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I may; I may NOT. At this point in time, looking foward to a vote in a few months time, I'd say the chips would fall the Krakow bid's way. There have been voting upsets ya know. But I am glad that people think Oslo is the frontrunner. Good position for Oslo to be in. ;)

Yup. Worked out GREAT for Tokyo.

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I have to say I'm surprised by the intensity of some posters' disregard for Oslo. I really don't see it as "been there, done that." What I see is that the IOC has taken two big gambles with the Wint

This statement is incredibly angry and off-putting. The IOC ought to say "mea culpa." Instead they're lashing out at the Norwegians. This isn't going to fix anything and it shows just how out of tou

So 1 of them says that France and Italy may not bid. And the other feels compelled to respond by saying pretty much the same thing, just worded a little differently...

Schola, I cant more agree with your post than i actually do. You described well governement background of bid, could you tell us also how Oslo bid is covered in media? Is there more 'wasting of money' or 'that would be great' expressions. Actually in Poland I feel media are mostly against Krakow bid, and huge public support in polls could be easily destroyed within months here. Personally I think it is connected with fact that all bigger media and journalists are located in Warsaw. Possible WOG in Krakow would make shifts in central budget from Mazovian district (Warsaw) to Malopolska district (Krakow and Zakopane). And there is 'a little' thing between Warsaw and Krakow. As far as i remember there wasnt such a negative PR when Poland was bidding for Euro 2012. Few days ago Krakow asked central governement for financing of metro construction. Mostly TV's and press were outraged by this idea, and fact that Warsaw is now constructing second line of metro with central budget support wasnt mentioned.

I would like WOG back to Europe in 2022. Of course, I support with all my heart Krakow bid, but I would be happy with Oslo win. Norway is a guarantee of great quality and atmosphere. ... and also good broadcasting hours for european time zones ;-) We should be ready for night transmissions three times in a row: Rio,PC,Tokio.

Thanks for the kind words. :)

Hm, the media coverage has been very mixed. There has been a healthy dose of negativity, but not overwhelming. I wouldn't worry too much about negative media reports; they're always going to be there and it's important as well to make sure that money is well spent and the bid is as good as possible, also for the times before and after the winter olympics. Has Krakow any remaining obstacles such as government votings?

The IOC is getting flamed though, I have to say, in the media here, and the fact that the federation plans to begin heavy and costly lobbying in Sochi (building a house of some sorts) has received a lot of imo well deserved criticism. But,, I don't know how you get the olympics......, I just hope it'll stay clean.

The warsaw-krakow thing is definitely something I can recognize. I believe that as long as a bid makes sense, as I think Krakow's does, there's no reason for competing cities to be negative. If it's good for the city, it's good for the country generally speaking. We have these battles here too.. I can understand it if the argument could be made that City B suffers cause City A gets Olympics, but if it's a good bid, then I would claim that it's what we economics students would pretentiously call a Pareto improvement;-). Someone is better off without anyone worse off! No reason to moan then City B:-)

I visited Krakow with my class when I was in junior high. Loved the old town, the church and plaza and the cosy streets! Surely a magical setting for a winter olympics and I think I would definitely visit again in 2022 if that happens.

Its always a real pleasure to read such a words.

I hope both Krakow and Oslo will give us as many emotions with their race for Olympics as Marit Bjoergen and Justyna Kowalczyk outclassing other bids ;).

That's good to hear.

Let's hope Justyna's foot heals in time. I believe she will be very, very dangerous on the 10 km.

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Could you elaborate that statement? Especially compering to those Polish, Ukrainian, Chinese and Kazakh "design schools".

Scandinavian design is minimalist, clean. Rather looking for brilliant idea not beeing 'realistic'. For example I expect Oslo logo to not have any gradients, curves, and graphical representation of city or mountaints etc. Just like Oslo 2012 and Oslo supporters logos are. Easter designs concern more 'river, meadow, sun' things. Certainly like Lviv logo ;-) But still Krakow logo will be prepared by Suiss company then I dont know what should I expect. Asian design in unpredictable for me ;-]

Has Krakow any remaining obstacles such as government votings?

Governements funding voitng will be done in case Krakow will be awarded applicant city status. Untill now there were declarations of prime mnister. Also head of Krakow comitee is a member of Parliament and the governing party. Still, there will be elections in autumn this year but even if there will be change PIS party is also pro Krakow bid. Only left wing is against bidding but they are in depression in Poland and can count only for 15% of votes.

We have these battles here too.. I can understand it if the argument could be made that City B suffers cause City A gets Olympics, but if it's a good bid, then I would claim that it's what we economics students would pretentiously call a Pareto improvement;-). Someone is better off without anyone worse off! No reason to moan then City B:-)

I cant find source now, but as far as i remember considering years 2007-2012 stream of funds from central budget to Krakow was only 20% size of Gdansk one and 25% size of Wroclaw. Why there was such a difference? Gdansk and Wroclaw were host cities of Euro 2012 opposite to Krakow.

That's good to hear.

Let's hope Justyna's foot heals in time. I believe she will be very, very dangerous on the 10 km.

Actually Justyna feet issue is a top news here, filling news bars in TVs each day ;-). Yesterday I saw her interview from Sochi and she was looking like trying to hold back the tears more than beeing ready to fight. Still I keep my fingers crossed for her.

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Oslo is the clear front-runner, but I don't see it as a given by any means; this is not a done deal. The Norwegian public has major reservations about hosting the games and the IOC will be hesitant to award the games to a country where the population appears less than enthused. Additionally, and this could be seen as a benefit or hindrance, Norway has hosted the games before. There has certainly been a push lately to have countries that have never hosted the games before, but which are capable, to be given the opportunity. Now, given the tension surrounding Sochi and the wild ride that is sure to be Rio, the IOC may want to play it safe in which case a previous host - and an extremely wealthy developed country - is the safest bet. However, Tokyo and Pyeongchang are not risky hosts and Norway may come off as a 'boring' host regardless of whether or not that is an accurate viewpoint.

So who do I consider to have a chance?

Lviv is clearly no longer in the running and it's sad to see that they seem to be carrying on with the charade of bidding as the country around them is collapsing. Ukraine is incredibly unstable with civil war a real possibility - they aren't going to be in any position to host the games.

I don't see Beijing as having any realistic chance either; it's hard to see Beijing being the first city to host both summer and winter games. China put on arguably the most impressive Olympics of the contemporary era, but the IOC hasn't forgotten the controversies. Beijing is suffering from greater pollution problems, it isn't seen as an ideal winter-city and China itself is undergoing substantial financial restructuring that is going to make preparing for the games a diversion. Anyway, (nearly) neighboring South Korea will host the Winter Olympics prior to 2022 and Tokyo will be hosting the Summer Games in 2020 - I don't see China getting the games giving East Asia 3 consecutive games.

Krakow and Almaty both have far better chances, in my opinion. However, honestly I am likely in the minority in believing that this is essentially a two-way choice between Oslo and Almaty.

Krakow's bid is complicated by the fact that it intends to host some of the games in neighboring Slovakia. While not explicitly against the rules, and the acceptance of the bid illustrates this, the dual-country hosting is problematic. Granted, both Poland and Slovakia are members of the European Union which will mitigate some of the issues face dual-country bids normally, they won't change everything. It would be a security and logistical nightmare; it's tough for cities to coordinate expenditures, revenue raising, security, tourism, etc. with their national governments; to have two cities from two countries doing so would be a bureaucratic mess. Distance doesn't help. Not out of the realm of possibility, but problematic.

Almaty is seen by some as a dark horse, and others write it off derisively. However, Almaty has bid before and has a surprising amount of base infrastructure. It also is the most consolidated bid, with all games being held in close proximity to one another. Almaty itself is a beautiful city, next to pristine mountains with great resorts that are largely unknown to the Western World. Kazkahstan has also experienced incredible economic growth since the fall of the USSR; it is now an upper-middle class country and will be considered developed in 10 to 20 years. It has enormous revenues from natural resources and can easily fund the games; it has a small population that is very much in favor of the games and also has enormous territory meaning there is little threat to the property of marginalized groups. Honestly, it's a rather exotic locale and many would argue it's time for Central Asia's coming out party. Kazakhstan is also set to be a major geopolitical power; having a broader, larger mix of natural resources than any country on Earth other than Russia and also being located between Russia, China and India - it's becoming a major player and will only become more influential globally over time. The fact that Kazakhstan is governed by a dictatorship leading what is essentially a single-party state with little civilian control of the military is arguably its greatest problem. However, while Nazarbayev isn't a good guy he's not 'bad' insofar as dictators are concerned. He has managed to show that his interest in the well-being of the populace and economic growth are concerns and it's hard to argue that the Kazakhstani government is any worse than China or Russia. In the end, it's a country that is young, but rich and culturally fascinating. Almaty itself is gorgeous and surprisingly ready to do what it takes to prepare for the games and will be able to do so in a consolidated area meaning no 100km treks from Skiing to Skating. While Central Asia is a bit out of the way in terms of international travel, Sydney was far more so and Sochi isn't much more difficult. Rio is also not the most accessible locale.

In the end I believe it's either Norway or Kazakhstan. Ukraine's political collapse has ended its chance. China just hosted, and is trying to host the winter games following games held in neighboring Korea AND Japan. Poland is trying to split the games between two countries and is having some domestic issues as part of the ongoing economic crisis in the EU.

Norway is the safe choice; it has a highly efficient state with plenty of money in addition to previous experience hosting the games. However, it's population isn't incredibly enthusiastic and the choice of Oslo isn't in keeping with many's idea of a more 'globally inclusive' games.

