Norway turns down Winter Olympics 2022 - and the IOC
After the leading Norwegian governmental party voted not to support Oslo as the host city of the 2022 Winter Olympics last night, the city of Oslo has withdrawn its host application. Norwegian media has since been filling with IOC-critical comments, calling the IOC both pompous and unsympathetic.
“Oslo2022 is a project that has had overwhelming support in the Oslo City Government and that has had support through the local vote in 2013. I had hoped for a different result tonight and I am of course disappointed,” said Stian Berger Røsland, Governing Mayor in Oslo to Norwegian newspaper aftenposten.no.
The vote yesterday leaves the Oslo2022 bid without the necessary political support. According to parliamentary leader Trond Helleland, the withdrawal was not due to the publication of the list of requirements from the IOC, which filled Norwegian media on the day of the vote, but rather a lack of general support for the project.
“The most important argument (to withdraw the bid, ed.) has been that this process that has not managed to mobilise the public. Furthermore, the specific demands (from the IOC, ed.) have been difficult to comply with. At the same time, many have wished to influence the IOC towards a sober Olympic Games. With the parliamentary group split in two halves as here, we chose to stop the process,” said Helleland at the press conference following the vote according to aftenposten.no.
Director of the Nowegian bid, Eli Grimsby, today agreed that without public support, there is no bid:
“This is a project that is too big for one city to lift without national support,” she said to Norwegian Bradcasting Coorperation NRK.
In a formal statement released shortly after the announcement of the Norwegian vote result, the IOC Executive Director of the Olympic Games, Christophe Dubi, expressed his disappointment with the Norwegian decision:
"This is a missed opportunity for the City of Oslo and for all the people of Norway who are known world-wide for being huge fans of winter sports. And it is mostly a missed opportunity for the outstanding Norwegian athletes who will not be able to reach new Olympic heights in their home country.”
The statement further says, that the Norwegian senior politicians “appear not to have been properly briefed on the process and were left to take their decisions on the basis of half-truths and factual inaccuracies.”
According to Norwegian IOC member Gerhard Heiberg, the Norwegian 'no' has hit the IOC hard.
“I called and talked to my executives and they are very sorry and very disappointed. Especially the president (Thomas Bach, ed.) who has felt that he, as a German, should showcase what we can do in Western Europe,” Heiberg said in an interview with NRK, writes aftenposten.no.
According to Norwegian media, the decision seems to be more of a relief than a disappointment among many Norwegians, and there has been no shortage of critical remarks concerning the IOC.
“Norway said no to the pompous, ridiculous, outworldly, greedy and unsympathetic gathering that the IOC has become. To the greed and the organisation’s zealous hunt for precious offerings meant to make their egos sail. The Olympic Games are still a beautiful event but those who own it have rottened to the root,” writes political commentator Fritjhof Jacobsen in vg.no and continues:
“That Norway says no to hosting a Winter Games, we almost certainly would have won is remarkable. That the IOC and the Norwegian sports top have managed to knock over the recognition of the Olympic Games in a country where ski slopes and alpine hills are more used than in long time should make someone think carefully.”