Almaty, Beijing, Oslo make the list for 2022 Olympics

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Almaty, Beijing, Oslo make the list for 2022 Olympics
Sartakov Pavel Albertovich takes a selfie in front of the Olympic Cauldron at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
In this third in a sequence of four images, two seconds after the previous one, Russian President Vladimir Putin turns toward a TV screen in the presidential lounge while waiting to be introduced at the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics on Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. Early in the ceremony, the image on the TV cut to performers after one of the five Olympic rings failed to open. (AP Photo/David Goldman, Pool)
Fans limbo dance under a U.S. flag to celebrate Jamie Anderson's gold medal in the women's snowboard slopestyle final at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
Fans limbo dance under a U.S. flag to celebrate Jamie Anderson's gold medal in the women's snowboard slopestyle final at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
United States' Bode Miller reacts after finishing the men's downhill at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Gero Breloer)
United States' Bode Miller reacts after finishing the men's downhill at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Elena Ilinykh, left, embraces Julia Lipnitskaia of Russia, second from left, after she and Nikita Katsalapov of Russia competed in the team free ice dance figure skating competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, Pool)
Julia Lipnitskaia of Russia watches Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov of Russia compete in the team free ice dance figure skating competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, Pool)
Julia Lipnitskaia of Russia gestures to spectators in the results area after competing in the women's team free skate figure skating competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, Pool)
Nothing like tweeting with William Shatner this morning. http://t.co/eyFMi42XMy
Women's moguls medalists from left, Hannah Kearney of the United States, bronze, Canada's Justine Dufour-Lapointe, gold, and her sister silver medalist Chloe Dufour-Lapointe pose during their medal ceremony at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Women's moguls freestyle skiing gold medalist Justine Dufour-Lapointe of Canada smiles while followed by her sister silver medalist Chloe Dufour-Lapointe during their medals ceremony at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Canada's Justine Dufour-Lapointe, center, bites her gold medal while flanked by bronze medalist Hannah Kearney of the United States, left, and her sister silver medalist Chloe Dufour-Lapointe during their medals ceremony for the women's moguls at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Canada's Justine Dufour-Lapointe, right, is congratulated by her sister, Chloe, after taking first place in the women's moguls final at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. Justine won the gold medal and Chloe took the silver. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Canada's Justine Dufour-Lapointe, right, celebrates her gold medal in the women's moguls final, with her sister and silver medalist Chloe Dufour-Lapointe, left, at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Afghan President Hamid Karzai, right, waits to order a coffee in the presidential lounge before the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/David Goldman, Pool)
Exterior view of hotels and shops at the Rosa Khutor hotel complex are pictured ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
People walk past hotels and shops at the Rosa Khutor hotel complex ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Norway's bronze medal winner Anders Bardal jumps onto the podium as Slovenia's silver medal winner Peter Prevc, left, and Poland's gold medal winner Kamil Stoch, center, applaud after the men's normal hill ski jumping final at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
Norway's Anders Bardal makes his first attempt during the men's normal hill ski jumping final at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
Russia's Olga Vilukhina competes to win the silver medal in the women's biathlon 7.5k sprint, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
Germany's Andrea Henkel prepares to shoot during the women's biathlon 7.5k sprint, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Gero Breloer)
A vendor gives a thumbs up at her merchandising booth at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Gero Breloer)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 09: Thomas Diethart of Austria lands his jump during the Men's Normal Hill Individual first round on day 2 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the RusSki Gorki Ski Jumping Center on February 9, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 09: Jarkko Maeaettae of Finland lands his jump in the Men's Normal Hill Individual Final on day 2 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the RusSki Gorki Ski Jumping Center on February 9, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
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By Stephen Wilson

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) - As the IOC seeks to dispel concerns the Olympics are too expensive, two former host cities and one former also-ran advanced to the final phase Monday in the troubled race for the 2022 Winter Games.

Left with little choice following the previous withdrawal of three candidates, the International Olympic Committee on Monday retained the three cities that were still alive.

The Kazakh city of Almaty, Beijing and Oslo made the list of finalists. Whether Oslo stays in until next year's vote remains uncertain.

The IOC executive board agreed unanimously to approve all three as official candidate cities, rather than cut the field.

"Three is a good number to go forward," IOC vice president John Coates said. "If there was one of those that wasn't of quality we wouldn't have sent it forward."

The candidates must submit their detailed bid files to the IOC by Jan. 7. A panel of experts will then visit the cities next February and March, and the full IOC will decide the winner on July 31, 2015, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

An IOC working group report released Monday gave Oslo the highest technical ratings. The Norwegian capital led in eight of the 14 categories and was tied with Beijing in three. Almaty was last in 11.

Oslo hosted the 1952 Winter Olympics, and Norway held the 1994 Games in Lillehammer. Beijing, which staged the 2008 Olympics, is seeking to become the first city to host both summer and winter games. Almaty bid for the 2014 Winter Games, but failed to make the final short list.

"The IOC is very happy to see three very different approaches with regard to the organization of the games," IOC President Thomas Bach said. "This gives the IOC a choice among three diverse bids with different legacy plans, with different approaches, with different budgets."

Addressing the financial concerns, Bach said the IOC will contribute about $750 million to the host city and expressed confidence that local organizers will break even or make a profit on their operational budget. He cited a projected $200 million surplus for Russian organizers from February's Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Almaty, Beijing and Oslo Make List for 2022 Olympics

Potential host cities, especially in Western Europe, have been scared off by the $51 billion price tag associated with the Sochi Games, even though Russia spent much of that record sum on long-term infrastructure projects for the entire region.

The 2022 bid race began with six cities, but has been cut in half by the withdrawals of Stockholm; Krakow, Poland; and Lviv, Ukraine.

Lviv dropped out a week ago amid the continuing political turmoil in Ukraine. Krakow pulled out in May after Polish voters rejected the bid by a 70 percent margin. Stockholm withdrew in January after Swedish politicians refused to give the bid financial backing.

Potential bids from Switzerland and Germany were abandoned when voters said no in referendums.

The Norwegian government will decide this autumn whether to back the Oslo bid. Polls have shown that more than half the population is opposed.

Bjorn Daehlie, the Norwegian cross-country ski great who won 12 Olympic medals, said Norwegians need to be convinced that the games can be staged for a "reasonable amount of money." He said Bach's recent visit to Norway dispelled some misconceptions.

"They thought all this money went into a big sack in Lausanne and these guys were driving around in these black cars spending this money," he said.

Almaty, the commercial capital of the former Soviet republic in Central Asia, hosted the 2011 Asian Games and will stage the Winter University Games in 2017. It is the by far the least known of the three finalists.

"This is our big challenge," Almaty bid executive board member Andrey Kryukov said.

With Pyeongchang, South Korea, hosting the 2018 Winter Games and Tokyo the 2020 Summer Olympics, Beijing must convince the IOC to send the games to East Asia for a third consecutive time.

"As far as I know there is no geographical rotation rule," said Yang Xiaochao, vice president of the Beijing bid. "There are previous examples of Olympic Games being held continuously on the same continent. What we are trying to do is be the best city for 2022."

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