Beijing to host 2022 Winter Olympics
Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Beijing has been announced as the host city for the 2022 Winter Olympics, beating Almaty in Kazakhstan. The decision was announced at an IOC meeting in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur.
Beijing, which hosted the 2008 Olympics, was the favourite as it bids to become the first city to stage both summer and winter games. Almaty sees the Olympics as a way to help raise Kazakhstan’s profile on the international stage.
The Almaty delegation was led by Kazakhstan Prime Minister Karim Massimov. Beijing’s team was headed by Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong.
Two retired sports stars – former NBA player Yao Ming and two-time grand slam tennis champion Li Na – will appear on behalf of Beijing, while Sochi Olympic figure skating bronze medalist Denis Ten is on the Almaty team.
The IOC was faced with two starkly different choices: Beijing offers the experience and some venues from the 2008 Olympics, but lacks natural snow or winter conditions, while lesser-known Almaty boasts a mountain setting with plenty of natural snow.
Beijing would use several venues from the 2008 Summer Olympics, including the “Bird’s Nest” stadium and “Water Cube” arena. Its mountain events would be held at venues in Yanqing and Zhangjiakou, 60 and 140 kilometers (40 and 90 miles) away from the city.
In contrast to Almaty, Beijing would rely heavily on artificial snow. Chinese officials insist they have plenty of water supplies and snow-making equipment to provide excellent conditions.