The International Olympic Committee today announced that three cities made the cut as finalists to host the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games: Almaty, Kazakhstan; Beijing; and Oslo, Norway.
According to the IOC, the executive board unanimously agreed that all three cities would progress from the Applicant City Phase to the Candidate City Phase. The cities must submit detailed bid files to the IOC by next January. IOC Evaluation Commission visits are scheduled to take place in February and March 2015.
The host city will then be selected by the full IOC membership in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on July 31, 2015.
Of the three candidate cities, only Oslo has played host to the Winter Games before. The capital city of Norway was the host in 1952. Three Americans captured gold medals in those Games: Andrea Mead Lawrence (alpine skiing), Dick Button (figure skating) and Ken Henry (speedskating). Lillehammer, also located in Norway, was the host city for the Winter Games in 1994.
Beijing, which hosted the 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games, is bidding to become the first city to host both the summer and winter edition of the Games. The Chinese capital proposes holding alpine events 120 miles away in the city of Zhangjiakou.
Almaty, located in a mountainous area of southern Kazakhstan, is seeking its first chance at being an Olympic and Paralympic host. It hosted the 2011 Asian Games and will host the Winter University Games in 2017.
The U.S. Olympic Committee has been considering bidding for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games and four American cities remain in the running to be a host city for a potential U.S. bid: Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.