Although rumblings of such a result have been occurring for the last few months, Oslo 2022 did hold out hope that there might be a governmental solution despite increasing public disapproval. Oslo is many ways was a perfect candidate - Norway has a rich and successful history of hosting the Games (Oslo '52, Lillehammer '04), and has been the most successful nation in the Winter Games.
The IOC's response indicates a clear level of frustration, to say the least. None of the previous withdrawals from potential 2022 bids, from Munich, St Moritz and Krakow elicited such a strong comment. Had Oslo remained a candidate, it likely would have been the front-runner by far. Now, the only candidates are Almaty and Beijing, in two nations that do not offer any sort of comfort and shelter from human rights watchers and potential criticism from the larger world looking to hold the Games to an ideal of peace and camaraderie.
Despite no particular controversies during the Games, the run-up to Sochi was certainly a public relations headache for the IOC, and an impetus for critics to rightfully examine the wisdom of selecting host nations with less than ideal socio-political baggage. Now, being left with a choice between Kazakhstan and China is probably a worst-case scenario of epic proportions for the IOC. I imagine China is now the front-runner. China - with lots of money available to spend - will likely host 2022 now, which would mean three Games in a row in Asia after 2018 Pyeongchang and 2020 Tokyo. That is definitely a geographic imbalance the IOC would prefer to avoid, while unfortunately maybe representing a tilt in global politics anyway.
As an Olympic fan, I tend to look at the Games' glass as half-full. So, I had remained optimistic on Oslo sticking with their bid somehow. That was probably my hoping that it really wouldn't come down to the two that it has. The new high bar of scrutiny and expense that the Sochi Games exposed should draw cause for some serious introspection and reevaluation for the IOC in securing viable candidates for the future. Sochi definitely left a bad taste. On that half-full side, the race for the Summer 2024 Games seems to be on track with the U.S, Hungary, and Germany considering a bid, amongst others. Perhaps it's a Winter Games thing.
While applauding Norway for essentially handing them a rebuke, I agree with the IOC that it is a shame that Oslo will not showcase itself to the world. And I cringe at the thought of where these Games are headed. Let's see what lessons in the process the IOC will take on from here. Thomas Bach, you're up.