Leaders of Norway’s Conservative Party (Høyre) didn’t want to take up the hotly debated issue of whether the country should host the 2022 Winter Olympics at their national meeting over the weekend. Lots of debate reportedly went on in the corridors, though.
The Conservatives’ government partner, the Progress Party (Frp), voted the weekend before against hosting an Olympics, contending it simply would be too expensive. The state must agree to guarantee the costs of the huge sporting event, which are now budgeted at NOK 35 billion (nearly USD 6 billion) but can soar much higher.
Frp’s vote poses a challenge for those within the Conservatives who want to host an Olympics, but there also are many within the party who oppose it, too. Public opinion polls from Conservative Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s own home district are also heavily against it, and the party hasn’t taken a stand as yet.
Fabian Stang, a member of the Conservatives and mayor of Oslo where the Olympics would be held, made his own impassioned appeal to fellow members, though. “Give the young an OL,” he said. “Let’s show the world our values.”
Meanwhile, the Royal Palace’s official calendar shows that King Harald will receive the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, at the palace in Oslo on May 19. Oslo is favoured to win any formal bid for the Winter Games in 2022, because many other top contenders including Bach’s native Germany have dropped their bids over the costs involved.