Kazakhstan is the riskier, exotic choice; it's an authoritarian state that was one of the most isolated parts of the USSR and was nothing more than small Khanates and nomadic tribes prior to Russia's conquest. Most people hear Kazakhstan and think Borat (which filmed it's 'Kazakhstan' scene in Romania) whereas the reality is that it's a fast growing, increasingly influential geopolitical power. In terms of money, discipline and location it really is an ideal choice. It is can compete with Norway and China in terms of funding the games - it's oil wealth alone is more than enough - and it's tight bureaucracy and successful wide-scale infrastructure developments indicate it has the expertise necessary to expand facilities in Almaty quickly and well. It's actually in a globally central location - part of the classic Silk Road, it's half-way between Beijing and Brussels (it's just not convenient to Americans). It's a location fully capable of hosting the games, it's long isolation means it has an inherently interesting and unique appeal (the nomadic culture of the steppe goes nicely with the idea of winter games and is something that other bidders can't match in terms of exoticness) and, despite being an authoritarian state, it is a Muslim country that remains very stable both politically and economically (since no Muslim country has ever hosted the games, and the Qatari government made accusations of discrimination when Rio was put up for the 2016 Olympics when Doha scored better a stable country like Kazakhstan, where Islam is more moderate and the games wouldn't require a change in terms of time-of-year could be a great way to get rid of that criticism).

We'll have to see how things go in Sochi, first - and the actions of Norwegian politicians and public opinion, before the odds are clear. I still think that - at most - this is a three way race. Lviv is out, Beijing is more than a long-shot. Krakow could be chosen - but the choice to include some of the games in Slovakia makes it more difficult. Oslo can clearly host the games and do so efficiently and without difficulty; Almaty will have further to go to get there but it certainly has the capacity (more than Rio, and Rio is hosting the more expensive summer games while Almaty is seeking the less-expensive winter games and is also a city nestled into the mountains with quite a bit needed infrastructure-also hosting the games would play into Almaty's plans to become a world-class tourist destination)

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^^^

Welcome to the board, politician. Impressive first post! I agree with most of it, or certainly the tone of it. I don't think Poland's dual-country plan of hosting with Slovakia is as much as a hindrance as you think - I think it shows a certain sensitivity on the Poles' part that could strike a chord with the IOC. And I think Kazakhstan's authoritarianism is more of a hindrance than you believe - I don't write them of, but I think they're an outsider. But, hey, I agree with you on the top three - Oslo, Krakow and Almaty - I just think Krakow's chances not as hindered by the dual-hosting and Almaty's are not as strong as your predictions. But you put some good cases, and I really strongly agree with you on the lack of appeal of Beijing and that Lviv really doesn't figure in calculations.

I've said before here that my heart favours Krakow. I can sure appreciate the lure of new locations, and I can to a degree empathise with those who aren't enthused by Oslo. Lillehammer is still very recent in my fond memories, I do like to see the games shared around, and, quite selfishly, Oslo would just blow the chances of my personal wished-for Swedish WOG hosting out the window probably for my lifetime.

But leaving my personal emotional preference behind, I think Oslo is the clear standout most responsible choice for the IOC if it wants to rebuild some goodwill and trust again in the Games. I'd go as far as saying that the top echelons must be praying it stays the distance and makes their choice easy at the end of the road. And for all Lillehammer is still recent for many of us, it's also still the benchmark for a hugely successfully organised, popularly supported, warm and spirited games. A real "People's Games" if ever there was one. The IOC must be longing for a dose of that to hopefully cap-off a rebuilding process to restore the bad faith tarnishing the image of movement in the lead-up to these Sochi games. Krakow could well achieve that too, but I think Oslo is by far the surer bet of the two to give the IOC what it needs at this point of time. If I was a voter, this is one time I'd leave personal preferences aside and vote for what I think is the clearly most reliable and widely acceptable choice of this round of candidates.

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Politician, all that is very well reasoned and I agree with your hesitations about Lviv, Beijing and Krakow.

However....

I think that thanks to Sochi, the IOC will be leery of the Kazakhs' reputation for corruption. Unlike Russia, Kazakhstan is not a winter sports power and it is pretty obvious that they only want to host to serve the government's need for self-aggrandizement -- something Sochi has also delivered in spades. Finally, one has to question whether a country with minimal winter sports history can deliver large and enthusiastic crowds for the Games -- something the IOC will certainly want after Pyeongchang.

I discovered Almaty during the 2014 campaign and I agree that the infrastructure is good, the bid is compact and the city could host very solid Games from a technical point of view. The problem is all the intangibles surrounding the bid that most certainly are not there.

By default, that leaves us with Oslo. Now to your two objections: public support and 'global inclusivity.'

As Rob has pointed out, statistically speaking, as long as a city has over 50% public support, it is electable. Based on past history, there is no noticeable difference between bids with 60% public support or 90% public support. I am confident Norway will make it to at least 60% public support. More importantly, irrespective of the public attitude today, Norway can be guaranteed to deliver huge, enthusiastic crowds come Games-time and the IOC knows this.

