The International Olympic Committee will choose between Almaty, Kazakhstan, and Beijing rather than look for more candidates to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.
“The IOC is sticking to its commitments,” IOC president Thomas Bach said Thursday, according to The Associated Press. “We have issued the invitation for bidding. There is a clear and transparent procedure. We will follow this procedure with two candidates.
“We are in the middle of a procedure. We cannot and we do not want to change the regulations in the middle of the race, given the fact that we still have two very interesting candidatures with a very diverse approach.”
Oslo became the fourth candidate to drop out of the 2022 Olympic bidding Wednesday after Norwegian politicians voted against financially supporting the bid. Krakow, Poland; Lviv, Ukraine and Stockholm previously pulled out.
“For me the [Oslo] decision was no surprise at all,” Bach told the AP, adding that Oslo, Almaty and Beijing bid representatives (but not Norwegian government) met with the IOC in separate meetings Tuesday. “We feel sorry for sport in Norway and the athletes.
“It’s really a missed huge opportunity for sports and the people of Norway.”
Of Almaty, Bach said the Kazakh city has “a long winter sports tradition,” including the Soviet Union era, according to the AP.
Of Beijing, which proposes using some 2008 Summer Olympic venues, Bach said it could create “a new winter sport center for hundreds of millions of people.”
The IOC will vote to select the host city on July 31, 2015, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Bach also said the cost of the Olympics and the cost of bidding are on the agenda for an IOC session in Monaco in December. The U.S. Olympic Committee is expected to decide if it will bid for the 2024 Olympics after that session.
“The proposal is to change the philosophy of bidding,” he told Reuters. “In the past we have asked the cities in which way they would fulfill the conditions set. So in the future we would prefer to ask the cities how they see an Olympic Games best fitting into their long term social, sports, ecological and economic development.”