24 February 2014

The candidate cities for the Winter Olympics 2022

Last night at the closing the ceremony we heard the call for the young people of the world to meet again in four years time in Pyeongchang, South Korea, but the process is already underway for the Games after that.

Last November 6 applicant cities were presented to the IOC, by the 14 march they must present their application file to the IOC and then in 8-9 July the IOC board will meet and select the candidate cities to then present their candidate files and guarantees. So who are the six that are in the running at this stage.

Stockholm, Sweden

The Swedish capital has hosted the 1912 Summer Games, this is one of two bids in the running to be  the first city to host both the Summer and Winter Games. The ski resort of Åre 610km from Stockholm is looking to be the centre for the Alpine events. Åre together with nearby Östersund had considered putting in a bid to hold the 2014 Games, but failed to secure Government backing. Östersund with Åre had been ahead of Lillehammer in round 2 of the bidding in 1994 only to lose out in the final round. They combined to come third behind Nagano and Salt Lake City in 1998, and when the latter swept the first round four year later. But this time with the addition of Stockholm joining with Åre there is a metropolitan element to go with the trips to Swedish highlands.

Kraków, Poland

The Polish NOC have actually joined up with Slovakia to  put in a bid that would see the Olympics come to either country for the first time. It was a vision that the late Polish President Lech Kaczyński had for his nation shortly before he, the President of the Polish Olympic Committee and 94 others were killed in that horrific plane crash in April 2010. The cities bid teams up with the ski resort of Jasná to the south and across the border in Slovakia, with other resorts on the road to Jasná hosting the sliding events and cross country skiing. The furthest apart the venues will be is 175km. If this bid is successful it will be the first bid that sets out as being hosted in two nations.

Oslo, Norway

The Norwegian capital is looking to host their second Winter Games following on from 1952. This is the fifth time the city had bid for the Winter Games after unsuccessful bids in 1936, 1944 and 1968. The resort of Lillehammer 190km away, which hosted the Games in 1994, would hold the Alpine and sliding events. If the Games were awarded to Oslo the Holmenkollbakken ski jumping hill would celebrate the 130th year of it's existence by crowning Olympic champions again.

Almaty, Kazakhstan

The former Kazakh capital hosted the Asian Winter Games in 2011 and will be hosting the Winter Universiade in 2017. They had gone further than Åre for these 2014 Games and had been an applicant city then two. However, with structures in place now all within 40km of Almaty this is actually the most compact of all the bids.

Lviv, Ukraine

The Eastern Ukrainian city's bid would involve three locations with ice events being based in a compact Olympic area around Arena Lviv which hosted three of the group games of UEFA Euro 2012. There are also plans to building an inner city sliding venue would complete the ice zone being entirely within the city boundaries. However, the snow events are having to be hosted elsewhere to the South. The Nordic events, freestyle and snowboard will take place in the established resort of Tysovets 130km south. But the altitude does not meet the IOC criteria for Alpine events so about 185km south from Lviv lies Volovets, which once had a ski ramp that Austria-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph I used to visit when this was in the Empire.

Beijing, China

The hosts of the 2008 Summer Games are the other applicant city looking to be the first to host both Summer and Winter Games. Zhangjiakou which is 190km North West of the Chinese capital is the mountain region at an elevation of 716m that is liable to host the snow events having an average high temperature  close to or below freezing from December to February. One major factor that may be a disadvantage to Beijing is that it is only 700km away from Pyeongchang which will have hosted the previous Games.

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