"It will be exciting to see how the introduction of winter sports to the grand public will transform China, and how China will drive the development of winter sports globally. Helsinki and the whole of Finland are looking forward to Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games." Juhana Vartiainen, Mayor of Helsinki, said in an interview with Xinhua News Agency.
Beijing and Helsinki started official exchanges in 1991 and became sister cities in July 2006. Since then, the two cities have engaged in productive cooperation in investment, trade, scientific and technological innovation, culture, people-to-people exchanges, and other fields. In fact, the two cities have long been connected by sports. The Helsinki 1952 Olympics marked the first appearance of the People's Republic of China on the Olympic stage. Now, the upcoming Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics will make Beijing the first city to host both the Summer and Winter Olympics.
2021 marks the 15th anniversary of the sister-city ties between Beijing and Helsinki. In August this year, the mayors of the two cities exchanged letters to celebrate the fruitful friendship. Mayor Vartiainen wrote that year 2022 marks the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China's representation in Olympic Games, beginning from Helsinki in 1952. He wished Beijing all the best in the final preparations for successful Beijing Winter Olympics.
2016 Sino-Finland Winter Sports Seminar Held in Beijing
Finland has a long history of winter sports, which are in the DNA of the Finnish people. China and Finland share huge cooperation potential in winter sports. In 2019, with support from the two presidents, China and Finland jointly launched the "China-Finland Year of Winter Sports" to promote all-round exchanges and cooperation in the ice and snow industry and sports field. In this context, the cooperation between Beijing and Helsinki in winter sports has been deepening. The Beijing Youth Ice Hockey Team and the Jokerit Helsinki held educational exchanges and friendly matches for many times. Finnish ice hockey referees were invited to Beijing to referee in league matches. Sports officials, experts and business people from the two cities conducted in-depth exchanges on topics such as the development of winter sports industry and venue construction at events like Finland Winter Sports Venues Seminar, Sino-Finland Winter Sports Seminar, and China-Finland Ice Hockey Forum.
The Beijing Youth Ice Hockey Team and the Jokerit Helsinki held an exchange match in 2018
Helsinki was the guest city of Beijing Design Week 2021. At the opening ceremony of this year's Design Week on September 22, Soile Kauranen, Deputy Head of Mission at Embassy of Finland in China, delivered a speech as the representative of the guest city and witnessed the launch of the official poster for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, which became the highlight of the guest city event of the Design Week and added more Winter Olympics elements to the cooperation between the two sister cities.
Soile Kauranen, Deputy Head of Mission at Embassy of Finland in China, attended the opening ceremony of Beijing Design Week 2021 and the launching event of the official poster for the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games
With great cooperation potential in winter sports, the sister-city relations between Beijing and Helsinki will surely benefit from the new opportunities and development brought by the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
(Photo source: Beijing Ice Hockey Association, Beijing Design Week)