Oslo, Norway, Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan are the three finalists in the running to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.
The finalists shouldn't come as a surprise as they were the only three cities in the running prior to the IOC reaching the final stage.
Previously Krakow, Poland, Stockholm, Sweden and Lviv, Ukraine had also been in the running. Lviv pulled out given the political turmoil in that country while both Stockholm and Krakow withdrew because of an overwhelming rejection of the bid from the public. The same concerns aborted potential bids from Germany and Sweden before they began.
Oslo remains in the running at this point but its bid is also in some question of continuing as the Norwegian public has also expressed reservations, leaving politicians hesitant to back the bid, and that's in a country where the Winter Olympics are popular with Norway constantly finishing at or near the top of the medal count.
The surging costs of the Games ($51 billion in Sochi is quite intimidating) has been turning many nations off the dream of hosting the Olympics, something that the IOC is going to have to do something about in the future if it wants to keep sharing the Olympic Games.
Beijing is hoping to become the first city to host both the Summer and Winter Olympics after the Chinese city welcomed the world in the 2008 Summer Games. Hurting its odds is the fact that the 2018 Olympics have already been awarded to Pyeongchang, South Korea and the 2020 Olympics to Tokyo. Putting the 2022 Games in Beijing would leave the Olympics concentrated in the same general part of the world over a six-year span.
Almaty is one of Kazakhstan's biggest cities for a country with some record of Winter Olympic prowess. It will have a head start on facilities should it be selected as the host as it will have a 12,000-seat Ice Palace for hockey already built for the 2017 Winter University Games and a recently renovated 5,000-seat Baluan Sholak Sports Palace that was used for the 2011 Asian Winter Games. That's among other facilities the could be adopted.
The IOC will announce the host city for the 2022 Olympics on July 31 of 2015 after final detailed bids are submitted in January. We'll know then if we're looking at a three-city race or just two.