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The International Olympic Committee, this morning, named Beijing as the host city for the 2022 Winter Olympics making it the first city to host both a Summer and Winter Games—and within 14 years, at that.
With a proposed budget of $1.5 billion (U.S.), Beijing plans to use much of the same infrastructure it built for the Summer Games in 2008—such as the Bird’s Nest stadium. With that as a headstart, Beijing anticipates breaking even or making profit after hosting the Games. We’ll see.
But with costs of staging a Winter Olympics now hitting more than a billion dollars, marquee destinations are no longer lining up to land the international house party. The question remains: Have the Olympic Games, and the Winter Olympics in particular, lost their allure?
For the 2022 Winter Games, for instance, well-known potential hosts, including Oslo and Stockholm, withdrew their bids after public opposition to the high costs in today’s strugglng world economy. Potential host cities (and nations) realize all too well that the return on the huge infrastructure investment is questionable, with the political costs high if they’re left to deal with the debt after the Olympic flame is extinguished. The previous two Winter Olympics were in Vancouver, Canada (2010) and Sochi, Russia (2014). Pyeongchang, South Korea, will host the 2018 Games.
“Just as with the Beijing 2008 Summer Games, the Olympic Family has put its faith in Beijing again to deliver the athlete-centered, sustainable, and economical Games we have promised,” the Beijing Bid Committee says in a statement.
As for specific sports disciplines, that doesn’t need to be decided until roughly 2020, and will depend, in part, on what events take place at the 2018 Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. Here’s the full host-city contract.
Beijing, China, was chosen over Almaty, Kazakhstan in a vote of 44-40.