beijing News: This Winter Paralympics will be the first since the start of the new crown epidemic. What do you think is the significance of its holding?
Craig Spence: The fact that we are all in a safe environment in Beijing is a testament to the effectiveness of the work of the Beijing Organizing Committee.
Organizing a sporting event of this magnitude during the Covid-19 pandemic is not easy.
In order to play the game safely, we all follow the Epidemic Prevention Manual.
The "Epidemic Prevention Manual" was jointly issued by the International Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee and the Beijing Winter Olympics Organizing Committee to provide us with competition-related epidemic prevention guidance to ensure that we have a safe competition environment.
At present, these epidemic prevention measures have been effective. Now we are all in a closed loop. We feel that this is the safest place on earth right now.
It's been fantastic and I hope this will continue and all athletes can participate in safe competition and use their talents to the fullest.
At the same time, unlike the Olympic events, sports in the Paralympic Games are not only about high-level performance, but the Paralympic Games have the power to change the world.
There are 1.2 billion people with disabilities in the world, accounting for 15% of the total population.
Historically, the disabled population has been marginalized from society.
At the Paralympics, people will see incredible sporting achievements that will change attitudes towards people with disabilities, they will pay more attention to the abilities of people with disabilities, which means more opportunities for people with disabilities, we Will work towards a more inclusive world.
This is a unique meaning that only the Paralympic Games have.
Beijing News: What message do you hope the Winter Paralympics will convey to the audience?
Craig Spence: In the current world situation, we hope that the Winter Paralympics can send a message of peace that we can allow athletes from all over the world to compete in a harmonious environment.
At the same time, we also strongly hope to make the world more inclusive, the world should not tolerate discrimination, and all people should have equal opportunities in life.
Beijing News: Have you been to China before?
What is your impression of China?
Craig Spence: I've been to China many times before.
In 2010, I came to China for the first time and went to Guangzhou to participate in the Asian Para Games. At that time, I had just started to get involved in sports for the disabled. I have also been to Shanghai and Beijing more than 20 times.
China is a country I am more familiar with.
I really like the work attitude and work ability of the Chinese people, which has been verified again in the few days I am in Beijing.
We are now in the transition period between the Winter Olympics and the Winter Paralympic Games, which requires landscape replacement, such as changing the Olympic rings to the Paralympic logo, etc. Sometimes the local Olympic Organizing Committee may take days to complete this work , and the Beijing Winter Olympics Organizing Committee completed it within a few hours, and its work efficiency is admirable.
Beijing News reporter Hou Wuting Yao YuanKeywords: