Tom Tvedt and the winner of Norway's best volunteer Sajandan Rutthira (Lillehammer 2016)
(ATR) Norwegian Olympic Committee president Tom Tvedt says his country has a responsibility to host the Winter Olympics again.
Norway hosted the 1952 Winter Games in Oslo and 1994 Games in Lillehammer. But Oslo’s 2022 bid faltered when Norwegian politicians rejected proposals, mainly due to financial concerns.
Tvedt took over the helm of the Norwegian NOC in June 2015 after former president Borre Rognlien stepped down. Many surmised that Rognlien’s departure was the result of Oslo's failed 2022 bid and alleged written threats during the campaign.
Tvedt has not ruled out a Norwegian bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics.
“We will go on board that ship when we are ready,” Tvedt told Around The Rings
in Lillehammer as the Olympic city marked one month until the opening of the second Winter Youth Olympics.
“We cannot do this again and have the Norwegians say 'no' again to the Olympics and Paralympics. Like athletes, we must do the training to be ready to bid again," the 47-year-old added.
“I can say that we have a responsibility to welcome the Olympics and Paralympics in Norway, but when I do not know.”
Speaking about the Lillehammer YOG, he said the Games would welcome the world and young people: "I think the legacy for these Games will be for the new generation of the whole world."
Enthusiasm and energy were palpable with numerous festivities stirring around Lillehammer Olympic Park on Saturday. But it still seems difficult for some to escape the fact that Norway dropped its 2022 Winter Olympic bidd. Oslo 2022 withdrew from the race in October 2014 due to lack of public support and the government’s reluctance to provide financial guarantees.
Tvedt says that the Winter YOG is poised to change perceptions in Norway. He said many Norwegian government members and the Prime Minister will attend the Games.
“I think that it is important for our
Norwegian NOC secretary general Inge Andersen and Tom Tvedt in Lillehammer (ATR)
value to host sporting events in the future,” Tvedt said of Norway’s politicians supporting Lillehammer 2016.
“These Games are for the young people, for peace and to make a better world and we must convey this to our inhabitants in Norway,” Tvedt said. “We must do a better job to sell this and have the Olympics back in Norway when we are ready.”
The Norwegian politician and former mayor added: “I hope we also use this opportunity to welcome the IOC family.”
One Flame for Olympics, Paralympics
Tvedt, who has raised two blind children who are now in their 20s, envisions a time when the Paralympics are seen as equivalent to the Olympics with all athletes competing under the same flame. “I have a dream to make the Olympics and Paralympics here in Norway with one flame,” Tvedt said with passion and emotion.
Tvedt would like to see Paralympians compete after able-bodied events as part of one larger combined Olympics and Paralympics: “Everybody should compete under one flame – that’s how we should do it here in Norway."
As president of the Norwegian NOC, in conjunction with the Norwegian Confederation of Sports, Tvedt oversees not only the nation’s Olympic and Paralympic programs, but also the Special Olympics and Deaflympics. It is a unique set-up unlike most other NOCs.
Tvedt said that come February, Norway will host “fun, simple and safe” Youth Olympic Games. “This event will be done simple and from the heart,” Tvedt said. “We will test new events and we have natural snow – it will be fun for the people coming here.
“It will be a fantastic 12 days for Lillehammer.”
Reported in Lillehammer by Brian Pinelli
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