Beijing awarded 2022 Winter Olympics to complete Games double

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Beijing has been selected to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, becoming the first city awarded both the winter and summer Games.

Beijing defeated Almaty, Kazakhstan, in a vote of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. The voting numbers were not immediately released.

The Chinese capital, which hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics, came in to the vote as the strong favourite despite its lack of natural snow and winter conditions.

Beijing was seen by the IOC as a safe, reliable choice that also offered vast commercial opportunities in a new winter sports market of more than 300 million people in northern China.

Almaty had hoped to bring the Games to central Asia for the first time but was a lesser-known quantity and viewed as a riskier choice by IOC members.

Kazakh prime minister Karim Massimov made a last-minute impassioned plea for the IOC to be “brave” and give the Games to his country, but it was not enough.

Beijing and Almaty had both been considered longshots when the 2022 bid race opened two years ago.

But they were the only two candidates left after four European cities pulled out for political or financial reasons.

Beijing plans to use several venues from the 2008 Olympics, including the “Bird’s Nest” stadium and “Water Cube” arena.

The snow and sliding events will be at venues in Yangqing and Zhangjiakou, 40 and 90 miles outside Beijing. A planned high-speed rail line to Zhangjiakou is supposed to cut travel time to 50 minutes.

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