By Nick Butler

Eli Grimsby is working hard to address concerns over cost and national support ©TwitterJanuary 11 - Eli Grimsby, chief executive of Oslo's bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, has admitted concerns in Norway over the transparency of the budget need to be addressed if their campaign is to be successful.

It follows the findings of an external review last month which estimated a Games in Oslo would cost 35.1 billion kroner ($5.6 billion/£3.4 billion/€4 billion), although with deductions from income from sponsors and other sources this would be reduced to 21.7 billion kroner ($3.5 billion/£2.1 billion/€2.6 billion).

This is a small figure in comparison with the vast sum reportedly spent by Russia ahead of next months Games in Sochi, but has still provoked criticism at a time many Norwegian municipalities face budget cuts.

Although Grimsby argued "it is easier to find the price than the value", she admitted the proposed budget is "a lot of money even for a rich country like Norway", and is determined to provide details about exactly how the money will be spent. 

"It is important that we focus on the budget and the cost and that we take in discussions about it in a serious way rather than just saying the Games are 'fun' and 'important' so worth it," she told insidethegames.

"We want to show how we will spend our money.

"It is important to work seriously so people have confidence, and do not presume that we are spending double what we claim to be, for example."

Grimsby is working to address concerns on the cost of the Olympics at a time when Oslo is facing economic cuts ©Lise Aserud/AFP/Getty ImagesOslo 2022 chief executive Eli Grimsby is working to address concerns on the cost of the Olympics at a time when Norway is facing economic cuts ©AFP/Getty Images

A civil engineer by trade who has previously worked for the City of Oslo in various capacities, Grimsby will report to Stian Berger Røsland, President of the Bid Committee and Governing Mayor of Oslo, as well as to vice-president Børre Rognlien, who is also head of the Norwegian Confederation of Sport. 

Grimsby described how last month's review, which failed to find "any major weaknesses" in the initial plans, was "a good start" but - as well as the opposition from rivals Almaty, Beijing, Krakow, Stockholm and Lviv - the city now faces the sterner test of securing a "state financial guarantee" from the Norwegian Government by the end of the year.

Despite a referendum having been passed successfully last September in Oslo, enthusiasm is thought to be lower for the country as a whole, with most figures suggesting a 50-50 split between support and opposition. 

Grimsby acknowledged the Government "needs to feel that the whole country is behind the bid" if it is to grant its approval.

As well as the plans to bring benefits to Oslo - such as by the regeneration of the south-eastern part of the city by the venues announced this week for biathlon and Paralympic nordic skiing - plans are also being made to embrace the rest of the nation. 

"The Olympics is huge and Norway is not the biggest country in the world, but we see the Olympics as not just for Oslo but for the whole country," she told insidethegames. 

"The facilities are obviously only in the Oslo and Lillehammmer regions so we need to to use the opportunity that the Olympics will give us to develop other schemes.

"We would use the four years before the Olympics and after Pyeongchang 2018 to focus on activities to raise public health throughout Norway.

"We also have a cultural programme which will start four years before, while we want to increase the volunteer concept to appeal to a new generation - we want to invite the rest of the nation to help us fulfil progress."

The popularity of Winter sports, and stars therein like biathlete Emil Hegle Svendsen, should booster support for Oslo 2022 ©Getty ImagesThe popularity of winter sports, and stars like biathlete Emil Hegle Svendsen, should booster support for Oslo 2022 ©Getty Images

A major way of gaining support would be by focusing on the popularity of winter sports in the country, as well as on the success of the Oslo 1952 and Lillehammer 1994 Games.

Grimsby suggested this, and joked that "in the winter there is always more support for the bid, so it is a pity we did not hold our referendum then."

She also sees the prospect of Norwegian medal success at next month's Games in Sochi as a way to bring people behind the bid.

"Obviously the Olympics in Sochi will be very different from what we would offer in Oslo, but the joy of sport will be there and I am expecting many great achievements from Norwegian athletes as well as from others around the world," she said.