Early this AM, China was selected to be the host of the 2022 Winter Olympics, located in Beijing. This will mark the first time in Olympic history that a country will be hosting both the Summer and Winter games. Members of the International Olympic Committee voted 44-40 in favor of China, defeating their lone competitor, Kazakhstan, in a closer than expected race.

"This will be a memorable event at the foot of the Great Wall for the whole Olympic family," organizers for Beijing's bid said in a statement afterward.

The Beijing delegation celebrates. Photograph: Olivia Harris/AFP/Getty Images

Northern China, not exactly known for their stellar mountain ranges or ski areas, managed to convince the committee that they were the right candidate to take on the challenge of hosting the Winter Games in a region destitute of snow. China has already created a special program, said to have cost roughly $30 million, that is intended to produce athletes in sports with little history in the country, like Nordic combined skiing, luge, skeleton and bobsled.

There have been mixed reactions on the selection, “We are not that enthusiastic about it because it is not the Summer Olympics but only the Winter Olympics,” said Wu Xiaowen, 46, an accountant in Beijing. “We don’t play or watch those games.” In contrast, “Winning the bid will surely make more people know about China, that we are a major power now, and we are no worse than the United States,” said Zhang Zhaoshi, 76, a retiree, as he opened a bottle of Chinese wine at his home in Beijing to celebrate. “The victory will surely allow us Chinese to speak more confidently in the world.”

Although we are still 7 years away, there is plenty for China to do as to ensure the games go smoothly. What do you think of China hosting the Winter Olympics?

All quotes/photos via NYTimes.com.