Beijing selected as host of 2022 Winter Olympics
Beijing was elected as the host city of the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, the International Olympic Committee announced Friday.
Beijing becomes the first city to be awarded both the winter and summer games. The city also hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics.
The IOC also announced that Lausanne, Switzerland was selected to host 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games.
Beijing defeated Almaty, Kazakhstan by a vote of 44 to 40 during the 128th IOC session in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia despite not being known for its wintry conditions. Oslo and Stockholm had previously dropped out of the bidding, citing political and financial reasons.
Almaty organizers hoped to persuade the IOC to give developing countries like Kazakhstan a chance to host the games, as they had already built venues in case they won the bidding after hosting the Asian Winter Games in 2011.
“Almaty is not a risky choice for 2022,” Kazakhstan Prime Minister Karim Massimov told the IOC delegates. “In fact, we are quite the opposite. ... We are a golden opportunity to prove that smaller, advancing nations can successfully host the Winter Games.”
Beijing will use several venues from the 2008 Games, including the "Bird's Nest" stadium and "Water Cube" arena. The mountain events will be held at venues in Yanqing and Zhangjiakou.
The IOC said that Beijing’s proposed budget for investment in Olympic villages, sports venues and other infrastructure totals will total of $1.5 billion, far less than previous Olympic Games. The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia cost the country an estimated $51 billion to host.
Before the vote, IOC president Thomas Bach said the committee took steps to make the candidates' bidding process easier, including paying for the costs related to visiting the cities and the installation and set-up of meeting rooms in both cities.
Pyeongchang, South Korea will host the 2018 Winter Olympics.
- Scooby Axson