By Nick Butler
A meeting between leading Norwegian officials and representatives from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will take place in order to "build bridges" and learn lessons following the withdrawal of Oslo's bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.
The Norwegian capital pulled out of the race earlier this month after the country's coalition Government failed to back the bid in the face of formidable public opposition, leaving Almaty and Beijing as the only remaining candidates.
Afterwards, the IOC fiercely criticised Oslo 2022 for missing an opportunity and failing to properly brief politicians, while, at the same time, the IOC have been lambasted for a list of supposedly "over-extravagant" guidelines given to all the candidates.
The meeting, which has no confirmed date yet but is likely to take place at the end of October or the beginning of November, will feature a "small group" of representatives from the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sports (NOC), including some who were directly involved with Oslo's bid.
"It is about building the bridges between the IOC and Norway before Lillehammer 2016 (Winter Youth Olympic Games), the next Olympic event," NOC secretary general Inge Anderson told insidethegames.
"From our side, we were disappointed [with the withdrawal] but we respect the decision of the Government.
"The Winter Olympic bid was a complex and difficult situation with the coalition Government we had, which was highly political but also very emotional in Norway.
"But we have always had good cooperation and dialogue with the IOC, and we are keen to show our support for Agenda 2020, which is very interesting and important."
But, with three other European contenders - Stockholm, Kraków and Lviv - having withdrawn from the 2022 race, and two others - Munich and Davos/St Moritz - having abandoned potential attempts following failed referendums before the process even began, revitalising interest in the bidding process is key.
This is a crucial part of the Olympic Agenda 2020 reform process, due to culminate in the Extraordinary IOC Session in Monte Carlo on December 8 and 9.
Anderson highlighted better communication, both in terms of the cost of the Games, as well as how much the IOC contributes to the process, as a particularly important aspect.
He also said that, in an age of social media and easily accessible information, everyone has to be aware of how information can be interpreted and, consequently, the IOC must work to clarify that their manuals are "suggestions" rather than concrete demands.
"There is a lesson to learn for us in Norway and for the IOC," he said, before reiterating that they are keen to have a "good dialogue" and to perfect preparations for Lillehammer 2016.
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