Almaty, Beijing make first pitches to host 2022 Winter Olympics
The cities of Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan, made their first international pitches for hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics on Friday, according to The Associated Press.
The presentations came at the general assembly of the Association of National Olympic Committees in Bangkok.
According to the AP, Almaty framed its bid as the more compact and affordable option, with all prospective venues located within 22 miles of the city. In Beijing's proposal, some events would be held 100 miles north of the city, though the presenters said a high-speed railway would limit travel time to 50 minutes.
Beijing, considered a strong favorite between the two cities, also proposed a start date of Feb. 4, which would be the earliest since 1976 and means the event could conflict with the NFL's Super Bowl, which isn't yet scheduled for 2022 but typically takes place in the first week of February.
The Chinese capital is attempting to become the first city to host both the Summer Olympics and Winter Olympics.
Almaty and Beijing are the only potential hosts remaining after multiple cities dropped out, including Stockholm, Oslo, Krakow, Poland, and Lviv, Ukraine. Bids by St. Moritz/Davos and Munich were rejected in referendums by voters in Switzerland and Germany, respectively.
IOC president Thomas Bach has already said that the committee will not reopen the bidding process for the 2022 Olympics.
The 2022 host will be chosen by the IOC at its assembly in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on July 31 next year. Pyeongchang, South Korea, is hosting the 2018 Olympics.
- Ben Estes