Underdog Almaty out to upset mighty Beijing for 2022 Games

Sat Jul 25, 2015 6:09am EDT
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By Karolos Grohmann

BERLIN (Reuters) - Global metropolis Beijing will go head-to-head with the little-known Kazakh city of Almaty for the right to host the 2022 winter Olympics when the International Olympic Committee elects the winner at its session in Malaysia next week.

Beijing, which hosted the 2008 summer Games, is looking to become the first city to be awarded both summer and winter editions of the world's biggest multi-sports event.

Victory for Beijing would also mean that Asia would host three consecutive Olympics after the 2018 winter Games in Pyeongchang in South Korea and Tokyo's 2020 summer Olympics.

A clear frontrunner in the race with even Almaty consultants admitting their bid is the underdog, Beijing banks on its 2008 Olympic experience to convince the 100-plus IOC members in Kuala Lumpur on July 31.

"We are competing against a very formidable Beijing. To be honest, we’re considered a long shot. An underdog," Almaty consultant Terrence Burns wrote in his blog this week.

State-of-the-art venues, including the iconic Bird's Nest stadium, will be used, easing any concerns about preparedness, with China's economic clout further boosting its chances.

Yet not all is working in Beijing's favor, including the fact that sliding and skiing events are to be staged in two mountain sites 74 and 180 kilometers away respectively.

China will also be counting on snow-making machines as it cannot guarantee sufficient snow.   Continued...

People walk past a installation in the shape of a fan bearing the bidding logo of Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, in front of the National Aquatics Center, also known as the Water Cube, in Beijing, China, February 15, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer