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International Olympic Committee
China running against light competition for the 2022 Winter Olympics
China running against light competition for the 2022 Winter Olympics

At first glance, Beijing's quest to host the 2022 Winter Olympics may sound, well, a bit quixotic. After all, the city's skies are notoriously smoggy, its main proposed ski venue is a five-hour drive northwest of the city center, and the mountains there receive, bid organizers acknowledge, about 8 inches of snow annually. But over the last year, Beijing's competition — once seen as formidable — has melted away. Cost concerns and faltering public support prompted pullbacks by Oslo; Stockholm; Munich, Germany; and Krakow, Poland. The Ukrainian city of Lviv also had to bow out amid the military, political and economic crises in that country. That has left the...

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