There is less than a year to go until the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decide who will host the 2022 Winter Olympics, yet as things stand it is not going to have much to choose from.
Oslo has withdrawn from consideration after the Norwegian government rejected financial backing due to the high costs involved, leaving just Beijing and Almaty in Kazakhstan left in the race.
Four of the original six applicants have now dropped out of the race. Oslo follows Krakow, Lviv and Stockholm in pulling out of contention after failing to win popular support for the big investment.
Proposed bids from Munich and St. Moritz also fell apart after being resoundingly rejected by a public vote.
There’s a common thread running through most of the withdrawals - the Winter Olympics is just too expensive. Russia spent a massive $51bn (£31.42bn) to host the Sochi games earlier this year.
Norway Prime Minister Erna Solberg said there was not enough support from within the ruling Conservative party to spend the billions of dollars required to host the event. She said: “Without enthusiasm, it’s not natural to carry this through.”
The IOC has reacted furiously to the decision. The organisation’s executive director, Christophe Dubi, said the city had spurned the chance to generate at least $181m from sponsorship rights.
This is a missed opportunity for the City of Oslo and for all the people of Norway who are known world-wide 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.It is a missed opportunity to make the most of the 880 million dollars investment the IOC would have made to the Games that would have built a considerable legacy for the people. In addition, national sponsorship rights granted by the IOC would have delivered a considerable sum and almost certainly substantially more than the 181 million dollars estimated in the bid.
The 2022 host city will be chosen by the IOC on 31 July 2015 in Kuala Lumpur.