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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Olympic efforts underway

Sports boosters and skiing bureaucrats seem to be moving forward with efforts to attract another Winter Olympics to Norway. A recent public opinion poll suggested nearly 60 percent of those questioned would support an Olympic bid, and the local media hype has begun.

The afternoon paper in Oslo, Aften, has run several articles claiming widespread support for an Olympic bid by the City of Oslo, following the overall success of the recent Nordic skiing world championships (Ski-VM) last month. The poll conducted by research firm Respons for Aften indicated that 58 percent are positive to proposals to holding a Winter Olympics in Oslo in either 2022 or 2026. Around 25 percent of the 802 persons questioned were negative and 17 percent had no opinion.

The Olympic boosterism began even before Ski-VM ended, when Norwegian Gerhard Heiberg of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) floated the idea. IOC President Jacques Rogge followed up during a visit to Oslo in mid-March, by making it clear the IOC would welcome an application. He called the atmosphere at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer “magical,” and was well aware of the Ski-VM crowds and enthusiasm despite one day of transport chaos.

Critics contend an Olympics would amount to a very expensive party, with no guarantees for long-term economic benefits. City officials are cautiously positive, but made it clear that state officials would have to contribute far more funding guarantees than they did for Ski-VM.

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