A non-exclusive public festival in the capital

2008-02-12
The Mayor of Oslo, Fabian Stang, is a member of the Ski-VM 2011 Advisory Board. He is very involved in and passionate about the planning of the event, which he believes will mean a great deal to the city.

“To organise the Nordic World Ski Championships means great expenses for the City of Oslo”, the Mayor says with a smile. “The municipality must pay the bill for the upgrading of the facilities and it is a priority for us that the money is spent wisely to avoid a budget deficit. I also envision this to be, in addition to a great sporting event, a public festival where as many as possible will visit the arenas, and where it is a joy to both watch the activities as well as to be part of this experience.”  

“The Winter Capital of the World”
Oslo is the only capital in the world that is able to organise a World Ski Championship. Fabian Stang hopes that the climate change is taken seriously so that Oslo can remain a proud winter city in the future as well.
“To officially be called ‘The Winter Capital of the World’, I would take as a huge compliment. But at the same time, I think this kind of concept has to grow of its own accord. If we can carry off the Championships in a good way, a way that makes people want to come and experience it for themselves, then I think we will eventually become the winter capital of the world. 

Non-exclusive and environmentally friendly
According to the Mayor, it is important to the City of Oslo that the WSC 2011 is an extensive event where things happen at different locations across the city, so that it becomes an experience both for the city’s population and for visitors. The environmental aspect is also very important.
“In addition to being a sporting event, WSC 2011 shall be an environmental project. To create interest surrounding the event from the environmental perspective will therefore be an important task. Another focus is to involve the whole population of Oslo. About 25 percent of the inhabitants here in the city are not born with skis, and we cannot force anyone to ski, but I want everyone to feel included in the public festival and the experience we will be having. So this will be an important issue”, says Stang. 

He also emphasises that the motivation among the people in Oslo is to grow with time, in the run up to the Championships, and he thinks that the Winter Olympics at Lillehammer is a motivational model in that way. 
“At Lillehammer we saw how the volunteers were drawn in, and were proud and happy to be able to contribute for their country and their town. I hope we can achieve this in Oslo as well. And I believe we will need so many volunteers that we will have to look beyond the city boundaries. I envision that with humour and happiness we can create a community feeling which will make as many as possible want to join. As in Lillehammer, we have to create experiences that can be communicated via TV to the rest of the world from the spectators’ side as well”, the Mayor says. 

A model event
Even though the WSC in Oslo is still three years away, Fabian Stang is clear about how he wants the World Championships to be remembered. 
“Being a good sportsperson is not about not cheating. I hope we will have a WSC characterised by fair play. Communicating this moral viewpoint is more important than lap times and ski jumping distances. Moreover, I want us, as a WSC host in 2011, to be a vanguard nation in showing this type of event’s potential to include everyone. It is the big challenge of our time that we are successful in so many areas, but at the same time have difficulties including everyone. So if we can show the world through this event that in Norway we are genuinely concerned with finding a dignified place for everybody with good sportsmanship and concern for our fellow-man, then that would be great.” 

Enjoyment before competition
When it comes to Stang’s own skiing abilities, he is no competition man, but he still enjoys cross-country skiing very much. 
“I think being able to go out into the areas we have surrounding this city, which are only a 20 minute tram ride outside the city centre, and feel the freedom and pride at being allowed to ski there, with plenty of snow on the trees, and the fact that it is so quiet and peaceful and yet so close to the city, is a fantastic experience! But when there is competing involved, I like watching others. And when I want to enjoy myself I go skiing on my own!”