Sweden challenges Oslo’s Olympic bid

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The cities of Stockholm and Åre in Sweden announced Monday that they’re planning to mount their own bid to hold the Winter Olympics in 2022. The bid will challenge Oslo’s controversial attempt to host what they call “OL2022,” and it comes right after Munich dropped its own effort.

Oslo had emerged as the favourite (or “willing idiot,” depending on how one views Olympic bidding) after voters in Munich blocked their own politicians’ plans to mount an Olympics. The German voters decided that the Olympics has become too expensive and environmentally destructive, and opponents in Germany also had expressed “deep mistrust” of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

‘Strong desire’
Voters in Switzerland had already voted against hosting a Winter Olympics as well, leaving only Oslo, Beijing and cities in Poland, the Ukraine and Kazakhstan as contenders.

On Monday afternoon, though, The Swedish Olympic Committee (Sveriges Olympiske Komité, SOK) announced there was “a strong desire” on the part of the athletic community “to go further with its own plans to host the Olympics.”

A formal bid hinges on “technical and economic” matters. All would-be Olympic organizers have until Thursday to submit official notification of interest in submitting a bid to the IOC.

Winter debut
Sweden has never arranged a Winter Olympics and it’s already raised eyebrows that Swedish organizers envision an Olympics split between Stockholm and Åre, which is 630 kilometers to the north. That makes for long travel time between venues, but Whistler was a fairly long drive from Vancouver and even Lillehammer (the site of a successful Olympics in 1994 and proposed as the site for alpine events and bobsled again in 2022) is a few hours from Oslo.

The Swedes promised “an exciting and creative project that be both spectacular and unique.” Most of the events would be held in the Stockholm area, with only the downhill, super-G, grand slalom and combination events held in Åre. Slalom, snowboarding and ski jumping would take place in Huddinge, south of downtown Stockholm, with several areas proposed for Nordic skiing and biathlon events.

A final decision on the location for the Winter Olympics in 2022 will be announced on July 31, 2015.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund