Beijing staked its bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, which if selected will earn the Chinese capital the distinction of being the first city to organise both summer and winter versions of the Games.
The bid by the 2008 Summer Olympics host was formally announced by Chinese officials at Sochi in Russia, where the Winter Games are currently going on.
Beijing, along with Zhangjiakou in north western Hebei province, is vying with several other European cities to host the Winter Games, according to the plan outlined by the officials.
Five cities are in the running to host the event in eight years' time – Almaty (Kazakhstan), Beijing (China), Krakow (Poland), Lviv (Ukraine) and Oslo (Norway).
The officials highlighted the steps being taken by the Chinese government to address challenges such as construction of winter sport facilities, traffic congestion and air pollution.
If selected, the opening ceremony would be held in the National Stadium in Beijing which is commonly knows as "the Bird's Nest", Chinese officials said.
Yang Shu'an, President of Chinese Olympic Committee, said China would do everything possible to make sure that winter sports becomes an important part of people's life in the country.
"Promoting winter sports in China, and supporting the Olympic movement have always been our guiding principle. We are bidding for the 2022 Olympics in a responsible manner.
"Regardless of the result, we will carry on. We will go forward, and carry on promoting winter sports. We want to strike a balance between Winter Games and Summer Games," state run CCTV quoted him as saying.
"In 2008, Beijing delivered a truly exceptional Olympic Games to the world. So five years later, we launched our bid for the 24th Winter Olympics in 2022," he said.
This is an important decision, and a dream for 25 million residents, he said.
"By hosting the 2022 Winter Games, we hope to fulfil the dream of hosting both the Summer and Winter Olympics in the same city," Yang Xiaochao, Beijing vice mayor said.
Image: Figure skater Jian Tong of the China Olympic team carries his country's flag during the Winter Games Opening Ceremony in Sochi on Friday
Photograph: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images