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Almaty, Beijing, Oslo make the list for 2022 Olympics




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."

Join the discussion

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R July 07 2014 at 2:04 PM

Hope they go with Oslo!

Flag Reply +5 rate up
Vicki July 07 2014 at 2:13 PM

China doesn't deserve the Olympics.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
Pat July 07 2014 at 1:38 PM

by 2022 ... Olympic (amateur) athletes will probably be BANNED ...

in their replacement will be steroid-injecting paid entertainers

Flag Reply +4 rate up
Rhonda July 07 2014 at 4:03 PM

Beijing again? Didn't we see enough pollution and forced labor last time?

Flag Reply +4 rate up
1 reply
pfjw Rhonda July 07 2014 at 4:23 PM

Clearly, we have not.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
juanelan July 07 2014 at 4:13 PM

It's a corrupt outfit. Not worth the powder to blow them all to HE-Double Toothpicks. It would be far better for the world if all of the money and energy be spent planting trees to absorb the massive carbon footprint that oil producers like Kazakhistan and Norway create, and Oil consumers like China spew. The world needs an Olympiad for today and tomorrow: not for the broadcasters and sports gear companies.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
3 replies
Sparky5229 July 07 2014 at 2:55 PM

Olympics ,a waste of money that could be used for other worth while projects ,so few countries even bother the bid .

Flag Reply +3 rate up
3 replies
davidmapp7 July 07 2014 at 2:48 PM

China will win hands down. they got the $$....many folks will not feel politically comfortable in Kazakhstan or anyplace ending in 'stan'....Norway nice place but not diversified enough like Beijing..

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
JRivers davidmapp7 July 07 2014 at 4:03 PM

I'll grant that China has the money and more important the will to spend it. But diverse? China is no more diverse than Norway. The problem with many countries now is that if there are other problems, think Brazil, then there will be groups to protest the spending of money on a high profile PR effort that will be forgotten and abandonded by the time that year's olympics is over. Only totalitarian governments that squash protest are likely to bid in the future.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
onionson July 07 2014 at 3:47 PM

I'm surprised any country or city still wants to host the Olympics.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
frank.foreman onionson July 08 2014 at 2:58 AM

I'm sorry , did you say the Sex Olympics? You'll have to excuse me , as my selective hearing is acting up again. WHERE ?

Flag Reply 0 rate up
topspin360 July 07 2014 at 4:59 PM

Will the air in China be breathable by 2022, or will the athletes have black lung like coalminers when they return? Kazakstan needs to take care of their terrorist problem , as for Oslo, it's a winner.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
Pllc15 July 07 2014 at 3:41 PM

Can Kazakstan really afford to bid? Russia spent $52 billion for Sochi Olympics equivalent of 1/5 of their GDP.

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4 replies
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