Lausanne, Switzerland (SportsNetwork.com) - Former Olympic cities Oslo and Beijing will join Almaty, Kazakhstan as official candidates to host the 2022 Winter Games.
The International Olympic Committee made the announcement Monday.
Oslo hosted the 1952 Winter Games and fellow Norwegian town Lillehammer was the site for the 1994 Winter Olympics. Beijing held the 2008 Summer Games and is trying to become the first city to host the Summer and Winter Olympics.
Almaty is the newcomer to the group, which now faces a January deadline to submit in-depth plans for the Olympic project. An IOC evaluation commission will visit each city and a report will be delivered to the full IOC membership, which will then elect the host city on July 31, 2015 in Kuala Lumpur.
"The executive board was impressed by the legacy plans of each of the three cities, and will continue to support any future candidate or host city in developing them further," said IOC president Thomas Bach in a statement Monday. "This support will be practical, involving the detailed transfer of knowledge as well as financial. In this respect it was good to see that each of the bidding cities understood the difference between the Olympic Games budget and the long-term infrastructure and investment budget, which will benefit their communities for decades to come."
Two other cities, Lviv, Ukraine and Krakow, Poland, were applicant cities in March. The political unrest in the Ukraine forced officials to abandon their attempt to land the Games, while voters in Poland rejected the idea of an Olympic bid.
Another early potential host, Stockholm, also withdrew its bid after the Swedish government failed to back it financially.