SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Hoping to stage the Winter Games for a third time, Norwegian officials acknowledged Monday they still need to gain public support and government financial backing for the project.
On paper, Oslo would shape up as the strong favorite among the five cities vying to host the 2022 Olympics. But bid leaders conceded that they must first win over the politicians and citizens at home.
Time is running short, though.
Oslo Mayor Stian Berger Roesland said Parliament won't vote on the financial guarantees until the summer or autumn.
The International Olympic Committee, which requires guarantees from bid cities, will select a short list of finalists in July. Without that support, Oslo's bid would founder.
"I don't think we are on the edge," Norwegian IOC member Gerhard Heiberg said after leading a bid presentation in Sochi. "I think we have time. I think we will convince them. When you talk to the politicians individually, I think they are positive."
Another Scandinavian capital, Stockholm, pulled out of the 2022 race last month because of concerns over costs.
Affording the games should not be a problem for oil-rich Norway. Oslo's proposed budget is only $3.4 billion, including public investment and security, a small figure by Olympic standards.
With more than half the facilities already in place, Oslo also has a separate $2 billion budget for private investment to build a media center and media village.
An application for state guarantees passed an initial hurdle in December when the government found "no significant weaknesses."
"It's a question of having a process in a democratic country," Heiberg said. "I am of the opinion this will turn in the right direction. We are not there yet, but I think we will get there in due time."
"Everybody will come on aboard when the time comes," said Inge Andersen, secretary general of the Norwegian Olympic Committee.
The other bidders are Almaty, Kazakhstan; Beijing; Krakow, Poland; and Lviv, Ukraine.
The IOC executive board will meet on July 8-9 in Lausanne, Switzerland, to decide which cities reach the final stage of the campaign. The full IOC will select the winner on July 31, 2015, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
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