Xinhua is gleefully reporting that Beijing and Zhengjiakou have applied to be the home of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, but don’t get your hopes up: a combination of smog, pollution, smog, smog, and South Korea will likely put the kibosh on China’s wintry Olympic dreams.
When Beijing hosted the Olympics in 2008, it hadn’t yet become an international poster-child for PM2.5, and don’t even get us started on Zhangjiakou in Hebei, the absolute smog-capital of the entire country. Nevertheless, pollution is just one reason why China may be passed over for 2022, as Xinhua reports while choking back tears:
[Beijing Sports Bureau chief Li Yingchuan] admitted that Beijing has its only weak point, which is pollution.
“But the government has already started to tackle the problem,” said Li. “I believe in 10 years the situation will be much better.”
Li said Beijing’s chances would be affected by the fact that Pyeongchang of South Korea is to host the 2018 Winter Games.
“There is a rotation rule, though unwritten, in the bid. Since Pyeongchang won the 2018 bid, Beijing as another Asian city will face a daunting task to beat the odds,” Li said.
The actual selection process doesn’t end until July, 2015, so expect to hear a lot more about the Olympics every time China needs to rile up some national pride and/or be angsty at South Korea.