July 31, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) Reaction Friday to the IOC's decision to pick Beijing as host city of the 2022 Olympics by a vote of 44 votes to 40 over Almaty, Kazakhstan:

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"They chose certainty in Beijing. But I don't think anybody would have believed that the result would have been that close"- IOC vice president Craig Reedie.

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"Just as with the Beijing 2008 Summer Games, the Olympic Family has put its faith in Beijing again. This will be a memorable event at the foot of the Great Wall" - Beijing bid committee statement.

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"Almaty is not a risky choice for 2022. In fact, we are quite the opposite. ... We are a golden opportunity to prove that smaller, advancing nations can successfully host the Winter Games" -Kazakhstan Prime Minister Karim Massimov during the final pitch for the Almaty bid.

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"Gee, you wouldn't have picked that close result a few months ago. That address by the prime minister today was brilliantly crafted. I think that's why it got close. But the size of China, the number of people that are going to be introduced to winter sport now, those were all factors" - IOC vice president John Coates of Australia.

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"He is a superstar. He was our main asset to deliver the main message" - Almaty bid vice chairman Andrey Kryukov on Massimov.

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"Obviously there was technical issue with the voting system, the devices. If the scrutineers decide to be on the very safe side to have a new vote, to have this vote on a ballot paper then this speaks for itself for a very fair election in everybody's interest" - IOC President Thomas Bach, explaining the abortive first vote.

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"I hope Almaty will continue in the race because I think with the job they are doing, they are capable to win another time" - Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, IOC member and president of the Olympic Council of Asia.

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"Kazakhstan is seen as a newcomer but it did get a lot of trust from the second time and it's a good signal, a good sign. But Beijing of course was more convincing, more reliable and more a winner" - former Russian swimmer Alex Popov.

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"The IOC has sent the wrong message to the wrong people at the wrong time. China wants the world to ignore its deteriorating human rights and be impressed by Chinese can-do pragmatism instead. That's exactly what the IOC has done. The honor of a second Olympic Games is a propaganda gift to China when what it needs is a slap in the face" - the International Tibet Network.

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"My reaction was kind of slow because it's still hard to believe that we actually won" - former NBA player and Beijing bid member Yao Ming.

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