November 5 - Beijing will launch a surprise bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics with Zhangjiakou as a co-host, the Chinese Olympic Committee (COC) revealed today.
In the announcement, made this morning, the COC revealed Beijing, hosts of the 2008 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, would hold the ice sports, whilst Zhangjiakou would host the snow sports.
Beijing sports authorities believe that their experience of hosting the Games in 2008 will give them an edge in the 2022 bid.
"The 2008 Olympics has left many legacies to Beijing, which includes experience and sufficient infrastructure," said Beijing Sports Bureau chief Li Yingchuan.
"Take the Capital Stadium as an example, it has about 10,000 seats.
"What we need now is a speedskating venue."
Issues concerning the distance between Beijing and Zhangjiakou, which is around 200 kilometres north-west of the capital in the Hebei Province, were answered with the announcement of a new inter-city express railway, which is to be built between the two cities.
Construction of this inter-city express railway is said to begin at the end of this year, with the travel distance set to be around 40 minutes.
The city, which has a population of nearly five million, is located in the northwest part of Hebei Province, and is defined by mostly rough terrain created by the Yin Mountains.
The east of the prefecture marks the Yan Mountains.
"There is a rotation rule, though unwritten, in the bid," he said.
"Since Pyeongchang won the 2018 bid, Beijing as another Asian city will face a daunting task to beat the odds.
"I would say anything is possible.
"Even if Beijing loses this time, we will continue our efforts in the future."
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has set the bid application deadline for November 14, with the host city election due to take place at its Session in Kuala Lumpur on July 31, 2015.
Kazakhstan's Almaty has already submitted its bid for the 2022 Games, while Ukraine's Lviv is expected to put itself forward.
Slovakia's Low Tatras, along with Polish city Krakow, are also planning a joint bid, which will be officially announced on Thursday (November 7).
Norwegian capital Oslo is also expected to bid, while Munich are planning to put themselves forward after an unsuccessful campaign for 2018, providing they receive support in a local referendum due to take place on Sunday (November 10).
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]
October 2013: Joint Poland-Slovakia bid for 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics to be launched next week
October 2013: Lviv set to officially announce bid for 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics
October 2013: Barcelona will not bid for 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, Mayor concedes
September 2013: Munich 2022 Olympic bid officially backed by DOSB
September 2013: Oslo residents vote in favour of 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic bid