Back to Beijing

Congrats (and Godspeed), Beijing! China’s capital city is set to become the first city to host a Summer and Winter Olympic Games.

Earlier this week, IOC President Thomas Bach announced that Beijing had beat out (another potential history-making choice) Almaty, Kazakhstan for the 2022 Winter Games. Had Kazakhstan been successful, the country would have become the first central Asian nation to host the Winter Olympics.

In the end, I guess you could say it came down to the safe choice, as safe as selection could be. Both cities had pros and cons. Both exist under authoritarian regimes. Both have dubious human rights records. The keyword, however, is both. As in two. Two cities out if the entire world that were willing to put on this insanely complicated event.

From CNN: High costs and dubious returns have arguably made democratic countries — where politicians are forced to listen to their voting public and answerable to budget blowouts — wary of hosting the world’s biggest sporting events.

So…work with what ya got!

Beijing brings proven experience and control to the table. Enough control to not only combat the intense smog throughout the city, but to create snow in the absence of precipitation. Science.

There are, of course, concerns about where to get the water for the faux snow. The current solution is apparently to draw water from established drinking sources in an already arid (no snow-making) area. Another Games, however, can bring jobs and economic growth to the region. They also present an opportunity to reduce pollution, update or fix the 2008 Summer Games venues that have fallen into disrepair, and promote a healthy lifestyle to 1.3 billion people.

A lot of hope. A lot of concerns. A lot of work ahead.

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