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Why Beijing Is a Terrible Choice for the 2022 Olympic Games

But it may just be the only realistic one.
China greets the news that Beijing will host the 2022 Winter Olympics.
China greets the news that Beijing will host the 2022 Winter Olympics.Mark Shiefelbein/AP

Athens will never be the permanent home of the Olympic Games. It’s a nice idea, rooted in nostalgia and respect for Greece as the ancient birthplace of the games. It’s also a stab at a solution to the problems that plague the Olympics, born out of an urgent sense of frustration with the status quo—and maybe a (misguided) attempt to heel the Greek economy. Bring the games home to Athens, critics say, and stop imposing these unreal costs on city after city.

Building temporary venues for a sporting mega-event that demands unrivaled extravagance of its hosts is a bad bet for most any city. Finding a fixed port-of-call for the Olympics is an alternative vision that has a lot of admirers. But Athens would never be chosen as that permanent host. It would be Beijing.