Your second objection to Oslo relates to the IOC's desire for "globally inclusive" Games. They have made two risky choices of Winter hosts in a row in Sochi and Pyeongchang, to say nothing of Rio. It really does not make sense for them to host a third straight Games in Asia, which is what would happen if they elect Almaty. It is not the IOC's fault that Sweden and Munich are not bidding. If they offered solid bids, either one could have been preferable to Oslo, but they didn't. The IOC has to work with what they have. Oslo is the obvious choice.

I do believe that barring the Norwegian government's disapproval, this race is effectively over.

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Politician, all that is very well reasoned and I agree with your hesitations about Lviv, Beijing and Krakow.

However....

I think that thanks to Sochi, the IOC will be leery of the Kazakhs' reputation for corruption. Unlike Russia, Kazakhstan is not a winter sports power and it is pretty obvious that they only want to host to serve the government's need for self-aggrandizement -- something Sochi has also delivered in spades. Finally, one has to question whether a country with minimal winter sports history can deliver large and enthusiastic crowds for the Games -- something the IOC will certainly want after Pyeongchang.

I discovered Almaty during the 2014 campaign and I agree that the infrastructure is good, the bid is compact and the city could host very solid Games from a technical point of view. The problem is all the intangibles surrounding the bid that most certainly are not there.

By default, that leaves us with Oslo. Now to your two objections: public support and 'global inclusivity.'

As Rob has pointed out, statistically speaking, as long as a city has over 50% public support, it is electable. Based on past history, there is no noticeable difference between bids with 60% public support or 90% public support. I am confident Norway will make it to at least 60% public support. More importantly, irrespective of the public attitude today, Norway can be guaranteed to deliver huge, enthusiastic crowds come Games-time and the IOC knows this.

Your second objection to Oslo relates to the IOC's desire for "globally inclusive" Games. They have made two risky choices of Winter hosts in a row in Sochi and Pyeongchang, to say nothing of Rio. It really does not make sense for them to host a third straight Games in Asia, which is what would happen if they elect Almaty. It is not the IOC's fault that Sweden and Munich are not bidding. If they offered solid bids, either one could have been preferable to Oslo, but they didn't. The IOC has to work with what they have. Oslo is the obvious choice.

I do believe that barring the Norwegian government's disapproval, this race is effectively over.

I thank you for your compliment and am glad that my reasons for being skeptical of Krakow, Beijing and Lviv are shared by others. I do understand your arguments against Almaty and agree that many of them will be factors in the ultimate decision regarding who will host the games. However, I do have some minor quibbles:

1. I don't think Sochi will hinder or help Almaty's chances. Yes, both are in former Soviet Socialist Republics but so is Ukraine (whose bid wasn't unreasonable prior to the recent political unrest) while Poland (and Slovakia) was within the Warsaw Pact and was practically a Soviet Republic. Thus, only Oslo and Beijing weren't tied to the USSR. If the argument is deeper than that, implying that violence surrounding Chechnya/Dagestan and the threat it poses to Sochi will hurt Almaty's chances I would take issue with such a line of reasoning. Despite the western edge of Kazakhstan being near Chechnya and Dagestan (and actually in Europe), Almaty is on the eastern edge of the sparsely-populated country. Additionally, Dagestan and Chechnya are more conservative and militant in their practice of Islam and have been fighting an insurgency against Russia since the collapse of the USSR - they don't have issues with Kazakhstan. In Kazakhstan, Islam is tempered by years of state-imposed atheism and a history of mixing Islamic beliefs with mysticism, paganism, animism and sufism - Kazakh Muslims drink and Kazakh women enjoy rights not seen in Middle Eastern countries. Kazakhstan actually is quite stable politically and socially - much more so than either Russia or China - and it's entire population has benefited from the country's unbelievable growth following independence.

2. Yes, Kazakhstan is not an Olympic power. However, it has potential. Remember a couple things: (A) Kazakhstan may be the 9th largest country on Earth in terms of geographic size but it only has about 18 million people thus from a purely numerical point of view focused on population size, it should not be expected to be winning the amount of medals a Russia or US will win; (B) Kazakhstan has only existed as a sovereign state since 1991 - prior to that it was a Soviet Socialist Republic before which is was conquered by the Russian Empire but, outside Russian rule, Kazakhstan didn't even exist as an idea before the 1990s - prior to 'The Great Game' between the British and Russians Kazakhstan was an ungoverned land of small city-states/khanates and wandering, small nomadic clans. Thus, it's only a little over 20 years old and shouldn't be expected to have a sports program on par with states that are centuries old. However, Kazakhstan is in a colder climate, is home to some of the most beautiful mountain ranges on Earth and it's enormous economic growth has led to a fast-growing middle-class population that has shown more and more interest in pursuing sports.

