While competitors at the Winter Olympics are accustomed to events that are surrounded by snow-capped mountains and forests, this year’s Games in Beijing feature an industrial backdrop that some are calling “dystopian.”
According to Reuters, one of the Chinese Communist Party’s venues for the Winter Olympics is in West Beijing, where a massive ski-ramp was constructed in the middle of a repurposed industrial park that was formerly a steel mill.
One Twitter user shared an image of the ski ramp surrounded by concrete towers, as well as an aerial view of the industrial park.
“Hellscape,” the user tweeted.
Another photo from the event shows a skier in midair with industrial smokestacks in the background, including one that has the Beijing Olympics logo painted on the side.
“Feels pretty dystopian to have some kind of nuclear facility as the backdrop for this Big Air skiing event,” the Twitter user wrote.
Another Twitter user posted a photo of a skier with the industrial tower in the background. “Anyone find it highly unusual that the back drop for freestyle skiing is several nuclear waste towers?” the user tweeted.
The Shougang industrial park was selected as the site for the Winter Olympics Big Air event because it represents sustainability, officials said.
Eileen Gu, an American-born freestyle skier who trained in the US but subsequently denounced her American citizenship to ski for China, called the venue “fantastic.”
“The venue is fantastic,” Gu said. “I mean, look around, there’s no snow anywhere else. And somehow when you’re skiing on this job, you feel like you’re on a glacier somewhere.”
Associated Press photographer Jae C. Hong, who is covering the events at Shougang, also had a positive take on the industrial location.
“To me, it was just such a contrast,” Hong said, as reported by PIX11. “It seemed dark. But with the live music and this cool venue like I’ve never seen in an industrial district, I think it works.”
French athlete Antoine Adelisse said he was initially disappointed by the concrete view, but said the lights make it “amazing.”
“The first time I was on the top I was a bit disappointed, because when we’re at the top we usually see lots of mountains. But when the lights get on it’s really amazing,” Adelisse said.
The primetime Olympic audience plummeted to its lowest ever on NBC on Thursday, with just 7.25 million tuning in for the network’s first night of Beijing Olympics coverage, Sports Media Watch reported.
Many are refusing to watch the Games due to the Chinese Communist Party’s egregious human rights violations, including the genocide of the Uyghurs in the nation’s Xinjiang region.