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Winter Olympics host to be chosen from a shrinking pool of hopefuls

July 31, 2015 - MALAYSIA

Almaty and Beijing are the finalists to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, a contest with few contenders, and the 128th Session of the International Olympics Committee in Kuala Lumpur will choose the winner.

Beijing wants to win for the distinction of being the first country to host both a summer and winter Olympics.

Oslo, a finalist, dropped out, and several countries dropped out before the final. Japan's problems as host in 2020 explain cities' reluctance to take on hosting. Oslo withdrew its bid in Oct 2014, due to residents' opposition. Krakow and Stockholm withdrew at an earlier stage in the contest. Voters in Munich and Davos-St.Moritz rejected proposals to host the games. The rising cost of hosting the Olympics is among many reasons cited for the rejections. The 2014 Olympics in Sochi, for example, ran up a bill of about US $51 billion, while the 2008 Beijing Games cost nearly US $40 billion.

Tokyo plans a huge makeover of the city ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympics, with 22 new Olympic venues, new infrastructure and redevelopment projects. The plan faces significant opposition, heightened by growing worries about cost. The Economist notes that estimates for the refurbishment of one major stadium have more than doubled as construction and labor costs have soared under Abenomics, Japan's bid to end years of deflation. According to the report, Tokyo's original estimate of ¥409 billion (US $3.7 billion) for the games now looks unrealistic to most critics.

2022 Winter Games bidding process (IOC)

Tokyo's 2020 Olympics: Back to the future (Economist 19 Sep 2014)

Oslo, Almaty and Beijing are three finalists for 2022 Winter Olympics (Washington Post 7 Jul 2014)

Date written/update: 2014-11-10