September 10 - The majority of Oslo residents are in favour of bidding to host the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, the preliminary results of a public referendum revealed today.
Held alongside yesterday's wider Parliamentary elections, the vote on whether or not to bring the Games back to Norway, which holds the highest medal count in Winter Olympic history, for a third time was particularly close with just 55.1 per cent - 172,837 votes - supporting the bid, against 44.9 per cent - 140,982 - opposing the idea.
"This is a huge relief," Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee President Børre Rognlien said.
"Thank you so much to everyone who has made sure that the dream lives on.
"Thank you to all who have voted yes.
"Thanks to all who have lined up in the media, in public meetings, on the stands, in debates, with fliers, with the arguments, with this commitment.
"In short, thank you so much to everyone who has provided for this victory.
"The people have spoken - the sport and the municipality have managed to convince the people of Oslo of all the benefits an Olympics on home turf will give the city, sport, youth and volunteering.
"Now, the Government and the Parliament can be assured of the quality of the application and the Olympic concept.
"The Olympics and Paralympics calls for support among the sports and that we have.
"The Olympics and Paralympics require support among politicians - that we almost unanimously have in the City Council.
"And the Olympics and Paralympics require support from the people of Oslo, which we have now also received.
"I cannot wait to continue the work to convince even more of the great potential that lies in hosting this event for the sport, for the city and for the country."
Norway last hosted the Winter Games in 1994 in Lillehammer, which will also be staging the Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2016, and it is now up to the nation's newly elected centre-right leader Erna Solberg to consider the 2022 bid, which, if it goes ahead, will have to be submitted to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) by the deadline of November 14 this year.
Earlier this year Oslo City Council backed the bid proposal and Minister of Culture Hadia Tajik submitted an application for Governmental support and financial guarantees, with the event estimated to cost up to 30 billion NOK (£3.2 billion/$4.9 billion/€3.8 billion).
Having already hosted the Winter Olympics in 1952, Oslo has said it would primarily rely on existing facilities should it win the rights to host the 2022 Games.
"It is a great victory for the yes-side," Inge Andersen, the National Olympic Committee's secretary general, added.
"I'm really happy."
Almaty in Kazakhstan remains the only city to have formally applied to host the 2022 Winter Games but Barcelona and Munich are also considering submitting bids.
The IOC will elect the host city of the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics on July 31, 2015 at its 127th Session in Kuala Lumpur.
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September 2013: Oslo holds referendum and Barcelona indicates willingness as 2022 Winter Olympic bid plans escalate