The International Olympic Committee has published the Evaluation Commission Report for the two final 2022 Olympic Winter Games bids from Almaty, Kazakhstan, and Beijing, China.
The report highlights the opportunities and challenges associated with hosting the Olympic Winter Games in the candidate cities. Together with each bid team, the Evaluation Commission examined the 14 themes of the IOC’s candidature questionnaire, which includes topics such as vision, legacy and engagement, transport, accommodation, finance and sustainability. The Commission heard the cities’ proposals on ‘athlete experience’, a theme of primary importance for the IOC.
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Almaty’s legacy plans centre on providing the conditions to enable the city to become a sports, tourism and convention hub in Central Asia. The vision for the Games mentioned in the report is rooted in the desire to accelerate economic and social reforms; build on the country’s winter sports heritage; and showcase the positive aspects of Almaty and Kazakhstan.
Ice hockey in the former capital of Kazakhstan would be played in the 12,000-seat Almaty Ice Palace that is being built for the 2017 Winter Universiade in the east of the city, and in the existing 5,000-seat Baluan Sholak Sports Palace that was known as Palace of Sports before an extensive renovation prior to the 2011 Asian Winter Games and is located in the central cluster. Competitions will also be held some kilometres outside of the city in Ak Bulak, Tabagan and Medeu mountain clusters.
Beijing is seeking to provide an extended legacy for venues built for the 2008 Summer Olympics. It wants to develop a winter sports market for northern China with 300 million inhabitants and use the Winter Games to act as a catalyst for the further development of the tourism and winter sports industry.
Both venues planned for ice hockey were built for the 2008 Olympics and offer 18,000 seats. The Beijing National Indoor Stadium close to the Olympic Village that hosted gymnastic and handball events in 2008 would host the men’s ice hockey tournament, the Wukesong Culture & Sports Center 18 kilometres away from the Olympic Village in the Haidian district hosted basketball games in 2008 and would host the women’s ice hockey tournament. Competitions of other sports will also be held in the Zhangjiakou and Yangqing mountain clusters.
The host city for the Olympic Winter Games 2022 will be elected at the 128th IOC Session in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, following a final presentation by the cities to the full IOC membership on 31st July.
The 2018 Olympic Winter Games will take place in PyeongChang, Korea, 9-25 February 2018. The ice hockey tournaments will be held in the coastal cluster in the city of Gangneung in the Gangwon province, a two-hour journey from Seoul. The men’s ice hockey tournament will be played in the new 10,000-seat Gangneung Hockey Centre in the Gangneung Sports Complex that also includes other new ice sport venues while the women’s ice hockey tournament is planned in the 6,000-seat Kwangdong Hockey Centre that is being built a 15-minute car ride away at the Kwandong University.
MARTIN MERKWith files from the International Olympic Committee