Lillehammer considering bid for 2016 Winter Youth Olympics

Friday, 16 April 2010

By Duncan Mackay
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year

April 16 - Lillehammer, who hosted what is generally regarded as the best-ever Winter Olympics, are weighing up whether to launch a bid for the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games. 



The Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sport (NOC) said that it planned to continue talks with the Government and local authorities to see whether they should put in a bid.

A final decision is expected in June.

The NOC claimed that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had asked them to bid for the event but that they wanted to guarantee that the financial guarantees were in place before they went ahead.

Lillehammer had hoped to bid for the inaugural Winter Youth Olympics but were unable to provide the necessary guarantees and the Games were awarded to Innsbruck.

Tove Paule, the President of the NOC, said: "We have had meetings with several federations and aired the idea of seeking the Youth  Olympics again, and the response has been positive.

"There is great interest in promoting a Norwegian application from both the federations engaged in winter and summer sports.

"The case was up on the Sports Board meeting on Tuesday, with no conclusion either way.

"But there is interest in the event."

Lillehammer's Winter Olympics in 1994 are among the most fondly remembered of all Games.

It was the last time the Games was staged in a small town - Lillehammer has a population of only 25,000 - and were memorable for a number of reasons, including Norway's speed skater Johan Olav Koss winning three gold medals in three world records and the return to the Olympic arena after a 10-year absence of Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean (pictured), who won the bronze medal in the ice dancing.

The Norwegian Government would need to provide a financial guarantee of 500 krone (£55 million/$85 million) if Lillehammer bid for 2016, Paule has estimated.

She said: "The greatest advantage in bidding for the Youth Olympics is related to the infrastructure in conjunction with accommodation.

"The idea is that a Youth Olympics will help the development of the Olympic Park in Lillehammer."

Earlier this week, Sofia announced that it had scrapped plans to bid for the 2016 Youth Olympics.

Other cities expected to bid are Lucerne in Switzerland and Zaragoza in Spain while Lake Placid, which hosted the 1932 and 1980 Olympics, may also put themselves forward.

Contact the writer of this story at duncan.mackay@insidethegames.biz


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