Friday morning in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the International Olympic Committee narrowly selected Beijing as the host city for the 2022 Winter Games.
The 85 votes were shared between two candidate cities, Almaty, Kazakhstan and the winner Beijing - the capital of China becoming the first city ever to be awarded both a summer (in 2008) and winter Olympic Games.
According to IOC Media, the final tally was 44-40 in favour of Beijing, with one abstention.
IOC president Thomas Bach announced the host city at the 128th Session of the organization. Following Rio 2016, three consecutive Olympic Games will be staged in East Asia with Pyeongchang, Tokyo and now Beijing set to alternate between winter and summer ventures every two years through 2022.
Bach thanked both candidate cities for embracing Agenda 2020, the IOC president’s recommendations for improving the bidding and hosting of Olympic Games with lower costs and greater transparency, prior to the official presentations.
Almaty opened its final pitch reminding the Session in a video it is a “modern metropolis with the romance of the Silk Road” and a legacy of winter sports is “part of its very nature” as joint host of Asian Winter Games in 2011, and soon to welcome the 2017 Winter Universiade.
Beijing countered with a delegation that included former National Basketball Association superstar Yao Ming, and multiple Olympic medallists on stage. The bid promoted China’s population of 1.3 billion people - world’s largest market - ready to build “a foundation” for winter sports. It also reminded the audience that Beijing has been a “trusted” Olympic host in the recent past.
Ultimately, it was likely that Beijing’s Olympic experience and organization edged Almaty’s ambition and winter preparedness by four votes to land the contested Games of 2022.
Additionally on Friday, Lausanne, Switzerland was awarded the 2020 Youth Olympic Winter Games, beating Brasov, Romania 71-10 in voting. Lausanne will follow Lillehammer 2016 (winter) and Buenos Aires 2018 (summer) as the next Youth Olympics host.
Story from the Canadian Olympic Committee Website | Olympic.ca
Photo: IOC Media