The Chinese capital received 44 votes, beating the Central Asian city by only 4 ballots, and is set to become the first city in Olympic history to host both summer and winter editions of the Olympic Games. The vote took place in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur.
The race to host the 2022 Winter Olympics was anything than smooth, as many of the original candidates and favorites such as Oslo, Stockholm and Krakow bowed out because of public pressure and concerns over the expensive nature of the event. The last edition, held in the Russian city of Sochi in 2014, was the most expensive sports event in history, costing over $51 billion.
In the end, the IOC’s choice had to be made between a country with proven capabilities, but a faint tradition in winter sports and which would rely more on artificial snow, and another which is a still developing economy, with little experience in hosting major sporting events but with climate and natural conditions on its side.
The decision shouldn’t be surprising, as heavy criticism is thrown out nowadays against major sports events such as the Olympics and FIFA World Cup which leave countries with a major budget dent. China, on the other hand, already has most of the required infrastructure in place from the 2008 Olympics, and a hefty investment would not have too much of an impact on its economic prowess.
China hopes that this announcement might win back some of the foreign and domestic investor confidence which has been lost during its recent stock market plunge. Olympic Games seldom bring with them a great amount of sponsor and investor interest due to the wide global audiences it reaches, while nothing shows the strength of a country’s economy more than an explosion in new infrastructure projects.
Its current stock market crisis is continuing though, as after temporarily halting its historic share fall of over 30 per cent in shares which started about three weeks ago, another plummet hit the country last week as the Shanghai stock exchange went down by 8.5 per cent in a single day. Analysts predict that the government is going to continue to focus investments to alleviate the situation as quickly as possible.
Image Source: NBC