OVER 20 YEARS ON FROM THE OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES AND ALMOST TWO YEARS ON FROM THE WINTER YOUTH OLYMPIC GAMES (YOG), LILLEHAMMER CONTINUES TO HARNESS THE POSITIVE IMPACT OF THESE TWO EPIC EVENTS WITH THE OPENING OF THE LILLEHAMMER OLYMPIC LEGACY SPORTS CENTRE (LOLSC) LAST FRIDAY.
The facility, which aims to become an international centre for winter sports, is funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Culture, with an additional NOK 1 million funding from the International Olympic Committee.
The LOLSC will open its doors to Norwegian and international young athletes, coaches, leaders and event organisers of Olympic winter sports. A strong focus will be on nations that do not have the same conditions, resources and expertise as Norway in winter sports to allow talented athletes to thrive at the centre.
The opening of the LOLSC supports the legacy of the Olympic Winter Games in 1994 and, in particular, the legacy of the YOG, which intended to boost sports participation for generations to come and share the expertise that was garnered through both events. The Youth Olympic Village, which also benefitted from an IOC EUR 13.5 million contribution and was built as student accommodation ahead of the YOG in 2016, will also be used for LOLSC summer camps as of 2018.
The centre will focus on three designated areas in 2018 including: training camps for young athletes and coaches in cooperation with national and international associations; seminars related to athlete, coach, leader or organiser development based on some elements of the YOG Learn and Share programme; and supporting the relationship between China and Norway related to the development of Chinese winter sports ahead of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.
IOC President Thomas Bach said: “Lillehammer’s Olympic Legacy Centre is testament to the long-lasting impact of the Olympic Winter Games in 1994 and last year’s Winter Youth Olympic Games. The IOC is delighted to support this venture and to support young athletes from around the world to give them the best opportunities..”
President of the Norwegian NOC Tom Tvedt said: “For the Norwegian Sports Federation and the Olympic and Paralympic Committee, the Centre is an important contribution both in view of the organisation’s work with increased involvement of young people in sport, as well as our NOC’s international work.”