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Throughout more than 120 years of Olympic history, no city has hosted both the winter and summer games. Now, Beijing will be the first do it — and in the span of just 14 years.
The Chinese capital was awarded the 2022 Winter Olympics on Friday, beating Kazakh rival Almaty 44-40 in a surprisingly close vote marred by technical problems, taking the games back to the city that hosted the summer version in 2008.
Beijing was seen by the International Olympic Committee as a secure, reliable choice that also offered vast commercial opportunities in a new winter sports market of more than 300 million people in northern China.
"It really is a safe choice," IOC President Thomas Bach said. "We know China will deliver on its promises."
The IOC's secret vote was conducted by paper ballot, after the first electronic vote experienced technical faults with the voting tablets and was not counted. The result of the first vote was not disclosed. There was one abstention in the paper ballot.
Bach bristled when asked at a news conference about the possibility of any voting irregularities.
"This is an unfair question," he said. "You are taking a lot of assumptions. ... Obviously there was a technical issue with the voting system, the devices. If the scrutineers decide to be on the very safe side to have a new vote, to have this vote on a ballot paper, then this speaks for itself for a very fair election in everybody's interest."