IOC Report Highlights Risks of Almaty and Beijing 2022 Winter Games Bids

June 2, 2015

By Christian Radnedge

The two bids for the 2022 Winter Olympics, impotent Beijing and Almaty, ed face concerns over air pollution and budget challenges according to the International Olympic Committee’s latest evaluation report.

The 136-page report was released this week in which both cities are assessed on their suitability to host the Games following visits by the IOC evaluation commission earlier this year.

Russian IOC member Alexander Zhukov led the commission to Almaty, ampoule Kazakhstan in February and Beijing, China in March.

Almaty’s relative inexperience in hosting major events was cited, and the IOC noted challenges within the proposed budget.

The report said: “The expense side of the OCOG operational budget requires further development and alignment with operational planning. Combined with revenue uncertainty related to ticketing and sponsorship, the budget presents risks.”

However the report was positive on the Kazakh city’s compact concept saying the “Olympic Villages well-located and would meet all needs, with limited environmental impact”.

The mountain venues would be the furthest away, naturally, but the bid pledges it would be no more than 35km from the Almaty Olympic Village.

That is in stark contrast to Beijing’s proposal, which bases the mountain venues at Zhangjiakou – some 200km away from Beijing by a yet-to-be built high-speed rail link.

The quality of the air in the city is also a concern for the IOC, with the report stating: “Scale of regional air quality issues is very significant. In spite of major environmental improvement programmes, Games-time mitigation measures may be needed to reduce negative impact on Games participants”.

However it should be mentioned that air quality issues were overcome for the 2008 Summer Olympics in the Chinese capital.

The report is also not favourable on Beijing’s lack of real snow, highlighting the bid’s reliance on artificial snowmaking.

Beijing is looking to become the first city to host both the summer and winter Games, and is hoping that a successful bid will develop a winter sports market for more than 300 million people in northern China.

Meanwhile Almaty’s ambition is not to be taken lightly, with the report noting notes Almaty’s vision for the Games as “rooted in the desire to accelerate economic and social reforms; build on the country’s winter sports heritage; and showcase the positive aspects of Almaty and Kazakhstan.”

IOC members will hear more about the two bids in a candidate cities briefing next week in Lausanne.

The final decision on who will host the Games will be made at the IOC session in Kuala Lumpur on July 31.

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