The International Olympic Committee officially opened up the two-year, three-phase bidding process for hosting the 2022 Winter Games Thursday, with many cities already declaring intentions of bringing the event home.
Oslo, Norway immediately threw its hat into the proverbial ring and is expected to be a strong contender, while Poland and Slovakia are expected to send in a joint bid soon, and Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych called for four cities to prepare proposals for the Games.
Other cities considering a bid are Almaty, Kazakhstan, which helped host the 1997 Asian Winter Games; Sarajevo, which hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics; Munich, which hosted the Summer Games in 1972 and lost in its bid for the 2018 Winters to Pyeongchang, South Korea; and Stockholm, which hasn’t hosted the Olympics in more than a century.
American cities like Denver, Reno, Bozeman, and Salt Lake City all expressed interest in hosting the 2022 Games. But the USOC has decided to focus on the Summers in 2024 and recently whittled down its list of potential hosts from thirty to ten, including Los Angeles and Philadelphia.
All bids are due in by November 14, so that the IOC can look them over before a meeting at the headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland this December. Finalists will be determined next summer, and those cities will be evaluated early in 2015 before the final vote on July 31, 2015.
Check out the full bidding schedule here.
Fenway Park will host some of the world’s best freeskiers in the one-of-a-kind Big Air at Fenway, live on NBC Sports Live Extra on Friday night.
Big air skiers will descend from a ramp that’s four times higher than the Green Monster inside the hallowed Boston Red Sox home.
Ski big air is most like slopestyle of the current Olympic disciplines, except skiers get one jump per run.
WATCH LIVE: Big Air at Fenway — 8:30 p.m. ET
On Thursday, Canadian Max Parrot and American Julia Marino won the snowboard big air competitions at Fenway Park.
Big Air at Fenway coverage will conclude with an NBC show on Saturday at 5 p.m. ET.
MORE: Olympic champ suffers concussion at Big Air at Fenway practice
In an homage to the Lillehammer 1994 Winter Olympics, Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway lit the Lillehammer Youth Winter Olympic cauldron to cap the Opening Ceremony on Friday night.
The princess’ father, Crown Prince Haakon, lit the 1994 Olympic cauldron in a very similar fashion (video here). Princess Ingrid Alexandra was born in 2004.
The Opening Ceremony, held outdoors at a ski jump (same venue as 1994) in sub-freezing temperatures, included a speech from International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach.
“I’m just a little bit too old to compete in the YOG,” Bach said, urging listeners to use the hashtag #IloveYOG during the nine-day Winter Games.
The ceremony included Olympic legends, such as 2010 figure skating gold medalist Yuna Kim and eight-time Olympic cross-country champion Bjorn Daehlie carrying the Olympic flag.
Marit Bjoergen, a 10-time Olympic medalist cross-country skier, handed the Olympic flame to the princess.
NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra will air coverage of the Opening Ceremony on Saturday at 12:30 a.m. ET, plus daily coverage throughout the Winter Games. A full broadcast schedule is here.
MORE: Two years to Pyeongchang: Updates on U.S. Olympic medalists from Sochi