Oslo latest city to drop out of 2022 Olympic race

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Oslo latest city to drop out of 2022 Olympic race
Vladislav Tretiak holds the olympic flame and runs with Irina Rodnina during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
Canada players pose for pictures after they beat Sweden 3-0 in the men's ice hockey gold medal game at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
This photo provided by bobsledder Johnny Quinn of the United States shows a door he broke through after realizing he was locked in a bathroom inside the athlete's village, during the 2014 Winter Olympics, in Sochi, Russia. An unknown during stints in the NFL with Green Bay and Buffalo, Quinn literally burst onto the world's stage last week after he tweeted the photo on Feb. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Johnny Quinn)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 05: A volunteer feeds some stray dogs ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics on February 5, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
FILE - This Nov. 16, 2013 file photo shows Jimmy Kimmel at the 4th Annual Variety's Power of Comedy Event in Los Angeles. Kimmel said Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014, he cooperated with luger Kate Hansen to post a fake video of a wolf wandering the hall outside the athlete's room in Sochi. Instead, Kimmel's staff rented a wolf and built a set in Los Angeles that was a replica of the dorm and filmed the animal walking around (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, awards Russian Olympic champion in figure skating Tatyana Volosozhar after Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics on Monday, Feb. 24, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti Kremlin, Mikhail Klimentyev, Presidential Press Service)
In a photo provided by NBC Olympics, NBC's Bob Costas prepares for broadcast at an anchor desk in Sochi, Russia, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014. Costas plans to make his return to NBC on Monday after being off the air for a week with an eye infection. (AP Photo/NBC Olympics)
Ice dance figure skating gold medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the United States, center, wave as silver medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada, left, and bronze medalists Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov of Russia applaud during their medals ceremony at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 13: Evgeny Plyushchenko of Russia withdraws from the competition after warming up due to injury during the Men's Figure Skating Short Program on day 6 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the at Iceberg Skating Palace on February 13, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
Men's super-G joint bronze medal winner Bode Miller of the United States breaks down in tears during an interview at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Russia's Anton Gafarov falls with a broken ski during his men's semifinal of the cross-country sprint at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
Members of the punk group Pussy Riot, including Nadezhda Tolokonnikova in the blue balaclava and Maria Alekhina in the pink balaclava, are attacked by Cossack militia in Sochi, Russia, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. The group had gathered in a downtown Sochi restaurant, about 30km (21miles) from where the Winter Olympics are being held. They ran out of the restaurant wearing brightly colored clothes and ski masks and were set upon by about a dozen Cossacks, who are used by police authorities in Russia to patrol the streets. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
(L-R) Russia's silver medalist Maxim Vyleghzanin, Russia's gold medalist Alexander Legkov and Russia's bronze medalist Ilia Chernousov pose on the podium during the Men's Cross-Country Skiing 50km Mass Start Free Victory Ceremony at the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / PETER PARKS (Photo credit should read PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 23: Athlete Kate Hansen dances at the closing party after the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 23, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Performers recreate the ring that did not open during the opening ceremony during the closing ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014, in Sochi, Russia(AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
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The Olympics that no one seems to want is down to just two candidates.

Oslo became the latest city to drop its bid for the 2022 Winter Games after the Norwegian government rejected financial backing for the project on Wednesday amid concerns the games were too costly - a decision the IOC said was based on "half-truths and factual inaccuracies."

Oslo's exit leaves Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan, as the only two contenders.

Oslo is the fourth city to pull out of a race that has been thrown into turmoil in the wake of the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, where the overall price tag was put at $51 billion, scaring off politicians and taxpayers and leaving the International Olympic Committee with a major image crisis.

Oslo's fate was sealed after the ruling Conservative party failed to support financial guarantees for the bid. Lawmaker Trond Helleland said it was a split vote and the party could not propose that the government go ahead with the candidacy.

The junior partner in the minority coalition voted against the bid four months ago, and polls have shown that more than 50 percent of Norwegians are opposed.

Prime Minister Erna Solberg said there was not enough support to spend 35 billion kroner ($5.4 billion) on the Olympics.

"It's important to get broad support for such an expensive project and there is not enough to carry through such an expensive project," she told Norwegian NRK television. "Without enthusiasm, it's not natural to carry this through."

Stockholm; Krakow, Poland; and Lviv, Ukraine, withdrew their bids in recent months. Before that, potentially strong bids from St. Moritz, Switzerland, and Munich, Germany, were dropped after being rejected by voters in referendums.

The IOC will select the 2022 host city on July 31, 2015, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Beijing, which staged the 2008 Olympics, is seeking to become the first city to host both summer and winter games. Almaty, a city in Central Asia which hosted the 2011 Winter Asian Games, bid for the 2014 Olympics but failed to make the final short list.

In a strongly-worded statement, IOC executive director Christophe Dubi described Norway's decision as a "missed opportunity" for the city and country. He said Norway would miss out on $880 million in sponsorship and television revenues that the IOC will provide to the 2022 host city.

Dubi said the Norwegian bid team asked for a meeting with the IOC earlier this year for an explanation of all the requirements and costs.

"Unfortunately, Oslo sent neither a senior member of the bid team nor a government official to this meeting," Dubi said. "For this reason senior politicians in Norway appear not to have been properly briefed on the process and were left to take their decisions on the basis of half-truths and factual inaccuracies."

Oslo had seemed like the ideal candidate. Norway loves winter sports and has won the most medals in the Winter Olympics. Oslo hosted the 1952 Winter Olympics, and Norway held the widely acclaimed 1994 Games in Lillehammer.

But concerns over the cost of the games and public antipathy toward the IOC proved insurmountable.

"For a country of such means, full of so many successful athletes and so many fanatical winter sports fans, it is a pity that Oslo will miss out on this great opportunity to invest in its future and show the world what it has to offer," Dubi said.

Norwegian IOC member Gerhard Heiberg said opposition to the bid and the IOC mounted after an incident in Sochi, when the committee reprimanded four Norwegian female cross-country skiers for wearing black armbands in memory of an athlete's brother who had died on the eve of the games.

"It began with the armband case," Heiberg told NRK.

Cities have been put off by the cost associated with the Sochi Games. While most of that money went to long-term regeneration and infrastructure projects, not the cost of running the games, cities remain wary of the expense.

The IOC has acknowledged that it has failed to properly explain the difference between operating and capital budgets.

"We lost good cities because of the bad perception of the IOC, the bad perception of how the concept could be done," former IOC executive director Gilbert Felli said recently.

Cutting the cost of the games is one of the priorities of IOC President Thomas Bach, who is proposing a series of reforms - called "Olympic Agenda 2020" - to be voted on in December in Monaco. Among other things, Bach wants to add flexibility to the bidding process, allowing cities to propose their own concepts rather than adapting to a strict IOC blueprint.
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