Olympic booster calls it quits

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Børre Rognlien, president of Norway’s national athletics federation and the Norwegian Olympic Committee, says he won’t stand for re-election when his term ends next year. Not only did his effort to mount a Winter Olympics in Oslo fail, but he also received death threats for trying.

Børre Rognlien  PHOTO: Idrettsforbundet

Børre Rognlien PHOTO: Idrettsforbundet

Newspaper Aftenposten reported that Rognlien, age 69, said he wasn’t quitting because of the failed Oslo Olympic project, which was strongly opposed by a majority of the Norwegian population, but because the threats he received in connection with the Olympic bid were hard on his family.

“One of the threats has been reported to the police,” Rognlien, a career sports bureaucrat, told Aftenposten. He seemed surprised by the animosity generated by his insistence that spending at least NOK 35 billion on an Oslo Olympics would be good for the whole country. One problem was that Rognlien himself had been involved in major sports projects, not least the reconstruction of Bislett Stadium, that involved large budget overruns. His credibility wasn’t high in circles outside the sports community. Others felt the sports lobby in Norway had become to powerful, and that the vast amounts of taxpayer money needed for an Olympics would be better spent elsewhere.

After 51 years involved in everything from the Eidsvold Boxing Club to being president of the state speed skating federation and the organizing committees for the European and world championships in Norway, he’ll retire in June but then plans to volunteer his time in sporting activities.

newsinenglish.no staff