Olympics: Oslo safe 2022 choice after ‘experiments’
February 11, 2014 - 12:56:55 am
SOCHI: The organisers of Norway’s bid to hold the 2022 Winter Olympics said Oslo’s modestly-priced proposal was the safe choice after a succession of “experiments” in Olympic host cities.
The budget for the organising committee of the proposed Oslo Games is just $3.4 billion which, if realised, would be a snip compared to the cost of the Sochi 2014 Winter Games which is estimated at $50 billion.
The bid, which is backed by Norwegian cross country ski legend Bjoern Daehlie who won 12 Olympic medals, proposes focusing the Olympics around the city of Oslo with alpine events in the mountains around Lillehammer.
“We are presenting a concept that is comparatively low priced but we are betting on the enthusiasm of the people,” said Gerhard Heiberg, the International Olympic Committee’s member in Norway.
“We have had some experiments but Oslo 2022 will not be an experiment. This is a good and safe place which everyone knows will be successful and benefit the Olympics,” he said in Sochi.
The IOC has in recent years sought to move Summer and Winter Games outside of their traditional hubs with the Summer Games in Beijing in 2008, Russia’s Sochi in 2014 and the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Oslo’s competitors for the 2022 bid are less recognised winter sports venues including Lviv in Ukraine, Almaty in Kazakhstan, Krakow in Poland and Beijing.
“We need experiments from time to time but we also need a good and safe Games,” said Heiberg.
Daehlie recalled the success of the 1994 Lillehammer Games when tens of thousands of people famously camped out overnight to watch his cross country race, creating an unmatched atmosphere.
“We are crazy about sports and I would like other athletes to share that,” he said.
As well as its winter sports culture, Norway in its bid is playing on the multi-ethnic dynamism of Oslo, a city where a quarter of the population are immigrants and almost half of schoolchildren have a mother tongue other than Norwegian.