Sports stars and administrators were playing with fire once again this week, after the Olympic flame arrived in advance of Norway’s hosting of the Youth Olympic Games in February. The games themselves will play out in Lillehammer, site of the Winter Olympics in 1994.
A torch with the Olympic flame, which landed from Greece late Wednesday afternoon, was ceremoniously carried to the Norwegian Parliament, in a relay of athletes from the National Theater to the parliament building (Stortinget). There it will burn until Norway’s annual athletes’ gala on January 9, when it will be carried on yet another relay around the country until arriving at the Youth Olympics’ opening ceremonies on February 12.
That’s when young Princess Ingrid Alexandra will formally light the Olympic torch for the Youth Olympics that run through February 21. Her father, Crown Prince Haakon, performed similar duties when he lit the flame at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer.
Even though Oslo voters and, ultimately, the government turned down hosting a Winter Olympics in 2022, because of the huge expense and unpopular demands from the International Olympic Committee, many turned out for the flame arrival ceremonies Wednesday evening. Among them was the President of the Parliament, Olemic Thommessen, and former skiing champions Vegard Ulvang and Bjørn Dæhlie, in addition to young athletes and the youngest member of the national athletics board Idrettsstyret, Guri Ramtoft.