The 2022 Winter Olympic Games may be seven years off, but now we finally know who’s hosting the games—and it’s no big surprise. Today, the International Olympic Committee announced that Beijing, China barely beat out (44-40) the city of Almaty, Kazakhstan for its first chance at hosting the Winter Games.

This is the second time Beijing will host the Olympics in all, following 2008’s Summer Games and its epic opening ceremony. Moreover, this will be the third consecutive times that Olympics will be held in Asia with the 2018 Winter Games landing in the ski resort town of Pyeongchang, South Korea and the 2020 Summer Games taking place in Tokyo, Japan.

As the Washington Post points out, the decision is part of a larger effort by the IOC to raise the profile of Winter Games to the level of popularity that the Summer Games have long enjoyed. That effort began with a 1986 decision to allow professional athletes to compete and another to move the games in between the Summer Games instead of holding them in the same year as they had in the past.

Meanwhile, the last two decades have seen the Winter Games take place in more popular and accessible cities (with the notable exception of Sochi, Russia). And even though Almaty has the elevation and wintry climate that would make for a perfect game—it’s located at the foot of the Tien Shen Mountains in southwestern Kazakhstan—it’s not as popular for tourists as Beijing.

After games in Canada, France, the U.S., Italy, and Norway (which was in the running again, but dropped out), the IOC may have factored in holding the Winter Olympics in yet another well-known locale with an already well-established infrastructure. So, Beijing it is.

And we don’t know about you, but it seems like we’re in for another truly epic opening ceremony. Looking forward to it!

(Image via Shutterstock)