Beijing to host 2022 Winter Olympics, but in what cost?


Congratulations, people of Beijing! You have just won the 2022 Winter Olympics bid. Now, prepare to be disappointed: The costs will be higher and the benefits lower than you think.

The prospect of hosting the Olympics, winter or summer has lost its appeal in recent years as budgets skyrocketed and economic windfalls failed to materialize.

Two events in particular have spooked potential host cities. Russia is thought to have spent an incredible $50 billion on the Sochi Olympics - the most expensive in history. China dropped at least $40 billion on the 2008 Beijing Summer Games.

Concerns over runaway spending wreaked havoc on bidding for 2022, forcing the International Olympic Committee to make changes to the process. Never again, analysts say, does the committee want to be faced with a choice between just two cities, both with major drawbacks.

Beijing suffers from a lack of snow, and air pollution could pose a problem. China will also host some events at Zhangjiakou, about 125 miles from the capital. But it should be able to save some money because it invested so heavily in infrastructure for the 2008 Olympics.

Almaty offered a more compact competition area, and its people have a genuine affinity for winter sports -- but the city is not well known. Both countries are ruled by autocratic governments, and frequently criticized by human rights groups.

It was a final pairing Olympics officials were surely hoping to avoid. In addition to Beijing and Almaty, the initial field consisted of Krakow, Poland; Stockholm, Sweden; Lviv, Ukraine; and Oslo, Norway.






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