The Chinese capital defeated Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan, by 44 votes to 40 in Kuala Lumpur on Friday. This means that Beijing will become the first city ever to host both the summer and winter Olympics.
And the city said that much of the infrastructure developed for the 2008 Summer Games would be reused in 2022, including the famous “Bird’s Nest” stadium. It has also budgeted a further US$1.5 billion to develop new Olympic villages, sports venues and other facilities. This compares to the staggering US$51bn spent on the last Winter Olympics in Russia, and the estimated US$44bn spent on Beijing 2008.
“We are honoured and humbled by the International Olympic Committee’s decision to award Beijing the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games,” the Beijing team said in a statement.
“Just as with the Beijing 2008 Summer Games, the Olympic family has put its faith in Beijing again to deliver the athlete-centred, sustainable and economical Games we have promised.
“This will be a memorable event at the foot of the Great Wall for the whole Olympic Family, the athletes and the spectators that will further enhance the tremendous potential to grow winter sports in our country, in Asia and around the world.”
The Games taking place “at the foot of the Great Wall” refers to Zhangjiakou, where most of the mountain events such as skiing will take pace. The venue is set in the Yin Mountains of Hebei province, almost 200km from Beijing, but concerns have been raised about a lack of sufficient natural snow in the area.
For Almaty, the decision will come as a bitter disappointment. Despite being up against a strong opponent, the Kazakh team had high hopes that the city’s position in the foothills of the Tian Shan Mountains and excellent winter sports facilities would convince IOC members. Sadly for Almaty, it fell just three votes short of the winning post.
Recent Winter Olympics:
2022: Beijing, China
2018: Pyeongchang, South Korea
2014: Sochi, Russia
2010: Vancouver, Canada
2006: Turin, Italy