June 20 - Oslo's bid to host the 2022 Olympics and Paralympics has reached another milestone with an application for Governmental support and financial guarantees to stage the Winter Games, estimated to cost up to 30 billion NOK (£3.3 billion/$5.2 billion/€3.9 billion).
Delivered by Minister of Culture Hadia Tajik (pictured top, right), the request from the Norwegian capital and the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sports (NIF), is the latest step in the bid process after it received backing from the City Council earlier this month.
A recent survey claimed that 58 per cent of city residents back the bid but a referendum, scheduled to coincide with the Parliamentary election on September 9, will give the citizens an opportunity to officially support the plans or not.
"The Winter Olympics and Paralympics is an international celebration of sports and culture, one where we will wish a heartily welcome to everyone to visit Oslo and Norway in 2022," said Governing Mayor of Oslo Stian Berger Røsland (pictured top, centre).
"It is our aim to create an event where everyone feels welcome."
If Oslo submits a bid and ultimately wins the rights to stage the Games it would be the first time the city has held the Olympics since 1952 - with 2022 marking the 70-year anniversary - and the first time in Norway since 1994, when Lillehammer staged the global winter sport showpiece.
The proposed bid is based on a "Games in the City" concept, where all venues will be located in a half-circle throughout the city, just 10 to 15 minutes from the Athletes' and Media Villages.
"Oslo is the only city on the planet that is able to organise the Winter Olympics in an urban setting," Røsland added.
"'Games in the City' is a concept where – with very few exceptions – all competitions will take place within the city limits.
"We will use the city's unique location between the mountains and the fjords, together with a good and stable winter climate to present international big city life in balance with fantastic experiences from nature.
"We believe that Oslo has a strong position in the tough international competition that lies ahead, and a 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics staged in Oslo will leave a positive legacy here in Norway, and in the Olympic Movement, long after the Closing Ceremony is completed."
If the inhabitants of Oslo approve the plans to go ahead with the bid, the Government will continue its work with the evaluation of the application before the Norwegian Parliament make a decision on the financial shortfall guarantee during the autumn of 2014.
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June 2013: Oslo 2022 bid backed by City Council - now it awaits the public's verdict