Beijing has defeated Almaty, Kazakhstan to host the 2022 Winter Olympics by majority vote, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has just announced, making the Chinese capital the first city to host both winter and summer games.
Eighty-four members of the IOC concluded their voting after olympic representatives for Beijing and partner city Zhangjiakou made their final presentation today. It was a close race, but Beijing took the lead with 44 votes versus Almaty’s 40.
The announcement comes after a 21-month long campaign that saw only two candidates duke it out after four European cities dropped out of the race. Beijing and Almaty were both considered unlikely runners, notably due to the latter’s lack of snow. Presenters today, however, did assure the IOC that “our snowmaking will be sustainable.”
According to the Associated Press:
Beijing was seen by the IOC as a safe, reliable choice that also offered vast commercial opportunities in a new winter sports market of more than 300 million people in northern China.
Almaty had hoped to bring the games to Central Asia for the first time, but was a lesser-known quantity and viewed as a riskier choice by IOC members. Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Massimov made a last-minute impassioned plea for the IOC to be “brave” and give the games to his country, but it wasn’t enough.
The contest was a study in contrasts between the world’s most populous nation and a former Soviet republic seeking to establish itself on the world stage. China’s size and political and economic might was a big advantage against its northwestern neighbor, which became independent in 1991.
Beijing plans on using venues built for the 2008 games for indoor events, while outdoor competitions will be held in Yanqing and Zhangjiakou, located 55 miles away from the capital. China is expected to pour a princely 3.1 billion USD into the games.
Watch the announcement here:
Aaaand some clips from the Beijing committee’s presentation today, including speeches from Chinese Winter Olympic medalists Yang Yang and Li Nina, famous CCTV host Yang Lan and even an appearance (televised) from Xi Daddy himself.
Xinhua is happy.
Beijing WINter Olympic Games 2022, Joyful Rendezvous upon Pure Ice and Snow! pic.twitter.com/XtQZ7YR14q
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) July 31, 2015