And then there were three.
The International Olympics Committee named three cities as finalists Monday to host the 2022 Winter Olympics after three other cities took themselves out of the running under public and political pressure.
Almaty, Kazakhstan, Oslo, Norway, and Beijing made the cut, a task made easier after Stockholm, Sweden, Krakow, Poland, and Lviv, Ukraine pulled out of the race.
Krakow and Stockholm dropped out after voters in Poland rejected a bid to host the Winter Games by a 70 percent margin and lawmakers in Sweden refused to give the bid financial backing.
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The Lviv bid was doomed by Ukraine’s uncertain future following Russia’s incursion shortly after last February’s Winter Games in Sochi. Efforts to bid by Switzerland and Germany were scrapped in their infancy because of lack of public support.
Countries and cities are having second thoughts about the benefits of hosting the Olympics – winter and summer – because of the staggering costs and security concerns. The Sochi games cost a record $51 billion.
"The (IOC) executive board is confident that the future hosts of the Olympic Winter Games can break even with the Olympic Games budget – as Vancouver has just announce for the Olympic Winter Games 2010; Or, as in the case of Sochi, make a considerable profit, which they project to be in the range of $200 million," IOC President Thomas Bach said in a statement.
Pyeongchang, South Korea, is hosting the 2018 Winter Games and Rio de Janeiro is hosting the 2016 summer games.
Oslo and Beijing have Olympics histories. Oslo hosted the 1953 Winter Games and Lillehammer, Norway staged the 1994 Winter Olympics. Beijing hosted the 2008 summer Olympics and is trying to become the first city to hold the summer and winter games.
Almaty doesn’t have an Olympics track record, but it hosted the 2011 Asian Games and will host the 2017 Winter University Games.