You may not know this, but Beijing is bidding to host the Winter Olympics in 2022. I must admit the first time I heard this, I had to stifle a laugh. Shouldn’t a Winter Olympics host city have, well, snow? Yes, it does (on occasion) snow in Beijing, but if any of it stays on the ground for 24 hours or longer, it turns black from the coal dust in the air. And yes, there are mountains that surround Beijing, but they don’t get much snow either. Beijing ski “resorts” consist of one or two snow-covered runs (man-made snow) on an otherwise completely brown and barren hillside.
Oslo dropped out of the bidding last month, leaving the IOC with the task of deciding between Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan. Yes, you read that right. Here’s how Dan Balz, writing for Yahoo Sports puts it:
The effect is the bidding for the 2022 Winter Games, which is now down to just two cities. The final vote comes next summer.
There’s Beijing, China, which doesn’t actually sit within 120 miles of a usable ski mountain, and there’s Almaty, Kazakhstan, which in its bid touted itself as “the world’s largest landlocked nation.”
It’s down to these two cities not because the IOC narrowed the field, but because every other city in the entire world said no.
Seriously, every other city said no.
Here, my friends, is the promotional video the Beijing Committee released last week (go here if you can’t see it in an email):
There are no words!
In case you’re wondering what it was like in Beijing during the 2008 Olympic Games, you can check out my archived blog posts: