OSLO, Norway -- Oslo said it has dropped its bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics after the Norwegian government declined Wednesday to provide financial backing, a move which leaves just two cities in a race that has been decimated by withdrawals.
After Oslo's withdrawal, Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan are the only two cities left vying to host the 2022 Games.
Members of the ruling Conservative party members voted against giving financial guarantees to the bid amid concerns the games would be too costly. The junior partner in the minority coalition voted against the bid four months ago, and polls have shown more than 50 percent of the public were opposed to the bid.
The city of Oslo said it withdrew its application for government financial backing because it likely would not be approved by Parliament.
"I had hoped for a different result tonight," Oslo Mayor Stian Berger Roesland said.
Prime Minister Erna Solberg said there was not enough support to spend $5.4 billion on the Olympics and that the government would not proceed with the bid.
"It's important to get broad support for such an expensive project and there is not enough to carry through such an expensive project," she told Norwegian NRK television. "Without enthusiasm, it's not natural to carry this through."
Stockholm; Krakow, Poland; and Lviv, Ukraine, had pulled out earlier from the 2022 race.
Before that, potential bids from Switzerland and Germany were abandoned when voters said no in referendums.
Many cities in Western Europe have been scared off by the $51 billion price tag associated with the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. While most of that money went to long-term regeneration projects, not the cost of running the games, cities remain wary of the expense.
Mitchell Moss, professor of urban policy and planning at New York University, told CBS News that Russian President Vladimir Putin's vast expenditure has "destroyed the Winter games."
"The experience of Sochi has poisoned the games for other places, because they see that it costs too much to run them and it's a losing proposition," Moss tells CBS News. "Remember, the Winter Olympics are only one third the size of the summer Olympics. It gets one third the number of athletes, one third the number of countries."
For the host cities, the real challenge begins with the end of the Olympics. How do they continue to use the expensive stadiums after the party's over? What happens to the athletes' villages? What is the legacy of the games?
The IOC will select the 2022 host city on July 31, 2015, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.