Olympians won't be the only ones representing Australia at the Winter Games, with a Brisbane-based firm designing a major Beijing venue.
The new National Speed Skating Oval in the Chinese capital, named the Ice Ribbon, is the brainchild of architecture firm Populous, which won a global contest for the only new permanent venue built for the Olympics.
Populous senior principal Andrew James says the firm's winning pitch was conceived in an "intense time frame" and quickly became "a global effort" before the building's completion last year.
The firm also designed the home stadium for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
While the project was led from Populous' Asia Pacific headquarters in Brisbane, its design drew on Chinese culture and tradition.
The Ice Ribbon drew inspiration from a traditional ice game played in old Beijing involving a spinning top, Populous China principal Tiric Chang says.
Buddhist art from the Tang dynasty also inspired the ribbons of light on the exterior of the building, which rotate to "not only represent the ice surface and the shape of the oval, but also perfectly demonstrated the high-speed movement of speed skaters," Mr Chang said.
Throughout the games, 14 gold medals will be handed out in the Ice Ribbon, where up to 12,000 people can pack in to watch the speed skating - which is incidentally one of the few Winter Olympic events Australia has won.
The sport delivered Australia its first of 15 Winter Olympic medals with a team bronze in 1994.
One member of that team, Steven Bradbury, went on to win Australia's first gold in 2002, spending most of the race in last place until the three leaders collided with each other on the final bend, which allowed him to glide to a famous victory.
The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics begin on Friday, February 4.
Australian Associated Press
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