Beijing Is Handed an Olympic First

Sorry, Kazakhstan
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 31, 2015 6:06 AM CDT
Updated Jul 31, 2015 6:55 AM CDT
Beijing Wins 2022 Olympics
Members of the delegation from Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics react after the city was elected to host the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Friday, July 31, 2015.   (AP Photo/Vincent Thian, Pool)

It's almost like pollution-free countries don't have a shot anymore: The choice for the 2022 Winter Olympics came down to China vs. Kazakhstan, and China was today awarded the games, which Xi Jinping vowed would be "fantastic, extraordinary, and excellent," reports the Guardian. The Beijing Games would "boost exchanges and mutual understanding between the Chinese and other civilizations of the world," Xi noted before the win, presumably in a way not seen since it hosted the Summer Games in 2008. Left out in the cold by today's IOC announcement in Kuala Lumpur was Almaty, Kazakhstan. It was a tight race, notes NBC News, with Beijing receiving 44 votes to Almaty's 40 in the secret vote, making Beijing the only city to have been handed summer and winter games.

The jockeying appeared to take on a hint of third grade, with Almaty noting that Beijing isn't exactly known for scads of what might be considered a key component of a winter Games: snow, which China pledged to manufacture if need be. "Keeping it real" was Almaty's slogan, with a promo video promising "Real snow, real winter ambiance, real winter games." Meanwhile, the victor says it will split the 2022 Games between the cities of Zhangjiakou, Yanqing, and Beijing itself, which NBC News describes as "three clusters over 100 miles." And again partying like it was 2008, the Chinese capital literally promised to clean up its pollution problem. One element of recycling: China says it will again use Bird's Nest Stadium, from its 2008 Games, for opening and closing ceremonies. (More 2008 Beijing Olympics stories.)

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