3. I do agree that the current indifference of many Norwegians could easily give way to support in time and that it isn't enough to make Oslo's bid likely to fail. Norwegian politics are somewhat unique and it is possible that, should Norway experience greater economic problems (possible, given the substantial structural changes being implemented in many Scandinavian countries to resolve problems with over-extension of welfare programs). Norway's refusal to join the EU may further complicate the situation, though that's mere speculation.

4. I understand the argument that Sochi was 'risky.' I agree that Rio is extremely risky. Hell, Beijing was risky as was Athens (and Athens was a democratic, developed city). I do not understand Pyeongchang being a risky choice however. Perhaps I don't know enough about it, other than that it isn't an internationally famous city for winter sports. South Korea is a stable, wealthy developed democracy that has hosted the games before (the larger summer games, in fact). South Korea seems to me a safe choice. The IOC was also 'safe' in choosing Tokyo for the summer games following Pyeongchang. Sochi, on the other hand, was a major risk - Putin's borderline personality cult and monumental ego, Russia's rising ultranationalism and the choice to have a summer resort town bid for the winter games all should have raised red flags. But Beijing was risky as well and they did an amazing job (though there were valid humanitarian concerns). Rio is worrisome; the democratic, corrupt, rough-and-tumble nature of Brazilian politics will make hosting very difficult despite Brazil having the economic capacity to do so (and despite Rio being one of the most gorgeous possible hosts). Pyeongchang? Not so much.

5. Finally, the 'Asia' concern doesn't convince me. Keep in mind Asia has well over 1/2 of the entire planet's population, with more than 4 billion people compared to Europe's 740 million. 'Asia' includes regions that are very different in terms of culture, religion, history, language - to a far greater extent than any other continent. Hell, many forget that the Middle East is in Asia. China did host recently, it's geographic and cultural neighbors of South Korea and Japan will host soon so I can see an argument against another East Asian (and maybe Southeast Asian) state hosting soon, but Central Asia is so dramatically different so the argument that 'it's in Asia' doesn't seem to hold any weight. We really should take a regional view and stop lumping regions as dramatically different as the Middle East, Central Asia, the Russian Far East, East Asia, South Asia and Southeast Asia together as 'Asia' for purposes of the games.

Oh, and though I don't think it matters at all, it is interesting to note here that about 1/10th of Kazakhstan is in Europe.

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Your second objection to Oslo relates to the IOC's desire for "globally inclusive" Games. They have made two risky choices of Winter hosts in a row in Sochi and Pyeongchang, to say nothing of Rio. It really does not make sense for them to host a third straight Games in Asia, which is what would happen if they elect Almaty. It is not the IOC's fault that Sweden and Munich are not bidding. If they offered solid bids, either one could have been preferable to Oslo, but they didn't. The IOC has to work with what they have. Oslo is the obvious choice.

I do believe that barring the Norwegian government's disapproval, this race is effectively over.

Going for a safer choice doesn't necessarily mean going back to this place, again.

There are other options for a "safe" host for 2022. I know what you're going to say, that Oslo is the only one bidding. But there's a good balance between safety, and not always giving the games to the same people. Krakow seems to be the good compromise for that, safe enough, and new destination (not to mention - passionate people).

It also really depends what definition of "safe" you got...Pyeongchang is a safe choice to me. Sochi wasn't. The IOC has gone new horizon for 2018. I don't think it's gone "risky".

The race, isn't over.

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The IOC went with "Safe" back in September with the election of Tokyo 2020, however. Despite many saying how "boring" another Japanese Olympic Games would be. And I still believe that the IOC is going to continue that trend at the very least for one more cycle, when they've had a couple of their "safe enoughs" in their rear-view mirror.

Unless Oslo drops out, which I'm sure the IOC doesn't wanna see at this point, after many other caliber cities have ran the other way already, 2022 looks like it's gonna go the safe way as well.

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Going for a safer choice doesn't necessarily mean going back to this place, again.

There are other options for a "safe" host for 2022. I know what you're going to say, that Oslo is the only one bidding. But there's a good balance between safety, and not always giving the games to the same people. Krakow seems to be the good compromise for that, safe enough, and new destination (not to mention - passionate people).

It also really depends what definition of "safe" you got...Pyeongchang is a safe choice to me. Sochi wasn't. The IOC has gone new horizon for 2018. I don't think it's gone "risky".

The race, isn't over.

What other options do you see as "safe?"

