Beijing chosen to host 2022 Winter Olympics

By Ella Wong, July 31, 2015

0 0

99.5% of China is now rejoicing at the news that the Olympics are returning to the capital and the ever-so-close co-host of Zhangjiakou, a trifling 100 miles away (or 52.5 blink-and-you’ll-miss-them minutes on the high-speed train).

Beijing winter olympics 2022

Beijing has been on tenterhooks all week awaiting the decision from the International Olympic Committee that would determine whether China’s capital would become the first city in Olympic history to host both the summer and winter games. Under the slogan “Joyful Rendezvous Upon Pure Ice and Snow,” Beijing nudged out Kazakhstan's biggest city of Almaty by 44 votes to 40. There was one abstention.

The IOC was, of course, well aware that the 2008 Summer Olympic host knows how to put on a show and, more importantly, isn’t afraid to throw some serious cash and government muscle at the myriad challenges of staging a successful event; Beijing has even promised to make the sky blue and the snow fall.

Beijing Winter Olympics 2022

When Beijing first launched its joint bid with neighboring Zhangjiakou to host the 2022 Winter Olympics in November 2013, China was facing off against serious-looking competition in the form of Oslo, Stockholm, Krakow and Lviv. But due to budget and security concerns, not to mention a general lack of enthusiasm among residents ("mei wenti!" says China), all of Europe’s competitor cities dropped out, leaving only the Kazakh city of Almaty to stand in the way of the Chinese bid.

But while Beijing – considered the safe choice – initially looked to be the clear frontrunner, Almaty fought back with its “Keeping it Real” slogan, a sly dig at Beijing’s shortfall of snow.

Although Beijing could offer successful 2008 venues like the Bird’s Nest and the Water Cube to host indoor skating events, the bigger question was always going to be the outdoor slope events hosted almost a hundred miles away in Zhangjiakou – itself a rather snow-bereft location.

In their final presentation to the IOC this afternoon, Beijing brought out the big guns to convince the 85 IOC voters to back the PRC. Basketball star Yao Ming said, "Everyone in China is getting into winter sports," he said. "Including myself."

Yao Ming

Indeed, the promise of way more skiers and skaters than ever before seemed to be the crux of China’s argument.

"Hosting the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing will encourage 300 million Chinese, particularly the country's young people, to participate in ice and snow sports," Vice Premier Liu Yandong said.

As to criticisms that China just isn’t wintery enough, Beijing mayor Wang Anshun said, "China in winter is spectacular. More than half of our country experiences temperatures below freezing."

Convincing stuff. Who needs real snow anyway?

// Check out our exploration of the Olympic grounds at Zhangjiakou here.

more news

Beijing in the bidding to host the 2022 Winter Olympics

Chinese capital would become first city to hold both summer and winter games.

This Day in History: China Star Li Ning Shines at 1984 Olympics

Defying a Soviet Union-led boycott, Li Ning earns the nickname Prince of Gymnasts.

This Week in History: The Marco Polo Bridge Incident

On July 7, 1937, the cataclysmic event that led to the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War.

New Film 'The Six' Tells Untold Titanic Chinese Survivors' Story

Arthur Jones' new documentary gets nationwide release this Friday.

This Week in History: China Ends the Eunuch Era

Finally banned in 1924, the system had endured for over 3,000 years and through 25 dynasties.

Like a Literati: How to Enjoy Suzhou's Gardens

Step into a traditional Chinese landscape painting.

PHOTOS: Take a Look at the Real Santa's Workshop

How your Christmas decorations are made.

0 User Comments

In Case You Missed It…

We're on WeChat!

Scan our QR Code at right or follow us at thatsonline for events, guides, giveaways and much more!

7 Days in China With

Weekly updates to your email inbox every Wednesday


Download previous issues

Never miss an issue of That's Magazines!

Visit the archives