IOC president Thomas Bach at the opening of the 128th session // photo IOC

2022 Bid Cities

Talking the talk: IOC elects Beijing for 2022

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Earlier this week, when he opened the 128th International Olympic Committee session, president Thomas Bach declared of Agenda 2020, his would-be reform plan, “We need to demonstrate that we are indeed walking the walk and not just talking the talk.”

On Friday, the members — the very same ones who fell into lockstep in approving Agenda 2020 last December — voted for Beijing to win the 2022 Winter Olympics. The count: 44-40, Beijing over Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Almaty 2022 vice chairman Andrey Kryukov answers reporters' questions after the bid presentation to IOC members at the Olympic Museum

2022 Bid Cities

Agenda 2020 — keeping it real

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — The International Olympic Committee is trying, really trying, to prove that Agenda 2020, the would-be reform plan that president Thomas Bach and the members passed last December in Monaco, amounts to significant change.

But when confronted with real-world realities, like the two candidates for the 2022 Winter Games, Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan, which made presentations here Tuesday to the members, the question must be asked: how much change, really, is in the air?

The IOC evaluation commission at the Beijing closing ceremony // photo courtesy Beijing 2022

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The kabuki theater of the 2022 evaluation commission

The kabuki theater that marked the two-stop International Olympic Committee’s evaluation commission for the 2022 Winter Games wrapped up Saturday in Beijing. In this and a prior trip to Almaty, Kazakhstan, it can be said to have accomplished practically nothing of consequence.

Here is why. The technical merits of these two bids are practically irrelevant, even if one might like to argue back and forth about whether the ski jump in Almaty is so close you can touch it or the ski run is so far away from Beijing it might as well be in Mongolia.

Chinese shoppers walk by a 3D mural outside a Beijing mall -- the Beijing capital, which staged the 2008 Summer Games, now one of three 2022 Winter bid cities // photo Getty Images

2022 Bid Cities

A four-nation re-think of the IOC bid process

A city campaigning for the 2010 Winter Games spent, on average, $9.5 million. That would have been in 2003. A city bidding for the 2018 Games averaged $34 million. That was in 2011, just eight years later. Yet approaching four times more.

That’s just one of the many illuminating facts about the Olympic bid process in a far-reaching report released Tuesday as a project linking four prominent western European national Olympic committees. In recent months each — Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Sweden — saw Winter Games bids die before they ever really got started.

Almaty 2022 executive board member Andrey Kryukov answering reporters' questions

2022 Bid Cities

Whole lotta love for Oslo in IOC report

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — International Olympic Committee evaluation and working group documents are, it is said, strenuously neutral. The IOC purportedly doesn’t rate or rank cities in campaigns for the Summer or Winter Games.

Yet the 2022 working group report that was issued Monday as the IOC passed the three remaining cities — Oslo, Beijing, Almaty — on to the finalist phase is so transparently obvious. It unequivocally favors Oslo, perhaps merely in a bid to keep it in the race, or maybe more. It is relatively positive about Beijing though it makes plain that distances are profound and a sense of why the Games ought to go there ought to be refined. And it is curiously skeptical about Almaty.