The snow will be fake, but the very real financial muscle China boasts proved decisive yesterday when Beijing won the right to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Games officials who were meeting in Kuala Lumpur voted for the Chinese capital over the lure of a winter wonderland offering from Kazakhstan’s Almaty, in a clear sign that the IOC is craving solidity and security after a series of problems and headaches.
While Rio scrambles to make up lost time in its building for the 2016 Olympics, and Tokyo is embroiled in a stadium drama the allure of a megacity with a cast-iron financial guarantee proved irresistible.
That Beijing will deliver what Chinese President Xi Jinping is calling “excellent and extraordinary Games” is without doubt, and IOC members voted for that security.
“It’s symbolic and it is a measure of confidence,” former IOC president Jacques Rogge told Reuters. “It’s a good day for the Olympics.”
Not all shared his enthusiasm.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch group declared “in choosing China to host another Games, the IOC has tripped on a major human rights hurdle.”
Beyond the slopes, it was a good day for sports equipment and apparel manufacturers who will now gain exposure to China’s hundreds of millions of aspirational middle classes.
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