Impressed by Oslo's World Championships cooperation

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John Aalberg is back in Norway after 27 years abroad (Photo: Christian Ruscetta, Ski-VM 2011)
Olympic veteran John Aalberg is in place as Sports Director. He sees many unique aspects of the World Championship event. "I have never before experienced a whole city cooperating on a World Championship event. Cooperation with the municipality and tourist industry is unique and makes the event bigger and better," says Aalberg.

Aalberg left Vancouver and the Olympic system on 14 April straight to the job with the World Championships.
“I can see that the World Championship organization is cooperating very well with Oslo municipality, the Kollen project, NRK, VisitOslo and Innovation Norway, and that is unique. Such close cooperation is not to be seen in any other sports cities,” says Aalberg.

Unique closeness between athlete and spectator
His goal is to organize the best world ski championships ever.
“In order to succeed, everyone in the organization must have a common target. We are well on our way to achieving this. That the sports will be good is a given. We also have to ensure that everything surrounding it is optimal, for example the ceremonies, culture, the arena production and cooperation with NRK,” says Aalberg, who also emphasizes the significance of close cooperation with the International Ski Federation (FIS).
The sports director likes the close contact between athletes and spectators in Holmenkollen.
“The unique thing about the track system in Holmenkollen, both in central and outlying areas, is that the athletes have the spectators really close. And they love that! We want to recreate the atmosphere of the Lillehammer Olympics.”

The world's best sports team
Åsne Havnelid, CEO of Ski-VM 2011, is proud of having a veteran such as John on board. Lasse Ottesen continues in his position as assistant sports director.
“We have the best sports team in the world. John knows more than anyone else in the world about big, international events in the Nordic ski disciplines. And Lasse's expertise in the field of ski-jumping is unique, and he did a great job during the trial championships,” says Havnelid.

John Aalberg facts:

  • Sports director and arena director for Nordic disciplines (cross-country, ski-jumping, Nordic combined, biathlon) at the Vancouver Olympic Games
  • Consultant for Sotsji Olympic Games in 2014.
  • Responsible for cross-country during Salt Lake City Olympic Games in 2002
  • Worked on facilitation of sports for Torino in 2006, the Sapporo World Championships in 2007 and has worked for FIS in connection with numerous World Cup events.
  • Aalberg grew up in Stjørdal in Nord-Trøndelag, but moved to the USA in 1983, where he completed his education as a computer engineer. Since then he has lived in the USA and Canada.
  • Aalberg was an active cross country skier and competed for the US ski team at the Albertville and Lillehammer Olympics in 1992 and 1994.