In December the Polish government will decide whether to support a planned bid by the southern city of Kraków to host the 2022 Winter Olympics. Kraków would host the games in cooperation with the mountain resort town of Zakopane, also in southern Poland, and Chopok in neighboring Slovakia.
“I'll back up this initiative, but the final world will belong to Minister of Finance Jacek Rostowski,” Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk told reporters.
According to preliminary calculations the games would cost up to $1.8 billion. This would include a conference center and a multi-purpose venue that could host ice skating events, both of which are already being built. Regional authorities expect to receive some of the funds from the European Union, which could be used to renovate other venues and build much-needed transport infrastructure.
Proponents of the idea suggest that most of the infrastructure needed to host the event is already built or will be finished within the next few years. The only missing facilities are a luge/bobsleigh track and a place to host speed skating events. The biggest obstacle to overcome, however, would be building new routes between Poland and Slovakia and new roads in southern Poland.
Kraków, the second largest city in Poland, would host ice skating events (figure skating, hockey, speed skating) and possibly luge and bobsleigh. Ski jumping, cross-country and biathlon events would be held in Zakopane. Chopok in Slovakia would host alpine skiing and snowboarding events.
Poland has hosted various winter sports events in recent years. Zakopane is a regular stop on the Ski Jumping World Cup tour, while the Cross-Country World Cup event took place in Szklarska Poręba in February 2012. A bid by Kraków would also not be Poland's first attempt to host a Winter Olympics. In 1999, Zakopane lost to Turin in the race to host the 2006 event.
So far, the other candidates lining up to host the event are Barcelona, Oslo, St. Moritz, Nice and Lvov. The decision on who will win the race will be made in 2015.
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