Norwegian Language Blog

1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer Posted by on Feb 17, 2010 in Nature, Norway and the world, Traditions

1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer. 

Da jeg besøkte Norge en gang, (when I visited Norway one time), reiste jeg med tog (I traveled by train) til Lillehammer.  I was shocked that this small town hosted the Olympics!  In 2009, the population census counted just over 26,000 people.  The Olympics must have generated enough tourist revenue for decades!  Lillehammer’s winning bid was made public at the 1988 summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.  Lillehammer was selected over Anchorage, Alaska; Östersund, Austria; and Sofia, Bulgaria. 

One thing that was particularly significant about the 1994 Olympics was the lack of summer Olympics.  This was the first time that the two (summer and winter) were not held together.  Another thing you may remember about the 1994 Olympics are two names: Tonya and Nancy.  That is, Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan.  Both kunstløpere (figure skaters), Tonya’s ex-husband and a cohort attacked Kerrigan during practice one day.  In Oslo, drama ensued when tyver stjal (thieves stole) Edvard Munch’s The Scream from the National Museum.  Some stats:  1.2 million billetter (tickets) were sold and an additional 500,000 spectators viewed the games along the courses.  With a total of 26 medaljer, Norway placed second in the overall competition, behind Russia.  President of the IOC (International Olympic Committee), Juan Antonio Savaranch, stated that ”the 1994 Olympics were the best winter games ever”-this statement has not been made since then.

Also of significant importance  was Norway’s environmentally friendly approach to hosting the olympics.  The planners of the event worked with environmentalist groups to focus on four things-

1) use of natural materials as much as possible

2) energy conservation in heating and cooling systems

3) recycling system for the entire area hosted by the Olympics

4) arenas to blend in and work with their surrounding natural environment

The 1994 Vinter-OL in Lillehammer were the first winter games to be recognized for being ”green.”  In fact, the IOC was so impressed that it revised it’s procedures for choosing cities to host the games. 

Gå grønn!  Go green!

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About the Author: kari

I attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, where I majored in Norwegian and History. During college, I spent almost a year living in Oslo, Norway, where I attended the University of Oslo and completed an internship at the United States Embassy. I have worked for Concordia Language Villages as a pre-K Norwegian teacher and have taught an adult Norwegian language class. Right now, I keep up by writing this Norwegian blog for Transparent Language. Please read and share your thoughts! I will be continuing this blog from my future residence in the Norwegian arctic!