(ATR) Considered Goliath to Almaty’s David, Beijing’s narrow victory triggered a mix of reactions. The Chinese bid triumphed 44-40.
Beijing 2022 bid leader and mayor Wang Anshun told a press conference: “Today is a remarkable day for Beijing and the Olympic Movement. In this moment, we are overwhelmed with excitement, people of China are thrilled and overjoyed.”
IOC president Thomas Bach
said he was not overly surprised: “I expected a very close vote because there were very different concepts presented by Almaty and Beijing. Therefore, for the IOC members it was a very difficult decision to make."
Swiss IOC member Rene Fasel discusses the vote with ATR editor Ed Hula. (ATR)
IOC members gave their feedback to Around the Rings
on exiting the presentation hall in Kuala Lumpur.
IOC vice president Craig Reedie
said the race could have gone the other way.
“I think the Almaty presentation kind of took the treat. I thought Almaty would do well, but not as well as that. When you get that close, it’s just two people.”
Canoe federation president Jose Perurena
said: “Four votes is a little surprising, but in June the technical presentation by Almaty was at a high level.”
International Ice Hockey Federation boss Rene Fasel
said: “I think there is a huge potential in China to develop hockey. Having the Winter Games in Beijing, it will be the right place to start with hockey and knowing the Chinese they will invest a lot in promoting the game of hockey.”
Bobsleigh and skeleton federation leader Ivo Ferriani
said: “We will work fantastic with them for the next years. For us, China is a great market and a great opportunity for our sport. I see the potential.”
, a two-time Olympian for Great Britain in skeleton, agreed with Ferriani about China’s potential in the sliding sports. “The strength of China is that they can organize anything. They could organize Games on the moon for sure. I’m sure they’ll be very competitive, invest a great deal and do this in a smart way. I’m very
confident that the Chinese will be challenging for medals in 2022, if not before.”
Ski federation chief Gian-Franco Kasper
said: “It was expected. They did a good job, and everyone knew they were the favorite. We had two excellent candidates, and we can live with both of them.” Asked if Beijing would do a good job, he said, “No doubt. We have been there with all our experts for two years now and involved in every detail, so there is no problem.”
said Beijing presented “a very good proposal” and a “very safe option ... I think Beijing open a market for the athletes and for economical reasons is very wide. I think the Almaty proposal was also very good.”
U.S. IOC member Angela Ruggiero (ATR)
said both cities had great bids. “Beijing, you have the first winter and summer Games. The Bird’s Nest and other venues that are standing vacant right now will be reutilized. I would love an exit interview to really understand how each member perceives… what are the things they weigh more heavily. I know everyone’s weighing Agenda 2020, but what are the other factors?”
She encouraged another bid from Almaty: “Absolutely. I thought they gained more and more traction as the bid went on. The closer you got to the bid, the closer the race was. I think today they were very compelling.”
Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah
: “I am excited by China and Beijing doing it. This is a new legacy for us in Asia, the first city ever in the Olympic Movement to host the Summer and Winter Games. For that, I congratulate them, but also I encourage my friends from Almaty to continue. They built a very great file, facilities already there.”
On Beijing 2022 and Agenda 2020, he said the Chinese capital is “ready to invest not only for the Games, they are giving the opportunity to go for cheaper operations. If it’s my local plan to build my city or country, the Games are only added value. What China is doing they want to have in this part of their country want to have well organized sports facilities to give the chance for 300 million citizens to participate.”
IOC Evaluation Commission chair Alexander Zhukov
: “I think both bids were excellent… it was a decision by members.”
on the bidding contest: “I predicted it would be close, and I think that was the view of the commission. I have seen in the last six weeks Almaty have got their act together, very tight in their messaging,
given a lot of guarantees that weren’t there initially, got a lot of political support and I thought the prime minister was a rock star. He’s a man of the people, speaks well. Day by day, I could see their credibility rising. Beijing is strong always, and they will deliver a fantastic Games. I think what persuaded a lot of people was the potential growth of their [winter] sport in China.”
said, “Going into new areas is not bad. We know Beijing, and Beijing knows the Olympics. I don’t think they understood the importance of making sure that everyone in the world knew that the government was really behind it with enthusiasm.”
Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah with Kazakhstan prime minister Karim Massimov (ATR)
said, “We all expected it would be Beijing. I didn’t expect it to be as close as this. I hope they come back again."
He gave credit to Almaty for "closing the gap" in the last few months and the Kazakh PM for a “brilliantly-crafted address” where “he turned any negatives on his city around and any positives on Beijing he turned his way."
Kazakhstan PM Karim Massimov
, who delivered a poignant and emotional plea to the IOC concluding Almaty’s presentation, commended his bid team after the disappointing defeat.
“We had a very good opportunity that our team prepared well. We tried our best, but this is not the end of the world. I think every failure is a good opportunity in the future. We are very optimistic about the future. We have a good chance. It is good experience.”
Reported by Mark Bisson and Brian Pinelli
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