The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Final 3: IOC keeps Almaty, Beijing and Oslo as finalists for 2022 Winter Olympics

  • Print

LAUSANNE, Switzerland - As the IOC sought 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.

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," 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."

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.

He cited a projected $200 million surplus for Russian organizers from February's Winter Olympics in Sochi on their $2 billion operating budget, which covers games costs only.

However, potential host cities — especially in Western Europe — have been scared off by the overall $51 billion price tag for the Sochi Games, even though Russia spent much of that record sum on long-term infrastructure projects. Bach said the IOC must do better in explaining the different budgets.

The 2022 bid race began with six cities, but has been cut in half by the withdrawals of Stockholm; Krakow, Poland; and Lviv, Ukraine. Earlier, potential bids from Switzerland and Germany were abandoned when voters said no in referendums.

In an unusually blunt admission, a top IOC official said the organization was to blame for not better explaining the financing of the games.

"That's the lesson from this campaign here — we lost good cities because of the bad perception of the IOC, the bad perception of how the concept could be done," IOC executive director Gilbert Felli said. "We have to learn our lesson. The one to be blamed is the IOC."

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 per cent margin. Stockholm withdrew in January after Swedish politicians refused to give the bid financial backing.

The Norwegian government will decide this autumn whether to back the Oslo bid. The IOC report cited two recent polls showing only 36 per cent of Norwegians support the project.

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.

___

Follow Stephen Wilson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/stevewilsonap

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Keri Latimer looks for beauty in the dark and the spaces between the notes

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS 070619 LIGHTNING ILLUMINATES AN ABANDONED GRAIN ELEVATOR IN THE VILLAGE OF SANFORD ABOUT 10PM TUESDAY NIGHT AS A LINE OF THUNDERSTORMS PASSED NEAR WINNIPEG JUST TO THE NORTH OF THIS  SITE.
  • May 22, 2012 - 120522  - Westminster United Church photographed Tuesday May 22, 2012 .  John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

How surpised are you by the Bombers’ 4-1 start to the season?

View Results

Ads by Google