By a razor thin margin, Beijing will be the first city to host both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games.
Beijing defeated lone opponent, Almaty, Kazakhstan, in a single round of voting by the International Olympic Committee, 44 votes to 40.
Chinese basketball legend, Yao Ming, delivered a strong performance, playing a pivotal role in Beijing’s winning presentation. Other representatives of the Beijing delegation included Chinese Vice Premier, Liu Yandong, Bid Committee President and Beijing Mayor, Wang Anshun, IOC Vice President, Yu Zaiqing, and two-time Olympic champion and IOC member, Yang Yang.
Despite considerable concern over lack of natural snow, distant venues, pollution issues and limited winter sports hosting experience, Beijing 2022 apparently provided the answers that the IOC wanted to hear.
Having competently staged the 2008 Summer Games, Beijing, with its staunch government backing, financial resources and familiarity amongst IOC members, proved itself as a safe and reliable choice.
As the world’s most populous nation and a rising global giant with an enormous economy, China offers the IOC tremendous commercial potential.
The Chinese government has also pledged to inspire a new generation – 300 million citizens – to participate in skiing and winter sport, a highly ambitious campaign that might have played a role in Beijing’s victory.
The historic victory for Beijing came on the opening day of the 128th IOC Session in the Malaysian capital.
The triumphant bid will now enable Beijing to proceed with construction of outdoor venues, three Olympic villages and a high-speed train, which will link the capital city to two mountain clusters, Yanqing and Zhangjiakou.
Yanqing, situated 80 kilometers north of Beijing, will be home to alpine skiing and sliding sports, while Zhangjiakou, which is nearly 200 kilometers away, will host freestyle skiing, snowboarding and Nordic events.
Cross-country skiers will race nearby the Great Wall, which may conjure indelible images.
Beijing will be home to all ice hockey and skating events, with the opening ceremony staged in the iconic Bird’s Nest Stadium, the centre of the Beijing 2008 Olympics.
Written and reported in Kuala Lumpur by Around the Ring’s reporter, Brian Pinelli
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