The opening of the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou on Saturday (9/23) was held in great celebration. The success of the event owed much to China's ability to showcase artificial intelligence (AI) technology and the impressive use of LED games.
The 19th Asian Games, which runs from September 23 to October 8, 2023, was delayed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic before it was finally held. The Asian Games set the stage for the best athletes from across Asia, with a number of Paris 2024 Olympic quotas up for grabs.
The theme of this year's Asian Games is "Tides Surging in Asia," reflecting the new advances in digital technology in China and modern-day Asian countries. There are a total of 61 sports disciplines competing in 40 sports, including 28 core Olympic sports that will compete in Paris 2024.
Since the first Asian Games were held in 1951, the event has been a memorable moment of entertainment. Here are some interesting facts about the 2022 Asian Games.
1. China Hosts Asian Games for the Third Time
This is the third time China is hosting the Asian Games, also known as Asiad. Previously, China hosted the Games in 1990 in Beijing and 2010 in Guangzhou.
Although China has hosted the Asian Games several times, the record for the most Games hosted by a single country is held by Thailand. The country has hosted in 1966, 1970, 1978 and 1998.
In the 1970 Games, it was originally planned to be held in Seoul, but Bangkok took over at short notice after the Republic of Korea received security threats from the neighboring People's Republic of Korea.
Then, in 1978, Bangkok once again hosted the Asian Games after replacing Singapore due to financial issues.
2. China's Showcase of AI Technology
One of the highlights of the Asian Games was the digitized torch parade, which also demonstrated a commitment to environmental sustainability by eliminating the use of fireworks.
The event achieved an impressive visual level by combining artificial intelligence (AI) technology and LED gaming. AI was used to transform the LED shots into three-dimensional shapes that reflected the flow of the Qiantang River. Two dancers also added a touch of beauty to the LED show organized by the Chinese government.
The Asian Games fireworks display was also presented in virtual form. Only spectators can watch the ceremony through television broadcasts and digital media, and this requires the use of computers with very large capacities.
Zhang Shaorong, general manager of Ant Group's Alipay Asian Games Office, told the Global Times that such digital achievements require the use of a very large number of computers.
3. Promoting the Concept of Green Hosting
Instead of lighting traditional fireworks, the production team designed a virtual fireworks display presented on a screen, and used zero-emission methanol as the fuel for the caldron fire.
In fact, for the first time in the history of the Asian Games, Hangzhou 2022 will fully rely on green electricity as the main power source for all competition venues.
In addition, electric vehicles and buses will provide transportation for athletes and media crews during their stay in Hangzhou.
The Chinese government and HAGOC as the organizing committee are committed to hosting a great Asian Games with a green and smart approach. The organizers hope that the 19th Asian Games will set an example for future editions.
4. The Biggest Asian Games in History
This year's Asian Games is considered to be the biggest edition in its history. Hangzhou will host the "Asian Games with the largest number of athletes in history".
The Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee (HAGOC) has revealed that around 45 National Olympic Committees will bring around 12,500 athletes, the largest number in the history of the Asian Games, surpassing the previous record of 11,300 athletes at the 18th Asian Games in Indonesia in 2018.
These athletes will compete for 481 gold medals in 40 sports over 15 days. The events will be spread across 56 arenas in Hangzhou and five supporting cities, namely Ningbo, Wenzhou, Huzhou, Shaoxing and Jinhua.
5. New sports: Breakdancing and Esports Rock the Stage
The 2022 Asian Games will be the first stage for breakdancing as a medal sport, two years before it is officially included in the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
The decision to include breakdancing as a medal sport at the 2022 Asian Games, along with esports, was made at the 39th General Assembly of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, in December 2020.
According to the outcome of the meeting, e-sports will be included in the category of "intellectual titles", parallel to chess, while breakdancing will be placed as a "dance sport".
At the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, breakdancing will be held over two days on October 6-7, 2023 at the Gongshu Canal Sports Park Gymnasium. There will be two gold medals up for grabs in this competition, one for women and one for men.
The recognition of breakdancing as a dance sport is part of an official program that includes 40 sports, 61 disciplines and 483 events.
The new sport is also included in the qualifying quota for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, having previously been a successful part of the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina.