- Title: CHINA-OLYMPICS/IOC Beijing welcomes Winter Olympics bid inspection team
- Date: 24th March 2015
- Summary: BEIJING, CHINA (MARCH 24, 2015) (REUTERS) INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE (IOC) EVALUATION COMMISSION MEMBERS AND BEIJING 2022 WINTER OLYMPICS BID COMMITTEE DELEGATES SITTING FOR MEETING SIGN READING (English): "BEIJING 2022 CANDIDATE CITY"
- Embargoed: 8th April 2015 13:00
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVA5YRKDSVN4GYB8XINO64XYOSUE
- Story Text: Beijing's Winter Olympics 2022 bid committee officially welcomed the International Olympic Committee (IOC) inspection team on Tuesday (March 24) ahead of a five-day tour that will take them to sites in the capital and would-be co-host Zhangjiakou city in nearby Hebei province.
Beijing is the final of just two potential destinations the IOC will visit, after making a trip to Almaty in Kazakhstan earlier in the year. Other would-be host Oslo withdrew their bid, citing cost concerns.
Sitting down to a briefing between the two sides, China's Vice Premier Liu Yandong said she hoped hosting the Olympics would get more Chinese people interested in winter sports.
"The Chinese government and 1.3 billion Chinese people are genuinely looking forward to having the 2022 Winter Olympics in China. In China, more and more people like winter sports, and hosting the Winter Olympics will not only get 300 million people involved in ice and snow sports, it will also give more Chinese people an appreciation for the appeal of Olympic winter sports," she said.
Though Beijing already has one Olympics under its belt, questions over pollution hang over the bid.
Overall it scored the weakest among the initial three candidate cities on environmental impact.
Chairman of the IOC evaluation commission, Alexander Zhukov, stressed that commission members would not be afraid to ask "difficult questions" about Beijing's proposal during the trip.
"This commission will not select the 2022 host, our job is to give IOC members the information they need to make a well-informed choice. We will probably ask some difficult questions as we seek to meet our obligation to provide a proper assessment," he said.
Organisers implemented drastic measures to bring blue skies and easy breathing for athletes during the 2008 Beijing summer Games, ordering 60 percent of the city's cars off the road and last-minute industrial cut-backs.
With a roughly $40 billion price tag, at the time that competition was the most costly ever staged.
Officials this time round are promising a more spartan affair, focussing on the legacy the games will have for the local area.
In the afternoon the team will visit three Beijing venues, including the Bird's Nest stadium and the Water Cube.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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