Almaty's presentation for the 2022 Winter Olympics impressed IOC members, according to the Associated Press.
The Kazakhstan city is going against Beijing in the bid to host the 2022 Games, with Beijing having long been considered the favorite. However, multiple IOC members told the AP that Tuesday's presentations have thrust Almaty into more serious consideration.
“The feeling among the membership was that Almaty probably narrowed the gap,” IOC vice president John Coates told the AP. “I think it might be a close vote, which I didn't think originally.”
Both cities made presentations to the IOC on Tuesday. According to the AP, Almaty's highlighted the fact that it is a “winter sports city with plenty of mountains, natural snow and a compact layout.”
Beijing hosted the Summer Olympics in 2008 and is looking to become the first city to host both the winter and summer games.
“It certainly turned it into a race,” Canadian IOC member Dick Pound told the AP after hearing the presentations. “A considerable majority of the members came here thinking it was a foregone conclusion that we would be dealing with Beijing, so they were agreeably surprised.”
A winning bid will be announced on July 31.
- Molly Geary