A rogue backdrop of an Olympics event has left viewers stumped, but there’s more to the scene than its likeness to a nuclear power plant.
Unflattering scenes broadcast during Beijing’s Winter Olympics has left some viewers questioning whether organisers chose an appropriate location for the Games’ big air events.
Surrounding the Games’ monster ski jump is four huge concrete towers that many have speculated to be connected to some kind of “nuclear power plant wasteland”.
Critics have taken issue with the jarring scene’s obvious geographical distance from actual ski slopes, complaining it did nothing to inspire viewers and athletes alike.
One commentator captured the sentiment of many when they tweeted: “Honestly, what are we even doing here?”.
Snowboarder Paul O’Brien agreed, saying the display hadn’t once left him wishing he was “out on a mountain”.
“My thoughts exactly. The very best of our beautiful planet is everywhere in winter sports, and this is where they host the Olympics? ️Not watched anything so far that made me wish I was out on a mountain, and that ain’t right,” he tweeted.
Another viewer suggested the seemingly odd positioning of the big air events had something to do with “money and corruption”.
“Aside from the money and corruption … how does the Olympic committee let China get away with putting the big air event in the middle of a nuclear power plant wasteland?” they wrote.
CBS reporter Nick Starling echoed a similar thought when he retweeted a photo of the ski jump in the foreground of the concrete towers, writing: “Gotta love the nuclear power plant backdrop”.
Not everyone was so harsh however, with many others left stumped over what the big deal was.
One journalist said people taking issue with the concrete backdrop were “losers”.
Another US viewer joked the power plant was to be envied, not despised.
“This photo makes me so mad. WE should have nuclear reactors next to our ski slopes,” they wrote alongside a picture of the ski jump.
While a huge volume of viewers seemed convinced the concrete towers had sinister ties, there was actually a far more reasonable explanation behind them.
Big Air Shougang Park, the only snow event in downtown Beijing, forms part of a redevelopment project set to become the world’s first permanent venue for big air events.
The site was formerly host to a 100-year-old former steelworks operation run by state-owned Shougang Group, which employed thousands and saw China become a world leader for steel production.
Having been a major air polluter however, it was shut down ahead of the 2008 Summer Olympics hosted in the city.
The zone has been transformed into a hub of office buildings, sport facilities, and cafes, including the Beijing 2022 headquarters.
The grounds are now abundant in grassy lawns, greenery, and ponds, while one of the smokestacks has even been transformed into a modern event space.