As the IOC settles into its Candidate Cities Briefing at Lake Geneva this month, Almaty and Beijing are fielding questions and making their final arguments as to why their city should host the 2022 Winter Olympics. During these meetings, IOC officials will fully examine the current bids and ask the bid cities questions concerning their viability as an Olympic host city and country.
Since the initial bids came out in 2014, the 2022 Olympics have drawn negative headlines due to some of the initial frontrunners pulling out of the race due to lack of public support. Some of the initial cities vying for an Olympic bid included Oslo, Krakow, and Stockholm. However, It seems that the price tag on the most recent Winter Olympics in Sochi scared off many of these potential host cities.
Consequently, the IOC is left with two cities to choose from, both of which are politically controversial.
So now we wait and see who it will be… Almaty or Beijing?
Olympic Visions and Realities
Almaty’s Olympic vision is as follows; “Almaty’s vision for the Games is rooted in the desire to accelerate economic and social reforms; build on the country’s winter sports heritage; and showcase the positive aspects of Almaty and Kazakhstan.”
Almaty, which is located at the base of the Thien Shan Mountains in Kazakhstan, is currently offering the most consistent winter conditions. However, with the oil market down and private investment a requirement to make the games happen in Kazakhstan, it seems that Almaty is too unstable to be a frontrunner at this time.
Beijing on the other hand, offers the economic stability and power that are required from a host city. Their Olympic vision is as follows; “Beijing’s vision for the Games seeks to incorporate winter sports into people’s lives, with the ultimate goal of improving overall fitness and health. Beijing 2022 has offered a regional concept intended to develop a winter sports market for more than 300 million people in northern China.”
However, the biggest concern among the IOC concerning Beijing is their lack of snow. According to reports, the mountain group of Zhangjiakou and Yanqing receive a marginal annual snowfall, requiring a massive man-made snow operation to successfully host the games.
Yet, even with its lack of snowfall, Beijing is still considered by most as the clear frontrunner and we will wait and see if that is in fact the case in the upcoming week(s).
The Full Report of the 2022 Evaluation Committee can be found here.