Performers and uniformed volunteers erupted into dancing and flag-waving in Beijing as the Chinese capital was named the 2022 Winter Olympics host.

The choreographed events in the Chinese capital and the city of Zhangjiakou in the surrounding province of Hebei province followed the International Olympic Committee vote for Beijing over Kazakhstan’s Almaty, making the Chinese capital the first city to host both the summer and winter Games.

“I am so excited. This is China’s pride,” Zhang Hong, China’s women’s 1,000m speed skating gold medal winner at the Sochi Games, told CCTV.

“This is going to change so many people’s lives,” a presenter on the state broadcaster declared.

Young volunteers wearing matching polo shirts waved the Chinese national flag and bid logos outside Beijing’s iconic Bird’s Nest stadium, where the 2022 opening ceremony will be held.

Earlier they had been instructed to practice their clapping and cheering, an AFP video journalist witnessed.

Similar displays were staged simultaneously in Zhangjiakou, where many of the skiing events will be held in 2022, and state broadcaster CCTV showed onlookers celebrating.

Dancers in traditional Chinese tunics waved fans as they gyrated to the sound of banging drums in scenes reminiscent of the 2008 Olympics opening pageant.

Beijing’s bid has been backed by China’s considerable financial muscle and the kind of political support that only a one-party state can provide, and officials say public backing is overwhelming.

“No organised activities against the bid for the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games have been found,” the bid website said. – Agence France-Presse

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