Oslo, Norway, has become the latest city to back out of the running to host the 2022 Olympic Winter Games. The country’s government has announced that it will no longer guarantee funding for the event and will withdraw its candidacy. The nation’s prime minister, Erna Solberg, said there was not enough legislative support to spend the estimated $5.4 million that was proposed in the bid. Recent polls in Oslo had also shown lack of public support for the bid.
The move leaves just two cities remaining as potential hosts—Beijing, China, and Almaty, Kazakhstan. Beijing, which hosted the 2008 Olympic Summer Games, is seeking to become the first city to host both a summer and winter Games. Several other cities had previously backed away from bids to host the 2022 Games, citing concerns over the cost of hosting or other factors, including Krakow, Poland; Stockholm, Sweden; and Lviv, Ukraine.
In response to Oslo’s announcement, IOC Executive Director of the Olympic Games Christophe Dubi, said it was a “missed opportunity for the city of Oslo and for all the people of Norway who are known worldwide for being huge fans of winter sports. And it is mostly a missed opportunity for the outstanding Norwegian athletes who will not be able to reach new Olympic heights in their home country.”
He also noted the city stood to take advantage of an $880 million IOC investment in the event and likely more than the $181 million in sponsorship revenue that the bid committee in Oslo had estimated. “The most recent editions of the Olympic Winter Games (for instance Vancouver and Sochi), which have all either broken even or made a profit, have made sponsorship revenue four times higher than that,” he said.
“Earlier this year the Norwegian bid team asked for a meeting with the IOC for an explanation of all aspects of the IOC requirements, including the financial details, and the IOC arranged this for all three bid cities in order to ensure fair play amongst the three bids,” Dubi said. “Unfortunately, Oslo sent neither a senior member of the bid team nor a government official to this meeting. For this reason senior politicians in Norway appear not to have been properly briefed on the process and were left to take their decisions on the basis of half-truths and factual inaccuracies.”
The International Olympic Committee is expected to select a host for the event in July 2015.