China is an indispensable part of the Olympic movement and the Beijing Winter Olympic Games 2022 would be perfect, family members of Juan Antonio Samaranch, the late president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), told Xinhua.
"Before he became IOC President, my father knew that the Olympic movement would not amount to anything without China and that is why he worked for China's inclusion during his mandate," said Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr., son of the former IOC president, in a recent exclusive interview with Xinhua.
The success of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in both sporting and economic terms marked a key moment in history as China showed the world that it could manage, organize and provide the infrastructure for an event of such global magnitude as the Olympics, said Samaranch Jr., the IOC vice president.
Apart from what Beijing has achieved, Samaranch Jr. expects more for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
"Money, grandeur and size (of the 2008 Olympic Games) are things of the past. What we are looking for now is sustainability and intelligence," he said.
"Now we have an intense program of visits to organize the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in the Chinese capital and every time I go (to China) I am surprised," said the IOC vice president, highlighting China's advances in technology such as mobile payment, which is still not common in Spain, and other areas open to innovation.
"I have no doubt that the organization (of the Winter Olympic Games) is going to be excellent, just as I had no doubts that the organization of Beijing 2008 was also going to be excellent. What we have to do now is (to) assure that 2022 is going to see the most 'intelligent' Games in history," said Samaranch Jr.
For his family, the late IOC president was "a man ahead of his time," who always understood China's enormous potential and even told his grandson to start learning Chinese at the age of 10.
"I studied for a couple of months, but like any boy of my age, all I was thinking about was playing. How wrong I was and how right he was," said Juan Antonio Samaranch, who was named after his grandfather.
Studying the language with a Chinese teacher these days, the grandson of the late president said "I hope I can defend his legacy...help relations between Spain and China to continue to improve."
In 2008, the Chinese Olympic Committee awarded the late IOC president its highest medal of honor for his outstanding contribution to the Olympic movement.
Hailing the title - a good friend of the Chinese people - as the most cherished by his father in his lifetime, the IOC vice president said "the next generations of the (Samaranch) family are trying to honor his memory."
"What I like most about China are the people. Although there is a language barrier, my family and I have been able to develop great friendships which we want to maintain," said the IOC vice president, who also highlighted China's role in supporting multilateralism.