Winter Olympics without snow

The two biggest sporting events are said to be the Olympics and the football World Cup. We already have a World Cup planned in 2022 in Qatar where searing summer temperatures make a football match impossible, even the spectators are at grave risk.

This has now inevitably been rescheduled to later in the year when temperatures, although exceedingly high, pose less of a problem. It should be pointed out that the original brief given to all bidding countries was for a (northern hemisphere) summer tournament. Countries like Australia and Japan would have willingly bid for a winter tournament, much to their advantage. Japan, for example would avoid both the rainy season and the seasonal typhoon risk, not to mention the summer heat, with a winter bid which could afford excellent playing and viewing conditions. But they never had the chance. Qatar was chosen heat and all, and then the goalposts were changed after the vote.

And if that wasn’t bad enough we can now also look forward to a winter Olympics devoid of snow. It’s not the first time. The last winter Olympics, held in Sochi, Russia also had virtually no real snow. The Alpine events, the Nordic events, snowboarding, the luge, the skeleton, the bobsleigh, in fact anything outside in the real world, were all held on artificial snow. It is not the same.

The 2022 Winter Olympics were awarded to Beijing, which not only has no snow, it also lacks the other requisite: a mountainside. It transpires that the outside events will be held about 100km from Beijing (ie not in Beijing) and on a mountain which gets next to no snow. So about half of the games will not be in the host city. And once again we will be treated to artificial snow slopes with spectators in t-shirts, and a backdrop of bare, brown mountainside; White Christmas it will not be. It may as well have been awarded to Qatar.

How can anyone with any common sense make such a judgement? I think deep down we all know the answer.

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