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Mixed reaction to Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics
Thursday July 30, 2015 - Email this article to a friend

It is the first city to hold the Summer & Winter Games and the first to host a Winter Olympics even though it is not expecting any snow. It won by a narrow margin.

The decision was announced at an IOC meeting in Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia, on Friday.

Beijing vowed to deliver "Games that are joyful and harmonious, Games that are safe and reliable".

"This is a breathtaking moment," said Zhang Haidi, the vice president of Beijing's Bid Committee.

The Chinese capital was thought to be the runaway favourite and a victory from Almaty in Kazakhstan would have come as a huge surprise.

However the voting was surprisingly close in the end - 44 for Beijing and 40 for Almaty. There was 1 abstention.

It was a secret ballot.

The Swiss city of Lausanne will hold the 2020 Youth Winter Olympics.

The result was delayed after there was a problem with the electronic voting on Friday.

The IOC director general, Christophe De Kepper, told the delegates that there had been “interferences with changes of tablets”.

He went on to say that the IOC "doesn't feel comfortable with the integrity of the vote". 

Rumous abounded of an electronic draw but it is reported that Beijing won the first vote too.

The two venues where the skiing and snowboarding events are to be held, Zhangjiakou and Yanqing, are not expecting any natural snowfall.

Zhangjiakou has an average of 20cm of natural snow per year. 

In Yanqing it is 5cm.

So, perhaps the first real winners will be the companies who are awarded the contracts to make all the snow needed.

The image below was taken during an IOC evaluation visit in January with the various race routes marked.

Alpine skiing venueAlpine skiing venue














They have "minimal annual snowfall and for the Games would rely completely on artificial snow," said the IOC Evaluation Committee Report.

It does not seem to have bothered the IOC delegates who voted as the area will have cold temperatures, so all the competitions are expected to take place on artificial snow. 

We reported on the rather odd situation in this preview piece on PlanetSKI.

It explains how many of the events actaully take place on artificial snow anyway as the courses are prepared.

For the athletes the competitions slopes are expected to be in a first class state - there just won't be any snow in the surrounding slopes and areas.

It will though look rather odd.

Nanshan, ChinaSkiing in China
















Almaty made huge emphasis of their real snow.

"Our town is a real winter town, with a real winter sports culture, real nature and real mountains and real snow at the end," said the Almaty bid vice-chairman, Andrey Kryukov.

Many of the other events in China for 2022 such as ice hockey, curling and skating take place indoors.

The bobsleigh and ski jumping can also take place without snow.

"Beijing aims to use the Games to accelerate the development of a new sport, culture and tourism area, and to encourage interest in winter sports in a region that is home to more than 300 million people in northern China," said the International Olympic Committee in a statement.

It will bring a huge boost to skiing and snowboarding in China that is already on the increase.

It is one of the reasons The Games were awarded to Beijing along with its past Olympic experience and promise to clean up the toxic air in the capital.

The images below were taken by PlanetSKI reader, Benedict Lapeyrere, when she lived and skied in China a few years ago.

Nanshan, ChinaNanshan, China
















Nanshan, ChinaNanshan, China
















Beijing and Almaty were considered outsiders when the 2022 bid race opened two years ago.

But a host of European cities pulled out due to a lack of public support as we reported earlier.

There has been some criticism of the decision by human rights groups.

"The Olympic motto of 'higher, faster, and stronger' is a perfect description of the Chinese government's assault on civil society: more peaceful activists detained in record time, subject to far harsher treatment," said the China director of Human Rights Watch, Sophie Richardson.

The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics will be split between three sites: one in the city itself, another in the city of Zhangjiakou, 125 miles from Beijing in Hebei province and a third in Yanqing, a mountainous region northwest of Beijing.

Beijing's proposed budget for the Olympic villages, sports venues and other infrastructure is $1.5 billion.

"The proposed operational budget should be fully offset by revenue from ticket sales, marketing sponsorships and other income. Thanks to an additional contribution from the IOC of approximately $880m to support the staging of the Olympic Winter Games in 2022, Beijing is confident that it will either break even or make a profit," said the IOC.

Beijing issued a statement after its victory.

"We are honoured and humbled by the International Olympic Committee's decision to award Beijing the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. It is with an incredible sense of excitement that we express our thanks to the IOC and the wider Olympic Movement.

Just as with the Beijing 2008 Summer Games, the Olympic Family has put its faith in Beijing again to deliver the athlete-centred, sustainable and economical Games we have promised.

This will be a memorable event at the foot of the Great Wall for the whole Olympic Family, the athletes and the spectators that will further enhance the tremendous potential to grow winter sports in our country, in Asia and around the world.

We would like to congratulate Almaty 2022 for their campaign.

We wish to thank once again all the Chinese people and people around the world who have supported Beijing 2022 in this extraordinary Bid journey.

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of our devoted athlete Ambassadors, experts and all who contributed to this victory."

We will bring you further reaction later on PlanetSKI.

The lack of snow has already been seized upon by some. 

The spoof web site Daily Mash reports that Qatar has been selected to host the 2026 Winter Olympics; see here for that story. Wink

For the spirit of the mountains

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