withdraws Oslo bid for 2022 Winter Games
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[October 02, 2014]
OSLO (Reuters) - Norway's government
is withdrawing Oslo's bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, it said on
Wednesday, leaving Beijing and Almaty in Kazakhstan as the only
contenders after most potential applicants pulled out.
Norway, which has hosted the Games twice and won more Winter
Games medals than any other nation, will quit the race after the
ruling Conservative and Progress parties both declined support,
asking the government to stop the application.
"We've received clear advice and there is no reason not to follow
this advice," Conservative Prime Minister Erna Solberg said. "A big
project like this, which is so expensive, requires broad popular
support and there isn't enough support for it."
This year's Sochi Olympics cost a record $51 billion, and while
Norway promised an event a tenth of that figure, campaigners could
not rally enough support in part due to fears that the cost of
hosting the Games would balloon.
"The Conservative Party MPs are divided and cannot advise the
government to go ahead with the Olympics. We therefore asked the
government to halt the application process," Conservative MP Trond
The International Olympic Committee called Oslo's withdrawal a
missed opportunity for the country, its people and the athletes.
"This is a missed opportunity for the city of Oslo and for all the
people of Norway who are known worldwide for being huge fans of
winter sports," said IOC Executive Director for the Games Christoph
Dubi in a statement.
"And it is mostly a missed opportunity for the outstanding Norwegian
athletes who will not be able to reach new Olympic heights in their
He said Norway's political leaders appeared to have not been briefed
properly on the process and made a decision based on "half-truths
and factual inaccuracies".
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"Earlier this year the Norwegian bid team asked for a meeting with
the IOC for an explanation of all aspects of the IOC requirements,
including the financial details, and the IOC arranged this for all
three bid cities in order to ensure fair play amongst the three
bids," Dubi said.
"Unfortunately, Oslo sent neither a senior member of the bid team
nor a government official to this meeting. For this reason senior
politicians in Norway 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."
Stockholm in Sweden, Krakow in Poland, and Ukraine's Lviv have all
previously pulled out of the bidding process. Switzerland's St
Moritz and Germany's Munich briefly considered a run for the 2022
Games before financial concerns and local opposition led to them
dropping their plans.
Oslo city council immediately said it was withdrawing its
application for a state guarantee to host the Games, as it no longer
saw a realistic chance of parliament backing the application.
(Reporting by Terje Solsvik, Additional reporting by Karolos
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