Oslo has dropped its bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, leaving the International Olympic Committee to choose between Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan. According to the Associated Press, the Norwegian government would not provide financial backing for the project due to concerns that the games are too costly.
The IOC responded that the decision was based on “half-truths and factual inaccuracies,” yet Oslo isn’t the first city to back off of its bid. Stockholm, Sweden; Krakow, Poland; Lviv, Ukraine; St. Moritz, Switzerland; and Munich, Germany, all withdrew from contention.
“This is a missed opportunity for the city of Oslo and for all the people of Norway who are known worldwide for being huge fans of winter sports,” Christophe Dubi, executive director of the Olympic Games, said in a statement. “And it is mostly a missed opportunity for the outstanding Norwegian athletes who will not be able to reach new Olympic heights in their home country.”
Norway’s ruling Conservative party did not guarantee financial support for the bid, and the Washington Post reports that polls show that 58 percent of Norwegians opposed playing host to games that cost Russia $51 billion this year. Norwegian prime minister Erna Solberg told the AP that there was not enough support to put even $5.4 billion toward the Olympics.
If Beijing wins out, it would be the first city to hold both summer and winter games, after hosting the 2008 Olympics. But as Yahoo! Sports reports, there isn’t a usable ski mountain within 120 miles of the Chinese capital. Almaty does have experience in winter sports after it hosted the 2011 Winter Asian Games.
IOC president Thomas Bach told the Associated Press early Thursday that it would not reopen bidding despite the short list of candidates. The IOC will name its host city for the 2022 games on July 31, 2015.