Ex-OL boss rises from the sewers

Eli Grimsby, who led the failed effort to win support for a Winter Olympics in Oslo, won’t be returning to her old job working in the city’s water and sewer department after all. She and 15 other former “Oslo2022” staffers have secured new jobs, working to see that some of the Olympic sports venues get built anyway.

PHOTO: Oslo2022/Oslo Kommune

Eli Grimsby has found another new job on the city’s payroll, leading efforts to build some of the sports facilities planned for a Winter Olympics in 2022 even thought the Olympic effort failed. PHOTO: Oslo2022/Oslo Kommune

“I was very glad when the politicians, on the day after the OL downturn, said they wanted to go ahead with plans on new sports facilities,” Grimsby told newspaper Dagsavisen.

Topping the list is a new Jordal Amfi, housing a much-needed new ice skating and hockey rink on Oslo’s east side. According to plans, it should be finished in 2018.

Grimsby said that the new Oslo budget for next year, approved earlier this month, included NOK 6 million (USD 810,000) for a new “temporary” city agency charged with planning the new Jordal Amfi. From July 1 2015, a new city-owned company (kommunal foretak, KF) will be set up to develop, own and manage the city’s cultural and sports facilities. It will have its own budget and be responsible for further planning.

“I’m a building engineer,” Grimsby said, though. “So I want to build, not just plan.” The KF’s first project will be the Jordal Amfi, which was the arena Grimsby’s former OL crew had come the furthest with planning before the state refused to move forward with the Olympic (OL) bid.

“The city government has decided that a new Jordal Amfi will be built,” Grimsby said. “For an OL, we planned 6,000 seats. What happens now hasn’t been decided, but we must build a facility that meets the needs.”

The new arena had a budget of NOK 492 million. Several other arenas were also planned for an OL in 2022. “Fortunately, the work we did (for an OL) wasn’t in vain,” Grimsby told Dagsavisen, adding that there’s a “screaming need” for new sports facilities in Oslo.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund