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  • Almaty 2022 Emphasizes Real Snow, Convenience for Athletes -- On the Scene


    (ATR) A deep-voiced narrator spoke of Almaty’s “majestic backdrop of mountains” and “real winter snow and ambiance” in a short video that was shown to journalists prior to Almaty 2022’s opening press conference.

    The Almaty 2022 team (ATR)
    Inspiring winter visuals were interspersed with athletes skiing, skating and welcoming visitors to Almaty saying, “Keeping it Real,” the city’s catchy bid slogan.

    Almaty 2022 vice chairman Andrey Kryukov, figure skating Olympic medalist and athlete ambassador Denis Ten, and Youth Olympian ice dancer Karina Uzarova addressed media on Wednesday morning, further emphasizing the bid’s key themes.

    Unlike their challengers from Beijing, Almaty’s morning press conference was conducted entirely in English, without translators, and in a spacious and comfortable ballroom at Kuala Lumpur’s Grand Hyatt Hotel.

    “We are a real sports city and real winter city with people in Almaty who have passion for winter sports,” Kryukov declared. “We have plenty of snow and beautiful mountains.”

    Almaty athlete ambassadors Denis Ten and Karina Uzurova (ATR)
    “Our concept is very real. We are not trying to change anything. We just want to be ourselves,” Ten said.

    “We don’t want to change the city to fit the Games. We simply want to fit the Olympics to our existing city,” Kryukov said.

    Real snow and towering mountains in close proximity to the city center have been Almaty’s predominant theme – coupled with a compact venue concept – harboring dreams of winning the 2022 Winter Games when the IOC votes this Friday (July 31).

    “I want athletes from around the world to see how beautiful our country is,” said the young ice dancer Uzarova.

    “The city itself is very convenient,” Ten said, referring to Almaty’s layout in which all venues and Olympic villages will be situated within a 30-kilometer radius.

    Denis Ten talks to TV reporters in Kuala Lumpur. (ATR)
    Only two competition venues – a 12,000-seat ice arena and the bobsleigh track – would be built from scratch in Almaty. Other venues, like the famed Medeu speed skating oval, date back to Soviet times or were built for the 2011 Asian Winter Games and would be refurbished and expanded.

    Ten has welcomed fellow skaters to Almaty for international skating exhibitions each of the past three years. The charismatic and articulate 22-year-old skater – who is training for the 2018 PyeongChang Games – says he is excited for more of his fellow winter sports athletes to witness what the relatively unknown central Asian city has to offer.

    “Skaters, athletes and the people from abroad coming to Kazakhstan for the events were always deeply impressed with the city and its ability to hold events,” Ten said.

    “They were impressed by our people that are so into sports who don’t the opportunity to see international winter sports often. Now we have hope.

    “I’m sure that if the Olympic dream happens, the whole world will be able to witness the beauty, the convenience and the idea of our Olympic Games globally.”

    Written by Brian Pinelli in Kuala Lumpur

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