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I thank you for your compliment and am glad that my reasons for being skeptical of Krakow, Beijing and Lviv are shared by others. I do understand your arguments against Almaty and agree that many of them will be factors in the ultimate decision regarding who will host the games. However, I do have some minor quibbles:

1. I don't think Sochi will hinder or help Almaty's chances. Yes, both are in former Soviet Socialist Republics but so is Ukraine (whose bid wasn't unreasonable prior to the recent political unrest) while Poland (and Slovakia) was within the Warsaw Pact and was practically a Soviet Republic. Thus, only Oslo and Beijing weren't tied to the USSR. If the argument is deeper than that, implying that violence surrounding Chechnya/Dagestan and the threat it poses to Sochi will hurt Almaty's chances I would take issue with such a line of reasoning. Despite the western edge of Kazakhstan being near Chechnya and Dagestan (and actually in Europe), Almaty is on the eastern edge of the sparsely-populated country. Additionally, Dagestan and Chechnya are more conservative and militant in their practice of Islam and have been fighting an insurgency against Russia since the collapse of the USSR - they don't have issues with Kazakhstan. In Kazakhstan, Islam is tempered by years of state-imposed atheism and a history of mixing Islamic beliefs with mysticism, paganism, animism and sufism - Kazakh Muslims drink and Kazakh women enjoy rights not seen in Middle Eastern countries. Kazakhstan actually is quite stable politically and socially - much more so than either Russia or China - and it's entire population has benefited from the country's unbelievable growth following independence.

2. Yes, Kazakhstan is not an Olympic power. However, it has potential. Remember a couple things: (A) Kazakhstan may be the 9th largest country on Earth in terms of geographic size but it only has about 18 million people thus from a purely numerical point of view focused on population size, it should not be expected to be winning the amount of medals a Russia or US will win; ( B) Kazakhstan has only existed as a sovereign state since 1991 - prior to that it was a Soviet Socialist Republic before which is was conquered by the Russian Empire but, outside Russian rule, Kazakhstan didn't even exist as an idea before the 1990s - prior to 'The Great Game' between the British and Russians Kazakhstan was an ungoverned land of small city-states/khanates and wandering, small nomadic clans. Thus, it's only a little over 20 years old and shouldn't be expected to have a sports program on par with states that are centuries old. However, Kazakhstan is in a colder climate, is home to some of the most beautiful mountain ranges on Earth and it's enormous economic growth has led to a fast-growing middle-class population that has shown more and more interest in pursuing sports.

3. I do agree that the current indifference of many Norwegians could easily give way to support in time and that it isn't enough to make Oslo's bid likely to fail. Norwegian politics are somewhat unique and it is possible that, should Norway experience greater economic problems (possible, given the substantial structural changes being implemented in many Scandinavian countries to resolve problems with over-extension of welfare programs). Norway's refusal to join the EU may further complicate the situation, though that's mere speculation.

4. I understand the argument that Sochi was 'risky.' I agree that Rio is extremely risky. Hell, Beijing was risky as was Athens (and Athens was a democratic, developed city). I do not understand Pyeongchang being a risky choice however. Perhaps I don't know enough about it, other than that it isn't an internationally famous city for winter sports. South Korea is a stable, wealthy developed democracy that has hosted the games before (the larger summer games, in fact). South Korea seems to me a safe choice. The IOC was also 'safe' in choosing Tokyo for the summer games following Pyeongchang. Sochi, on the other hand, was a major risk - Putin's borderline personality cult and monumental ego, Russia's rising ultranationalism and the choice to have a summer resort town bid for the winter games all should have raised red flags. But Beijing was risky as well and they did an amazing job (though there were valid humanitarian concerns). Rio is worrisome; the democratic, corrupt, rough-and-tumble nature of Brazilian politics will make hosting very difficult despite Brazil having the economic capacity to do so (and despite Rio being one of the most gorgeous possible hosts). Pyeongchang? Not so much.

5. Finally, the 'Asia' concern doesn't convince me. Keep in mind Asia has well over 1/2 of the entire planet's population, with more than 4 billion people compared to Europe's 740 million. 'Asia' includes regions that are very different in terms of culture, religion, history, language - to a far greater extent than any other continent. Hell, many forget that the Middle East is in Asia. China did host recently, it's geographic and cultural neighbors of South Korea and Japan will host soon so I can see an argument against another East Asian (and maybe Southeast Asian) state hosting soon, but Central Asia is so dramatically different so the argument that 'it's in Asia' doesn't seem to hold any weight. We really should take a regional view and stop lumping regions as dramatically different as the Middle East, Central Asia, the Russian Far East, East Asia, South Asia and Southeast Asia together as 'Asia' for purposes of the games.

Oh, and though I don't think it matters at all, it is interesting to note here that about 1/10th of Kazakhstan is in Europe.

I think you're applying your arguments unevenly. The only two strikes against Oslo you mentioned are 1.) public support and 2.) global diversity. Why are you discounting those same concerns where Almaty is concerned?

Almaty may poll higher than Oslo NOW when it comes to public support, but I guarantee you that when it comes time for the Games Oslo would be filled with excited fans and Almaty would pale in comparison. The IOC knows this. What do you think is more important to them?

Global diversity. Ok, Norway has hosted before and Kazakhstan hasn't. Honestly, so what? For the very first time we're going to have back to back Olympics in Asia. You're suggesting that a three-peat for Asia does a better job of maintaining global diversity than a move back to Scandinavia? And I do think that the IOC will be somewhat uncomfortable with the idea of two former Soviet republics hosting within three cycles.

