Beijing was selected to host the 2022 Winter Olympics! Bejing won the votes of the International Olympic Committee by 44-40. Almaty, Kazakhstan came super close as a runner up despite it’s lack of snow. IOC vice president Craig Reedie of Britain said:
“They chose certainty in Beijing. But I don’t think anybody would have believed that the result would have been that close.”
Almaty had hoped to bring the Olympics to Central Asia for the first time, but not many people knew about it, and the IOC members viewed the move as risky. At the last minute the Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Massimov asked the IOC to be brave and give the games to his country, but it just wasn’t enough. IOC vice president John Coates of Australia said:
“Gee, you wouldn’t have picked that close result a few months ago. That address by the prime minister today was brilliantly crafted. I think that’s why it got close. But the size of China, the number of people that are going to be introduced to winter sport now, those were all factors.”
In Beijing, the wonderful news was greeted with lion dancers and confetti canons at a government pep rally at the Bird’s Nest stadium attended by about 500 exclusively invited people.
In Almaty, about 1,000 people gathered on a square to hear the result, including many students and government employees who said they had been ordered to attend by high ups. Once the news arrived, the entire crowd scattered and the event quickly came to a close with not even a speech.
Beijing plans to use several venues from the 2008 Olympics, including the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube arenas. There will be new venues as well also, for the snow and sliding events. These venues will be in Yangqing and Zhangjiakou, 60 and 140 kilometers (40 and 90 miles) outside Beijing. A rail line is going to be built from Bejing to Zhangjiakou and is supposed to cut travel time to 50 minutes.