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SBD Global/September 10, 2013/Olympics

Despite Winter Olympic Heritage, Norway Residents Opposed To Hosting 2022 Games

Residents of Oslo, Norway hit election booths Monday "threatening to do the once unthinkable: vote against a bid for the Winter Games because of cost concerns," according to Ellen Emmerentze Jervell of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Norway, which claims the highest medal count in Winter Olympics history, "has been debating a proposal" to bring the 2022 Olymipcs to Oslo. As part of wider parliamentary elections on Monday, the city's residents "will cast ballots on whether to make the bid." In a recent survey published in Norwegian daily Aftenposten, only 38% of 800 Oslo residents polled said that "they would support the bid," while 47% said that "they would reject it" and the other 15% "were undecided." Another poll of 1,031 Oslo inhabitants, published in national daily VG last week, reported 48.5% "would vote yes," 40.7% said that "they opposed it" and 11% "were undecided." Though Oslo residents "don't have the final say, and the city council will ultimately determine whether to pursue the bid, the referendum's result will be a factor in the decision-making." Many in the Norwegian capital said that "they would rather spend the money on other projects." The proposed price for a 2022 Oslo Olympics -- estimated at $5.5B -- "is higher than the cost of many previous Winter Games." However, it is a tenth of the estimated price tag for the 2014 Sochi Olymipcs. Norway "has deep pockets, though, and tons of Olympic pride," which is why disapproval "has supporters scratching their heads." Oslo 2022 CEO Eli Grimsby said, "We find it surprising" (WSJ, 9/8).
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