In case you are one of the millions of people world-wide who are scratching their heads at how Beijing, a city with virtually no snow and no history of winter sports was chosen to host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, this article in the Christian Science Monitor may help (somewhat):
On Friday, the IOC chose Beijing to host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, making Beijing the first city to host the Winter and Summer Games.
But those in attendance in Kuala Lumpur seemed to know what is now widely apparent: the Olympic movement had already lost.
The IOC cannot sprinkle gold dust onto Friday’s decision: It was a failure of the Olympic bidding process.
In other words, the selection of Beijing was the product of a broken system, one in which fewer and fewer cites seem to be willing to bear the cost of hosting the Games.
Even Bob Costas will not be able to gloss over the fact that Beijing is an excessively odd choice to host a Winter Olympics, as it lacks snow, mountains, or any discernible winter sports tradition. It won because the IOC had no other viable choice.
Yes, Almaty, Kazakhstan – the only city competing with Beijing – has mountains and snow in abundance, but not hotel rooms, or easy air connections to the rest of the world, or a name anyone who is not a subscriber to Foreign Policy magazine has ever heard of.
To choose Almaty would have been to accept an intolerable and potentially impractical contraction of the Olympics’ scope and grandeur.
To choose Beijing would simply be an intolerable inconvenience of time and space, and that is nothing the Chinese government can’t handle.
Like the whole “no snow” thing.
Translation (and apologies to my friends and readers in Almaty): the IOC seemingly had no choice.
When Oslo, Norway, and Krakow, Poland, and Stockholm all pull out of the bidding for reasons similar to Boston’s; when voters in St. Moritz, Switzerland, and Munich reject proposed Olympic bids for reasons similar to Boston’s; and when no one in North America bothers to apply, you end up with – Beijing.
And lest you think this whole “no snow” thing is overblown, here’s a photo of the proposed alpine skiing area, taken in late January:
I’m sorry folks (and I say this as a lover of Beijing), but that’s insane!!