I hope you see the double standard. The very same arguments you applied to Oslo can be applied at least as severely to Almaty. Plus, there are all sorts of other strikes against Almaty, not least among them the following: let's consider that some countries simply SHOULD host more than others. Norway is a monster winter sports powerhouse: 303 Winter Olympic medals, 107 of them gold. Kazakhstan has won a whopping total of 6, count them 6, Winter Olympic medals, one of them gold. Which country do you think is better equipped? Which one has more skilled Winter Sports professionals? Which has a more educated populous? It's no contest. Must the IOC continue to seek out new horizons until all the options are exhausted, irrespective of all other considerations? Don't you think that would embitter the tried and true sporting greats that are the backbone of the modern Games?

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I agree with politician that PyeongChang was not a risky choice for the IOC. Seoul was risky, but the Korea of the 2010s is a safe, thriving democracy and one of the world's foremost economic powers. The prospect of North Korea disrupting the 2018 Games is minimal. There's no question that the venues will be completed in time. One can rightfully argue that the PC Games may lack passion and suffer from low interest in the snow events, but I don't think the IOC should have any fear that the Games will be successfully and largely free of problems.

For me, the best argument for Oslo 2022 is that it's time to return the Winter Games to a traditional European setting, especially after the lack of passion for winter sport that we're likely to see in 2014 and 2018.

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Oslo 2022 hires norway's "most smashing" gay choir for logo presentation

AFP000163814.jpg?updated=040220141513

From the article:

In Russia, recent legislation has limited LGBT rights. Oslo 2022 has different thoughts in mind, and has decided to use Oslo Fagottkor as entertainment for their official logo presentation.

(..)

There's been a heavy storm around Sochi and the russian gay legislation, this engagement isn't a nod in that direction?

- No. I have honestly not thought so much about what other thinks of us hiring them, just whether they fit in with us. And they do. We're focused on promoting our values, openness among other things. If it's noted, then that's of course a good thing. But first and foremost, it's important that the choir stands for the same things that we do..they're fun, playful and entertaining, and I also believe their show will compliment nicely the logo that we're presenting on thursday.

:)

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I agree with politician that PyeongChang was not a risky choice for the IOC. Seoul was risky, but the Korea of the 2010s is a safe, thriving democracy and one of the world's foremost economic powers. The prospect of North Korea disrupting the 2018 Games is minimal. There's no question that the venues will be completed in time. One can rightfully argue that the PC Games may lack passion and suffer from low interest in the snow events, but I don't think the IOC should have any fear that the Games will be successfully and largely free of problems.

For me, the best argument for Oslo 2022 is that it's time to return the Winter Games to a traditional European setting, especially after the lack of passion for winter sport that we're likely to see in 2014 and 2018.

I agree that it is safe financially and militarily. Is it safe in terms of Games organization, spectator turnout and atmosphere? No. The Koreans know nothing about the majority of winter sports. PC has a very spotty record for snow. Based on the biathlon World Championships and the dismal turnout, yes, there is reason to be concerned.

If PC did not made the IOC at least somewhat nervous, why did it take them three bids to win?

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What other options do you see as "safe?"

Here too, it all depends on what you consider to be "safe". In terms of a guarantee to hold games that will run smoothly , I see no reason not to consider Krakow as a safe host.

But if by "safe" you are automatically thinking about a traditional host, then I told you the necessity to spread the games and to avoid giving them to the same places eternally was just as important (if not more). And in that perspective, I said in my previous that Krakow indeed sounded like the good balance, the good compromise. But then again, I see no reason not to think Krakow could be a safe choice after all.

And anyway, there's no way to be sure that the IOC will go for a "safe" choice , which you seem to be sure of.That's your bet, I'm making the opposite one, We'll see I certainly hope the IOC won't be unadventurous or wimpish, trust new places, and make something different.

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Let's watch the hyperbole. They're hardly "giving them to the same places eternally." Witness Beijing, Sochi, Rio, Pyeongchang. Even the most of the recent repeat hosts waited quite a long time to host again: Sydney, Athens, London, Torino. The IOC is mixing it up.

As you say, we'll see when Bach announces the winner.

Caveat: all bets are off if the government pulls the plug on Oslo, but I don't think they will.

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A gay choir...Yeah...

The idea seems good at first sight and a great reaction to Russia's games. Let's just hope no one gets deluded and fooled by that, and what looks like a clumsy attempt to look like the heaven of tolerance.

This is not something that the final decision will be based on, and I've met the most homophobic people of my life while I was living in... Denmark. Things aren't as simplistic as the oslo machine seems to want people to believe, and I'm sure most of the LGBT community will be clever enough to know that.

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certainly hope the IOC won't be unadventurous or wimpish, trust new places, and make something different.

