Left with little choice after the withdrawal of three contenders, the International Olympic Committee retained the three remaining cities today in the troubled race for the 2022 Winter Games. Almaty, Kazakhstan; Beijing, and Oslo made the list of finalists, as had been expected. The cities must submit their detailed bid files to the IOC by next January, and the host will be named on July 31, 2015. The bid race began with six cities, but Lviv, Ukraine, dropped out a week ago amid the continuing political turmoil. Krakow pulled out in May after Polish voters rejected the bid by a 70% margin. Stockholm withdrew in January after Swedish politicians refused to give the bid financial backing.
And Oslo's candidacy remains uncertain. The Norwegian government won't make a decision until the autumn, probably in November. Polls have shown that more than half the population opposes the bid. Beijing, which hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics, is bidding to become the first city to host both the summer and winter games. But with Pyeongchang, South Korea, hosting the 2018 Winter Games and Tokyo the 2020 Summer Olympics, the IOC would normally be reluctant to send the games to East Asia for a third consecutive time. Almaty, the commercial capital of the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan in Central Asia, hosted the 2011 Asian Games and will host the Winter University Games in 2017. Click for more on cities' reluctance to host.