Why Norway is glad it's NOT hosting the 2022 Olympics

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Marco Werman: I'm Marco Werman and this is "The World". If you're into the luge or Nordic skiing or short track speed skating today is the day you can start those travel plans to go to the 2022 games. Your airline ticket will be sending you to the Far East. The International Olympic Committee has voted and here is IOC president Thomas Bach announcing the results.

 

Thomas Bach: The International Olympic Committee has the honor to announce the host city of the Olympic Winter Games 2022 - Beijing.

 

Werman: And the crowd goes wild, the band plays on. So Beijing has another Olympics, this time the Winter Games. It beat out Almaty, Kazakhstan, and well, just Kazakhstan. That's because Stockholm, Sweden, Kraków, Poland, and Oslo, Norway, all did, like us here in Boston, they pulled out of the bidding. Anders K. Christiansen is a sports journalist with VG. That's a Norwegian newspaper. And he joins us from Oslo. So I guess congratulations are not in order. Why did Oslo back out of its Olympic bid last fall?

 

Anders Christiansen: Well, I've followed the discussions in Boston and I see some similarities. It's basically people being concerned about how much money this is, and Norway has traditionally been very skeptical towards IOC movement I would say. It's been like that for many years. So that made it impossible for the Norwegian government to vote yes.

 

Werman: Where has that skepticism come from in Norway?

 

Christiansen: Well, if we go back to Lillehammer in 1994, it was already there before the games when Juan Antonio Samaranch was head of office in the IOC. It was huge discussions in Norway and he was actually saying he planned not to go at some point. So it's been there for many years and people are skeptical about sport politicians driving around in limousines. That's not very Norwegian.

 

Werman: So not only are IOC officials driving around in limousines, but then you dig into the seven-thousand-page document provided by the IOC for Oslo's bid and you found some pretty surprising things in the list of what Norway would have to provide for the games if they got the games. What did you find?

 

Christiansen: Yeah, well, this was one of the good things that I think the Norwegian bid committee pressed forward, that they made the IOC make this public. And in the technical manuals there were things saying that they would like to meet the king, they would like to have to have the temperature of the offices at twenty-one or twenty-two degrees Celsius, I don't remember it exactly. They were to be provided with a certain telephone with a Norwegian number. They were having free beers, free alcohol on the venues for the IOC. So a lot of things that the IOC later on said, well, suggestions not demands. They said it was something they recommended. Yeah, there was a bit of an argument there, but at least that's what the technical manual said and this was of course coming at a crucial stage in the Norwegian bid. Well, just hours later we published that story, the Norwegian coalition said no.

 

Werman: Yeah, there were a couple of others that you didn't mention. It's like reading the [??] sheet for some rock stars. Like having fruit and cakes of the season in IOC members' rooms, having minibars stocked with Coca-Cola. I mean when you first saw this document how did you react?

 

Christiansen: This is the IOC. We know what we're talking about. But to the general audience, to the public, this was huge, this was big news, and they made it very, very difficult to say yes for a coalition government already fighting against the majority of the people saying no.

 

Werman: Anders K. Christiansen is a sports journalist in Oslo with the newspaper VG. Thank you very much.

 

Christiansen: Thank you for having me.