Bjoerndalen upset Oslo withdrew 2022 Winter Games bid
By Julian Linden
BANGKOK (Reuters) - Norwegian biathlete Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, who won a record 13th Winter Olympics medal in Sochi this year, has urged the IOC to push ahead with plans to change the bidding process after Oslo dropped out of the running to host the 2022 Games.
Bjoerndalen, named as the outstanding male athlete in Sochi at Friday's inaugural Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) awards in Thailand, said he was still upset that Oslo withdrew, leaving Beijing and Kazakhstan as the only candidates.
But the 40-year-old said he hoped some good would come from Norway's pullout and the International Olympic Committee would make the Games more affordable for countries with less money but a rich sporting heritage.
"All sportsmen in Norway are really disappointed," Bjoerndalen said. "I'm really sorry for that, but there was too much negativity around the situation. I hope we can try another time."
Oslo's decision to drop out heightened the issue of the astronomical cost of staging the Olympics and accelerated a proposal by IOC president Thomas Bach to reform the process.
Bjoerndalen said the proposed changes, which will be voted on in December, came too late to save Norway's bid campaign, leaving the Scandinavians watching China and Kazakhstan fight it out.
"It was too late. If we had one more year, I think it would have been a different answer for Norway," he said.
"It's different cultures. To make (the) Olympics in Beijing, China, and in Norway is totally different. Continued...