"The International Olympic Committee IOC Executive board has selected the cities of Oslo, Almaty and Beijing as candidate cities for the Olympic Winter Games 2022," IOC President Thomas Bach told a news conference.
Although the three names have been announced, not much is expected from the 2022 Olympics already. In fact, the Associated Press reported that these games will forever be known as “the one no one wanted to host.”
Previously, the Polish city of Krakow refused to host the Winter Games that year because their residents – not once but twice – overwhelmingly voted against the plan.
Before Poland, Sweden, withdrew its bid in January, citing cost, and voters Germany rejected after its residents voted against the "greed" of the IOC. Davos and St. Moritz of Switzerland jumped on the refusal bandwagon to jointly hold the games.
Most recently, Ukraine became the latest city to drop out, due to the country's ongoing political turmoil and conflict with Russia.
Even the remaining three – with the exception of Beijing – don’t look like promising contenders.
While the IOC report found several weaknesses in the oil-rich Kazakh city's bid, the future of Oslo's remains uncertain. The Norwegian government will decide in the autumn whether to back the project.
So why are countries all of a sudden backing out of hosting such a prestigious event? Here are some possible answers.
Intense media scrutiny:
Although Winter Olympics are supposed to be televised, reported and monitored by the media, the tournament in Sochi this year was perhaps the most scrutinized games ever.
From twin toilets, toxic tap water to cardboard doors in Sochi bathrooms, news outlets had it all.
However, such coverage is not always healthy for the reputation of the host countries because it often leads to propaganda and lies.
For instance, NBC News' Richard Engel reported during Sochi Olympics that cell phones, computers and tablets of foreign athletes, journalists and fans were hacked within a day of arrival.
He blew the story out of proportion, advising visitors – especially media personnel – to exercise extreme caution while browsing the Web and opening email attachments.
However, later it turned out to be a fabricated news story.
Human rights related issues:
Mass labor rights abuses have been reported ever since Qatar started upgrading its infrastructure in preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup – which includes building large soccer stadiums and luxurious accommodations for visitors.
This year’s Winter Games in Russia raised similar concerns when Human Rights Watch claimed it had been carrying out extensive research in Sochi for almost five years, documenting unfairness toward workers building stadiums and related infrastructure, attempts to suppress free speech and human rights, including environmental damage caused by the Olympics, and exploitation of migrant employees.
It’s almost next to impossible to avoid all of the problems mentioned above while preparing for such a grand event, and it seems countries –and their people, to be precise – just don’t want that anymore.
Last, but certainly not the least, the main reason causing bidders to withdraw is the hefty cost of the games.
Since it cost Russia almost a good $51 billion to host the Sochi games, the selected candidates – although all of them economically stable – will think twice before saying yes.
The winning host city will be announced in July next year.