The IOC have hardly been unadventurous lately. We're about to have a rush of "new frontiers" - Sochi, Rio and PyeongChang - all in a row. Yet already the first two of those adventurous and un-wimpish decisions are already causing them headaches. Sochi's giving them some of the worst publicity in it lead up that the IOC had had this century, and disquiet in Brazil over the WC and the Games has been festering an causing concerns for a while.

Such concerns have already prompted them to choose the safe option late last year when they plumped for Tokyo (when Istanbul would have been their adventurous and emotional choice). And I don't see that in the intervening time since then - during which we've seen the Swiss, Germans and Swedes pull back from wanting to get in bed with the games - have improved the matter any - if anything the bad publicity over Sochi's got worse. I don't think Krakow would be an unviable candidate - I'd sure be happy enough emotionally if they got chosen. But assuming Oslo remains in the race I don't think the IOC will be tempted to go "safe enough" when Norway would easily be the better choice to restore some much-needed confidence and goodwill in the games by the world's most reliable potential bidders.

A gay choir...Yeah...

The idea seems good at first sight and a great reaction to Russia's games. Let's just hope no one gets deluded and fooled by that, and what looks like a clumsy attempt to look like the heaven of tolerance.

This is not something that the final decision will be based on, and I've met the most homophobic people of my life while I was living in... Denmark. Things aren't as simplistic as the oslo machine seems to want people to believe, and I'm sure most of the LGBT community will be clever enough to know that.

Well, for me, it's already raised my regard for them.

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I agree that it is safe financially and militarily. Is it safe in terms of Games organization, spectator turnout and atmosphere? No. The Koreans know nothing about the majority of winter sports. PC has a very spotty record for snow. Based on the biathlon World Championships and the dismal turnout, yes, there is reason to be concerned. If PC did not made the IOC at least somewhat nervous, why did it take them three bids to win?

PC is an hour or two drive from half of the country's people, and a couple hours' flight from hundreds of millions of others in China and Japan. I'm not concerned with spectator turnout. Turnout might've been spotty for a biathlon world championships, but apart from Europe and enthusiasts like us, who exactly cares? There's a reason why the biathlon world champs are never held in North America. No one would care. Turnout will be different for an Olympics.

Now if we're rating spectators based on knowledge of winter sports, then yeah Korea is less sophisticated than say, Norwegians. But that's a poor metric to use in assessing the success of a Games. That's not to take away from the Norwegians, because they can offer an atmosphere unparalleled by just about anyone else in this world.

PC had every right to make the IOC nervous the first two times around. But by the same token, the IOC seemed pretty confident about them the third time.

For me, the best argument for Oslo 2022 is that it's time to return the Winter Games to a traditional European setting, especially after the lack of passion for winter sport that we're likely to see in 2014 and 2018.

Well said. It's not about risk or safety. It's simply that 2022 is the right time to go back to traditional Europe, simply because it is time, Oslo is the only traditional European candidate, and it happens to be a fantastic choice.

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PC is an hour or two drive from half of the country's people, and a couple hours' flight from hundreds of millions of others in China and Japan. I'm not concerned with spectator turnout. Turnout might've been spotty for a biathlon world championships, but apart from Europe and enthusiasts like us, who exactly cares? There's a reason why the biathlon world champs are never held in North America. No one would care. Turnout will be different for an Olympics.

Now if we're rating spectators based on knowledge of winter sports, then yeah Korea is less sophisticated than say, Norwegians. But that's a poor metric to use in assessing the success of a Games. That's not to take away from the Norwegians, because they can offer an atmosphere unparalleled by just about anyone else in this world.

PC had every right to make the IOC nervous the first two times around. But by the same token, the IOC seemed pretty confident about them the third time.

Well said. It's not about risk or safety. It's simply that 2022 is the right time to go back to traditional Europe, simply because it is time, Oslo is the only traditional European candidate, and it happens to be a fantastic choice.

I'm not anticipating a disaster in PC by any stretch. I'm just saying that they are not as totally rock solid as some would suggest. We'll see how it plays out.

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I'm not anticipating a disaster in PC by any stretch. I'm just saying that they are not as totally rock solid as some would suggest. We'll see how it plays out.

Definitely. It could be a bad year for snow, or maybe the atmosphere really does end up being lame. It may not be Norway, but I think they can make it special in their own way and contribute to the Olympic Movement. I don't agree with the notion floating around here that it'll be nothing more than a charity Games gifted by the IOC as a new horizon, which will need to be saved by the subsequent European WOG.

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Definitely. It could be a bad year for snow, or maybe the atmosphere really does end up being lame. It may not be Norway, but I think they can make it special in their own way and contribute to the Olympic Movement. I don't agree with the notion floating around here that it'll be nothing more than a charity Games gifted by the IOC as a new horizon, which will need to be saved by the subsequent European WOG.

No, I certainly wouldn't say that either. I just think the solidity of Norway will be welcome after 2014 and 2018.

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