2022 Winter Olympics Bid: Beijing Wins Yet Again ​
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2022 Winter Olympics Bid: Beijing Wins Yet Again ​

Is Beijing deserving of hosting a second Olympics, and the first to host both the Summer and Winter Olympics, in a span of just 14 years?

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2022 Winter Olympics Bid: Beijing Wins Yet Again ​
The Beijinger

Last Friday, July 31st, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted 44-40 in favor of Beijing, China to host the 2022 Winter Olympics. Beijing will become just the first city in Olympic history to host both the Summer (2008) and Winter Olympics (2022). This is an incredible achievement, but one that initially comes as a surprise to a city like Beijing.

In November of 2013 the IOC revealed the six applicant cities for the 2022 Winter Olympics. However, over the next year four cities—Krakow, Poland; Lviv, Ukraine; Oslo, Norway; and Stockholm, Sweden—would each drop out of the running one by one mostly due to political turmoil and low public support. Many locals fear the high taxes and public funds that are used to put on a grand Olympics. Costs have skyrocketed to numbers like the 44 billion dollar 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 51 billion dollar 2014 Sochi Olympics. Therefore, we were left with two remaining cities—Almaty, Kazakhstan and Beijing, China.

Almaty is the largest city and most prominent financial district in all of Kazakhstan. This is the second time that Almaty has bid for the Winter Olympics after falling short four years prior for the 2018 Winter Olympics selection. The fact that Kazakhstan, a relative unknown to most of the world, is bidding for an Olympic selection shows the timely progression the nation has made since its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

The city of Almaty is located in the Tian Shan mountain range, which has plenty of snow almost all year long. Almaty used as its Olympic slogan “Keeping It Real” in order to emphasize that the city actually receives real snow in the winter, something that Beijing lacks for the most part. Although Almaty may not have the infrastructure and know-how to efficiently support a large scale event like the Olympics, it made a point of mentioning that all of the events and facilities would be centrally located within a 20 mile radius of the city. And, Almaty has experience hosting big sporting events like the 2011 Asian Winter Games and the upcoming 2017 Winter Universiade, a global competition for student athletes in cold-weather sports. Surely the entire country would have united if Almaty were to have received the Olympic bid.

Beijing is the capital of China and reins as one of the top 20 most economically powerful cities in the world. At a population of 21 million people, there are more people living in Beijing than in all of Kazakhstan, which has a population of only 18 million people in total. Beijing has Olympic experience having hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics, but this is the Winter Olympics bid selection. The city of Beijing is not located near a big mountain range and there is hardly any snowfall in the month of February, when the Winter Olympics typically takes place. Beijing’s air pollution may also pose a serious problem—are we more likely to see a blue sky or snow on the ski mountains? And why is Beijing’s Olympic slogan “Joyful Rendezvous Upon Pure Ice and Snow” when the city will have to rely on artificial snow, not to mention that is too long a slogan to be catchy. In addition, athletes will have to travel 100 miles north to compete in Zhangjiakou for the various skiing events.

Fortunately, Chinese President Xi Jinping assured the IOC in a letter dated December of 2014 that the Olympics games would “ignite the passion of the 1.3 billion Chinese people for Olympic winter sports.” This is easier said than done, but China, and Beijing specifically, is more than adept at fulfilling this tall order. Yes, China has a huge market for sponsorships and marketing. And yes, the games would most likely be objectively more successful in terms of revenue and fanfare if they were held in Beijing rather than Almaty. However, it’s the fact that we have already seen and experienced what Beijing can do with the Olympics a mere seven years ago. When we think back on previous Olympics we remember the big storylines and moments that make the Olympics so special. What is so special about Beijing holding two Olympics in a span of 14 years?

Interestingly, the IOC’s vote was closer than expected when Beijing edged out Almaty by only four points in a final tally of 44-40. This means that Beijing will be the first city in history to host both the Summer and Winter Olympics, a worthy achievement that the record books will remember more than anyone else. For now, all that the David’s of this world can do is sit back and watch the Beijing Goliath do the job at hand.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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