The IOC selection process is limited to only two options: Beijing, which seeks to become the first metropolis to host both a summer and winter Games, and Almaty, Kazakhstan, the central Asian nation's former capital.
After my incorrect predictions for the 2018 IOC vote (for which Munich was a personal favorite), and since Tokyo was not my first choice for 2020 (I was vying for Istanbul), and since my top pick for 2022, Oslo, long ago bowed out of the race, it's been challenging to summon enthusiasm for either remaining candidate.
Also in mind, I remain devastated about Chicago's loss to Rio, and the state of the U.S. candidate cities makes me cringe.
With that said, for this blogger, my 2022 vote is for Almaty for a simple list of reasons:
- New territory for the Olympic Movement
- Major city with a compact Olympic venue map and gorgeous mountains in view
- Controversy-free government (at least comparatively)
- Real snow
To me, Beijing offers only headaches for all:
- Lightning rod for protesters worldwide (thanks to China's human rights record)
- Scattered Olympic venues, villages and victims of Beijing 2008's migraine-inducing processes
- Closer proximity to Korea, site of the 2018 Winter Games
- Fake snow and mountains far, far away. Did I mention fake snow?
I do believe a return to Beijing would put some 2008 venues and successes to another round of good use. It might be fun to see China in a new light and in a different season.
Regardless, I wince at the realities their bid brings in terms of navigating hundreds of kilometers between venues. Geography alone makes a vote for Beijing a vote for insanity.
But what do I know? Crazier things have happened in the Olympic bidding ballpark.
Almaty's theme is 'Keeping It Real' and I hope the voting IOC members will do just that with a vote for Kazakhstan.