Why

Why

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

LILLEHAMMER AND ITS OLYMPIC LEGACY

The year 1988 was a turning point in the Olympic movement - at the 91st  IOC session which was held in Lausanne in what one might call a strategic marketing ploy, the suggestions for hosting Summer Olympics and Winter Olympics on different years was put to vote. A landmark decision was taken, the two Olympics were split and spaced two years in even numbered years. The same Lausanne session also saw Barcelona, Spain and Albertville, France being elected as the hosts for the 1992 Summer Olympics and the 1992 Winter Olympics respectively.

Lillehammer, the Norwegian town was one of the bid cities (although theoretically it is a town) that showed interest to host the 1992 Winter Olympics along with Anchorage (United States), Sofia (Bulgaria) and Ostersund (Sweden), there was an opportunity to host the Winter Olympics two years later.

On 15th September 1988, during the 94th  IOC session at Seoul, South Korea, after the first round of voting, barring Sofia (which was eliminated), each of the remaining three venues had a chance. At the end of third round of voting, Lillehammer was chosen as the host and the selection marked the dawn of a new era in the Olympic movement.


While working on a sports event in 2010, my senior project manager narrated the experience of his first ever assignment and that happened to be at the 1994 Winter Olympics. His stories inspired me to visit this tiny town and in 2011, I did spend some time in Lillehammer. Looking at the Lysgårdsbakken ski-area and its surroundings, one could not miss the legacy the 1994 Olympics had left behind. Along with those pleasant memories, I also picked up a stuffed toy - a pair of Norwegian children Håkon and Kristin, dressed in Viking clothes.  


A few months later in December 2011, the town won the hosting rights for the second Youth Winter Olympic Games. In 150 days, this northernmost Olympic town will come alive and those unforgettable tales of Norwegian culture will again be in display to all the youth Olympians.