By The Associated Press | The Canadian Press
LAUSANNE, Switzerland - Six candidates from Europe and Asia – including two former Summer Olympic host cities – are in the running to host the 2022 Winter Games. The International Olympic Committee released the official list of bid cities on Friday after the deadline for applications had passed.
The candidates – all previously announced in their own countries – are: Almaty, Kazakhstan; Beijing; Krakow, Poland; Lviv, Ukraine; Oslo, Norway; and Stockholm. Krakow is bidding jointly with the mountain resort of Jasna in neighbouring Slovakia. Beijing hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics and Stockholm held the 1912 Games. Oslo hosted the 1952 Winter Olympics. Beijing’s bid envisions hosting snow events in the northern Chinese city of Zhangjiakou, while Stockholm plans to have the Alpine skiing in the northern Swedish resort of Are, more than 600 kilometres (400 miles) away. Oslo would hold Alpine events in Lillehammer, which hosted the highly successful 1994 Winter Games.
The winning city will be selected in 2015.
The IOC said the 2022 field “includes a strong mix of both traditional and developing winter sports markets” and “highlights the keen interest cities around the world have in the games and the lasting benefits and legacy they can bring to a region.”
The field has twice as many candidates as there were for the 2018 Winter Games, when the South Korean resort of Pyeongchang defeated Munich and Annecy, France. “These cities and their supporters clearly understand the benefits that hosting the games can have and the long lasting legacy that a games can bring to a region,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in a statement. “Indeed, while recent games have left an array of sporting, social, economic and other legacies for the local population, many cities that did not go on to win the right to host the games have also noted benefits as a result of their bids.”
The IOC did not mention that potential 2022 bids from two traditional European winter sports countries were rejected by voters. Last week, voters in Bach’s home country of Germany said no to another bid from Munich, citing financial and environmental concerns. In March, Switzerland dropped its candidacy from St. Moritz, the 1928 and ‘48 host, when voters in the region refused to support it amid concerns over costs and disruption.
Friday’s announcement marks the first phase of a long bid campaign.
The six cities will be invited to a seminar in Lausanne from Dec. 4-6 to participate in an observer program for February’s Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. The candidates must submit their detailed bid files to the IOC by March 14. The IOC executive board will decide which cities go through to the final round in a meeting next July 8-9. The finalists will have to present their bid documents and financial guarantees by January 2015. An IOC evaluation commission will visit the cities in February and March 2015. The IOC will select the host city by secret ballot on July 31, 2015, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.