For the first time in the 120 years of modern Olympic history, a city will play host to both the Winter and Summer Olympic Games.
Today, Beijing was awarded the 2022 Winter Olympic Games over fellow applicant Almaty, Kazahkstan, in a 44-40 vote.
In 2022, Beijing will not only become the first city to host both the Winter and Summer Olympic Games, but it will have done so in only 14 years, having hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics. It will also be the third straight Eastern Asian country playing host to the Olympics, following 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games in South Korea and the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games in Japan.
“With the real globalization of the world, the growing importance of Asia, not only in sports but also in all areas of life, I think it is more or less normal that we have more Olympic Games taking place in Asia,” International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach told the AP when asked about hosting three straight Eastern Asian Olympics.
Bach continued to explain the choice of the IOC by saying they chose Beijing not only because of the size of China’s economy, but also because of the potential interest in winter sports that could be generated amongst the 300 million people living in Northern China.
“It really is a safe choice,” Bach said. “We know China will deliver on its promises.”
And while the news may be cause for celebration in China, in many ways, Beijing was awarded the Olympics nobody wanted.
Due to concerns over the unsustainable increase in costs associated with hosting the games (the 2014 Sochi Olympics cost Russia $51 billion), corruption, and the fact that a vast majority of most of the infrastructure built for the games is useless afterwards (hotels and stadiums in Sochi already look like ghost towns), four of the original six cities that applied to host the games withdrew their bid, leaving only Almaty and Beijing.
Beijing and Almaty, coincidentally, reside in two non-democratic countries where the population have almost no say in politics and where human rights violations are all too common.
In 2014, China remains an authoritarian one-party state. “It places arbitrary curbs on expression, association, assembly, and religion; prohibits independent labor unions and human rights organizations; and maintains Party control over all judicial institutions,” read a report by the Human Rights Watch.
While Kazakhstan heavily restricted freedom of assembly, speech, and religion, and torture remains a serious problem, according to a different report by the Human Rights Watch.
And now, just one year after the Sochi games were highly criticized for their lack of snow, the games comes to Beijing, a city that receives almost no snow, and one that will have to ship 120 miles away to Zhangjiakou for mountain sports, where they will likely have to compete entirely on artificial snow.
More from GrindTV