Beijing 2022 emphasised how their bid is a safe and reliable choice ©Getty Images

Almost the first thing we saw was the Bird’s Nest Stadium; the second was an International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice-president; the third was a video from Xi Jinping, the Chinese President.

After the slick, aggressive Almaty presentation, this was a far more formal, stylised appeal for the IOC to prioritise head over heart and vote for the partner who has "Been There Done That" - and, by the way, who could give a massive boost to the world winter sports industry.

In that sense, probably the most important person on the stage was Yu Zaiqing, a much-respected IOC vice-president, who brought the presentation to a close by asking his colleagues “with the greatest humility” to vote for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic bid.

Probably the second-most important - more so even than Liu Yandong, Vice Premier and the ranking Chinese Government member present - was Yao Ming.

Presentation planners used the basketball icon’s colossal size - first glimpsed in the guise of an ice-hockey netminder - to inject an element of almost slapstick comedy into an otherwise very serious pitch.

When double Olympic short track champion Yang Yang joined the man mountain onstage and murmured “Yes, I am standing”, we might have stumbled into a sequel of Hollywood comedy Twins starring Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

But it worked, and reminded us that the Chinese have a sense of fun, just like the rest of us.

Yao Ming speaking alongside Yang Yang formed the most lighthearted moment of Beijing's presentation ©Beijing 2022
Yao Ming speaking alongside Yang Yang formed the most lighthearted moment of Beijing's presentation ©Beijing 2022

It was not just because of Yao Ming that this came across as the “size is everything” bid.

From 110,000 “star-rated” hotel rooms, to 17 ice-rinks in Beijing alone, to more than 500 ski resorts, to Beijing 2008’s achievement in raising $1.2 billion (£776 million/€1.1 billion) in domestic sponsorship and, finally, to the projected $800 billion (£513 billion/€730 billion) size of the Chinese sports market in 2025, the bid team wasted no opportunity to underline their country’s scale and influence in the world – and who could blame them?

Awarding the Games to Beijing would encourage “300 million Chinese” to participate in ice and snow sports, Vice-Premier Liu informed us – a line that must have resonated with any members with ties to the winter sports equipment industry.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping addressed the IOC in a video presentation ©Getty Images

Where the presentation was less sure-footed was in its handling of a) snow and b) distance.

Sports Minister Liu Peng’s assertion that artificial snow-making systems would use “less than one per cent” of local water supplies, even at peak operation levels, while having “minimal environmental impact” was not entirely reassuring.

While the statement in a video narrative that “more than half our country experiences temperatures below freezing” was glib beyond belief.

Meanwhile, I don’t think I detected a single distance in any of the masterplan maps summarising the project’s three, relatively far-flung, zones

Then again, why highlight your weak-points when you are widely believed to hold a comfortable lead?

In a few hours we will discover whether this received ‘wisdom’ is on the money, or whether the highly-eclectic 85-strong electorate will confound us all.

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