International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach has his expressed confidence over the financial implications of hosting the 2022 Winter Games after formally declaring the three candidate cities in Lausanne on Monday.
Almaty, Beijing and Oslo were the only three remaining candidates after Stockholm and Krakow pulled out of the race citing economic concerns, while Lviv will concentrate on a prospective 2026 bid due to the current turbulence in Ukraine.
And the race could yet come down to a straight choice between Almaty and Beijing due to some public and political opposition to the Oslo bid in Norway, whose parliament will vote to decide whether to guarantee financial backing for the Games in November.
However Bach believes the experiences of Vancouver, which hosted the Games in 2010 and this week announced it had broken even, and Sochi, which insists it is in line to make a significant profit, offer cause for optimism.
Bach told a press conference: "The executive board was impressed by the legacy plans of each of the three cities and will continue to support any future candidate for host city in developing them further.
"It was good to see each of the bidding cities understood the difference between the Olympic Games budget and the long-term infrastructure and investment budget, from which the population benefits for decades.
"The executive board is confident the hosts of the Olympic Winter Games in 2022 can at least break even."
The Kazakh city of Almaty, regarded by many as the early front-runner, hosted the 2011 Asian Games and is already committed to hosting the Winter University Games in 2011.
The 2022 bid is Almaty's second attempt at hosting a Winter Games after failing to attain candidate status for 2014.
Beijing is bidding to host its first Winter Games after holding the summer Olympics in 2008. It is committed to using many of the same venues, including the iconic Bird's Nest stadium for the opening and closing ceremonies and the Water Cube for curling.
While Oslo has not staged a Winter Games since 1952, nearby Lillehammer hosted the Games to great acclaim in 1994.
The three candidate cities will undergo an further evaluation in May before the final vote is taken at the IOC session in Kuala Lumpur in July 2015.