Beijing’s Bird’s Nest to host historic FIS Freestyle competition
On 20th and 21st December, 2013, the FIS Freestyle World Cup tour will take to the skies of the capital city of the most populous nation in one of the most breath-taking venues, when back-to-back aerials competitions will be held at the Beijing National Stadium, known as the “Bird's Nest.”
FIS Freestyle Race Director Joe Fitzgerald recently returned to Europe from a trip to Beijing, where he was on hand to check the progress and finalise arrangements for what promises to be a highlight of the 2013/14 FIS Freestyle World Cup season.
The “Bird's Nest” was initially built to host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, and many of the marquee events of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Summer Games. It is regarded by many as one of the world's most beautiful manmade structures and, with a gross volume of three million cubic meters, is also the world's largest enclosed space.
Despite its pedigree, it is safe to say that few people would have conceived that the stadium would host a World Cup skiing competition. However, in partnership with the Chinese Ski Association, Beijing Sport Bureau, Beijing National Stadium Co. Limited, and Brilliant Culture Group Limited, FIS Freestyle will bring a competition to centre field this December.
It is planned to make the Beijing event an annual one through the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Korea. As well, this year's event will be shown on live TV to a potential audience of over 200 million viewers. When one factors in the size of the Beijing National Stadium and the skill of the Chinese aerials team – team members Xu Mengtao and Jia Zongyang are last year's respective ladies' and men's aerials Crystal Globe winners – all things are aligned to make the Beijing stop one of the biggest in any of the FIS disciplines.
Fitzgerald said: “This new event in Beijing is to be held in one of the world's great sporting landmarks, and within the "Bird's Nest" stadium we anticipate an amazing and compelling competition for the people of Beijing. Together, with the performances of the Chinese aerial team, the iconic location, and in this Olympic season, the Beijing World Cup aerials event will generate a tremendous amount of interest in the promotion of skiing and winter sports.”
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