Olympics / Winter Olympics / Winter Sports

Beijing's big air jumps at the 2022 Winter Olympics look metal AF

Gu Ailing of China competes during women's freeski big air final at Big Air Shougang in Beijing, capital of China, Feb. 8, 2022.
Credit: Xinhua News Agency

Stories of Beijing’s artificial snow have been done to death now (also, guilty) as have the big air park built in the middle of a former steel mill. “It’s dystopian, is it a nuclear plant, it looks weird, it’s not what you expect from the Winter Olympics.” And?? I think it’s metal AF and speaks to the reality of urban life and the future of the Games. But it could also represent the backgrounds and reality of the competitors.

Not everything about the Winter Olympics is middle class upbringings, the Bank of Mum & Dad, and growing up in the suburbs. Some competitors paid their way to get there, others just see qualification as the biggest achievement. I’m not saying they all lived in and around steel mills and cooling towers but they might not have lived in and around mountains and picturesque fields either.

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