As you’ve probably seen by now, some of the skiing events are being held in Beijing and large cooling towers with the Olympics logo are visible during the telecast which gives the games a dystopian look and feel. Bottom left photo via the AFP:

It’s *almost* as good as having snow-capped mountains in the background, right?

Some major “Simpsons” vibes, too:

Now, here’s what’s going on. This is a permanent sports facility that was built inside a former concrete plant and it’s all part of a “green” Olympics. From Reuters:

“…the Shougang industrial park site, was chosen to represent sustainability by turning an industrial area into one for cultural and leisure use, officials have said.”

Um, okay. Here’s what it looks like zoomed out. It’s not exactly living up to the tourist image China wants to portray:

But journos are cheering China on. From ABC Australia:

One of the most spectacular venues at this Games is a case study in urban regeneration.

Shougang, in Beijing’s west, used to be an industrial wasteland, host of the former Shougang Steel Mill, a storage and production centre for iron ore that pumped noxious fumes into the atmosphere for decades.

Now, the only things launched skyward are the world’s best big-air skiers and snowboarders, flipping and twisting their way acrobatically towards Olympic glory.

And those athletes are big fans of the world’s first-ever permanent big-air structure.

Well, at least it looks nice for two weeks of the year:

This particular facility was closed and moved before the 2008 games to help cut down on pollution. From the Olympics:

It is a major statement of both achievement and intent. Shougang’s entire steel-making complex – a city within a city – was relocated out of Beijing in the run-up to and immediate aftermath of Beijing 2008. City planners chose not to bulldoze the industrial park, but have instead taken on the difficult but rewarding task of urban regeneration.

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Tags: Olympics

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