By Nick Butler at the Han Yue Lou Hotel in Nanjing

Eli Grimsby remains confident Oslo 2022 will receive Government support ©Oslo 2022Oslo 2022 chief executive Eli Grimsby remains "very optimistic" that Norway's under-fire bid for the Winter Olympics and Paralympics will ultimately receive Government support, and is "quite sure" there will still be three Candidate Cities in the race until next summer.


Discussion is currently taking place among Government officials over the bid before recommendations are sent to Parliament at the end of next month, with a final decision likely to be announced in October or November.

Among those making the decision will be Finance Minister Siv Jensen, leader of the minority Coalition partner, the Progress Party, who have already publicly come out against the bid, although the majority Conservative wing are yet to make a united opinion either way.

Oslo - up against Almaty and Beijing in a three horse race for the Games - is also facing a growing backlog of opposition from various quarters, with a recent poll suggesting that only three out of every 10 Norwegians supports the bid. 

Given this context, Grimsby's optimism could, and undoubtedly will, be construed as a stubborn refusal to accept the reality of the situation.

But she remains confident she can help bring the Games back to the Norwegian capital for the first time since 1952 

"The last poll was a surprise," she told insidethegames during the Summer Youth Olympic Games, which she is attending here. 

"Although the poll is representative on a national level, it was conducted by the regional newspaper Nordlys, located in the Tromsø region in the northern part of Norway, and is against what we've seen so far.

"After Sochi [2014] there were a lot of doubts, but there are less people saying no, we have seen that in June and July, and this is only one poll.

"On the other hand, it is not such a big surprise as we know the Norwegian people.

"Yes, we love winter sport, but we also love to debate and we are a skeptical people."

The opinion of Prime Minister Erna Solberg could be crucial in determining whether Government support is given ©AFP/Getty ImagesThe opinion of Prime Minister Erna Solberg could be crucial in determining whether Government support is given ©AFP/Getty Images



Grimsby also draws strength from the fact that when a referendum was held last September about whether the bid should be launched, some polls suggested support was as low as 40 per cent, but the vote ultimately showed that over 55 per cent supported the campaign. 

The Government decision will not be purely based on popular support and convincing officials of the true cost and technical strengths of the bid is also crucial, Grimsby claimed.  

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Working Group report last month, where Oslo 2022 achieved high scores, is also cited as a boost for the bid that will go a long way to convincing officials of the merits of going ahead. 

Much of the opposition to Oslo's bid is based upon opposition towards the IOC. 

"I have been saying that the IOC is much better than its reputation," she told insidethegames.

"It is working really hard, it is professional and we are trying to knock-down misunderstandings.

"I think people in Norway will understand, they are sensible people, there will always be critical people, but no one likes the Olympics like the Norwegians.

"I think when we come out with the right facts about the budget, cost, concept and the IOC, I am quite sure the support will increase."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]mes.biz


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