Why Beijing is hosting the Olympics again

The Beijing Winter Olympics kicked off in less than two months and have been the target of a diplomatic boycott by the United States, which could be followed by other countries.

So how did Beijing land at the Winter Olympics shortly after the 2008 Summer Olympics were held? By doing so, it will be the first city in Olympic history to host both the Winter and Summer Olympics.

The answer is simple. Potential European cities (as many as six) have dropped out of bids in the wake of the 2014 Winter Olympics, which was hit by a doping scandal in Sochi, Russia. The widely advertised Sochi $ 51 billion price tag also surprised future bidders.

When the voting stage was reached at a conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2015, the International Olympic Committee had only two candidates left, Beijing and Almaty in Kazakhstan.

Beijing won 44-40. This was a close vote that was spoiled by suggesting that some at the time may have been voting irregularly. IOC President Thomas Bach was indignant at the proposal.

What city or region has withdrawn from the 2022 bid race?

The list of rejections from cities across Europe is long. Oslo and Stockholm are two well-known cities that withdrew during the bidding process. Krakow in Poland and Lviv in Ukraine also withdrew their bids.

Two other areas with potentially strong bids-St. Moritz, Switzerland and Munich were rejected in a referendum in a voter vote. Germany’s rejection was a devastating blow to Bach from Germany. It is also worth noting that the IOC headquarters is in Switzerland.

Oslo and Stockholm were probably considered priority venues as the IOC tried to return the Olympics to traditional European winter venues, but withdrew due to cost and politics.

Norwegians and IOC officials also exchanged public thorns about each other’s dissatisfaction in 2014.

One person was “luxury” after leaking details of the request to the bid city for IOC members, such as a cocktail reception with the King of Norway, the use of private road lanes, and specific requests for fruits and cakes in hotel rooms. I expressed it as. Congressman.

IOC executives argued that the decision to withdraw Oslo was based on “half the truth and factual inaccuracies.”

In an interview in 2014, Bach admitted that the Winter Olympics were not selling well.

“The number of winter candidates is already very limited geographically,” he said. “We also cannot forget that this is a difficult time for the world economy.”

Beijing or Almaty?

The choice of IOC members resulted in two authoritarian governments, Beijing and Almaty, which did not require public voting and had few restrictions on spending.

Beijing has spent more than $ 40 billion on the 2008 Summer Olympics.

The organizers of Almaty at the time said that 79% of the citizens supported the bid in promoting the proposal. Beijing said 94.8 percent of China was in favor.

Almaty tried to win the vote, remembering that it was a winter sports city surrounded by mountains and natural snow. It was a bargain in Beijing with no winter sports tradition and little natural snow in the area chosen for skiing events.

Beijing and some IOC members argued that skiers actually prefer snowmaking. The IOC also saw Beijing as a huge winter sports business opportunity.

Beijing won a second attempt using paper voting paper with four votes, which was said to be much closer than expected. The first attempt at electronic voting was abolished due to technical issues.

IOC members chose what they believed was a low-risk option, but found that it wasn’t.

“It’s a really safe choice,” said IOC President Bach at the time. “We know that China will fulfill its promise.”

At that time, the IOC’s choice was sharply criticized by human rights groups, noting that the 2008 Olympics did not improve China’s rights situation.

What was the fallout?

Narrowing down to two candidates wasn’t the best choice, but it shocked the IOC. This was part of the reason why the IOC did not go through a long bidding process to choose a host city. Bach said there were too many “losers” in the bidding process at the time.

In addition, it was embarrassing for the IOC to explain why voters refused to host the Olympics, especially the smaller Winter Olympics. The bidding process was also tainted by scandals over the awards of the 2016 and 2020 Summer Olympics. In this scandal, IOC members allegedly received bribes for voting.

The bid for the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics was also hit by a scandal.

Under the new IOC process of choosing a venue, about 100 IOC members no longer vote. The choice is made by the leadership led by Bach. The IOC has already selected a venue for the Olympic Games by 2032.

They are Paris in 2024. 2026 Milan-Cortina, Italy; 2028 Los Angeles; 2032 Australia, Brisbane. The only free space is the 2030 Winter Olympics, and Sapporo, Japan seems to be the most promising candidate. The IOC does not indicate when that selection will be made.

Steven Wade

Associated Press