KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Beijing narrowly defeated Almaty, Kazakhstan, in a vote of the International Olympic Committee. The vote was surprisingly close: 44-40. Other cities either decliend to bid or, in the case of Boston, retracted their bids when the real costs became apparent.

The Chinese capital, which hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics, came in to the vote as the strong favorite, despite its lack of natural snow.  Beijing plans to hold the snow and sliding events 60 and 140 kilometers (40 and 90 miles) outside Beijing. A planned high-speed rail line will  cut travel time to 50 minutes and the snow will be  man-made.  Beijing also announced plans to create air conditioned  domes over the ski ans skating arenas so the audience would have a real winter experience.  Audiences in Beijing will be proivided with virtual reality headsets and will be located in air conditioned theaters.

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