TED Case Studies

Lillehammer Olympic Games

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     CASENUMBER:         222  
     CASE MNEMONIC:      Lille
     CASE NAME:          1994 Lillehammer Olympic Games


1.        The Issue

     In February 1994, Lillehammer, Norway, presented the first
"green" Games in the history of the Olympic Games. The Norwegian
Olympic Committee (LOOC) wanted to add a third pillar, the
environment, to the two existing pillars of the olympic movement
-- sports and culture. It is  extraordinary that not only the
environment has been incorporated into the Games, but that
environmental pressure groups have been part of the planning
process as well. This has resulted in more than 20 environmental
conscious project in connection with the Games. "The torch" has
also been carried on and the International Olympic Committee
(IOC) has recently signed an ■environmental■ deal with UNEP,
which will have consequences for all the games to come. However,
it will be years before one can say whether the final record of
the Games' "green" policy will be positive or negative. 

2.        Description

     The ancient Olympic Games were held in Olympia, Greece,
every four years from at least 776 B.C., until they were banned
by Emperor Theodosius in 393 A.D. Inspired by the original games,
Baron Pierre de Coubertin of France conceived the modern Games,
which were first held in 1986 in Athens. The ideals of the
Olympic movement includes  good sportsmanship, amateurism,
respect for other cultures, and internationalism. Outside of the
United Nations, the Olympic Games are perhaps the only other
place where people from all over the world get together
(Wallenchinsky, David; The Complete Book of the Olympics, Viking
Penguin, 1984). The first winter Olympics were held at Chamonix,
France, in 1924, with 300 competitors. Alpine skiing was
introduced in 1936, and by 1968 the number of competitors had
increased to 1,293 from 37 countries (Arlott, John, ed.; The
Oxford Companion to World Sports and Games, Oxford University
Press, 1975). The very concept of the winter Games involves
building huge winter sports arenas on once-pristine land and in
doing so, they are often considered environmentally unfriendly.
Acknowledging that major sports events can have a negative impact
on surrounding environment, the organizers of the Lillehammer
Olympics set out to make these the first "green" Games. "Sport,
culture and the environment. These three pillars form the
foundation philosophy of the Lillehammer Winter Olympics", said
the Lillehammer Olympic Organising Committee.

     What made the Lillehammer Olympics so unique was not only
their "greenness", but also the fact that LOOC was able to
include the environmental groups in the day-to-day planning
process. However, this did not happen overnight. In fact, the
environmentalists were fundamentally against the Olympic Games
being in Lillehammer in any shape or form. Thus, cooperation
between these two unlikely groups grew out of a bitter dispute,
several years ago, over plans to build the Olympic Hall for
speedskating within a internationally recognized bird sanctuary.
As a result, after a fierce battle, the Hall was moved and
redesigned, and Project Environment-Friendly Olympics, an
independent watchdog group, was established. Under pressure from
Project Environmental-Friendly Olympics, a four point plan for
the environment was drawn up. These points are as follows; 1)
companies were instructed to use natural materials wherever
possible, 2) emphasis was placed on energy conservation in
heating and cooling systems, 3) a recycling program was developed
for the entire winter games region, and 4) a stipulation was made
that the arenas must harmonize with the surrounding landscape.

     The list of projects and initiatives made in cooperation
between LOOC and Project Environmental-Friendly Olympics is long
and impressive. In fact more than 20 environmental concerned
project were initiated and executed by LOOC and Project
Environmental-Friendly Olympics. 

     The 10 purpose-built Olympic arenas have been constructed
using predominately local materials and with strict
energy-conserving measures. There is also a heavy emphasis on
post-Olympic use. Some have been made of prefabricated materials,
and will be taken down and used as dormitories and retirement
homes in other parts of Norway. Some of the buildings (the media
center) will be turned into a regional college once the Games are
over.  Other buildings have multi-use purposes, and some of the
arenas will serve as concert halls, a fire station, a golf
driving range, a soccer field, a bomb shelter, etc., in the

     A comprehensive re-use program aimed to recycle or compost
70% of all trash generated. For example, one million plates and
three million utensils were made by potato-based starch, allowing
them to be recycled and used as animal feed and compost. 20,000
signs were be recycled into cardboard boxes. Waste from
photographers' film was recycled too, thanks to a new recycling
agreement between Kodak and a Norwegian recycling firm. Even the
bullets from the biathlon were collected and recycled, in order
o prevent lead contamination.

      Traffic pollution is another problem, and private cars were
banned within a 60 kilometer radius of Lillehammer between 6 a.m.
and 9 p.m. In addition, public transportation was heavily
promoted, The railroad and local highway were updated in order to
withstand heavy and frequent traffic by trains and busses from
Oslo (where the majority of the spectator were staying).

     "Visual pollution" was another problem, and the different
arenas were built to blend as much as possible into the natural
landscape. The Hamar Olympic Hall was, in fact, moved to protect
a bird sanctuary. The Cavern Hall was build inside a mountain, so
as to be less of an eyesore and to reduce energy costs.

     All contracts with sponsors and suppliers contained
environmental clauses. In fact, Coca-Cola had to renegotiate a
advertising deal, after it was found to cause too much "visual
pollution". Instead, all advertising signs had to abide by rules
defining acceptable dimensions and recycling standards.

     The larger community was also included in the quest for
"greener" Games, and school children in the Lillehammer district
launched a tree-planting program to replace those felled during
construction. As a matter of fact, contractors were fined
n.kr.50,000 (about $7,400) for every unnecessary tree uprooted or

     Energy conservation measures, ranging from efficient window
glass to recycling heat from water used in showers and setting up
state-of-the-art heat exchange system, was also an important part
of the "green" Lillehammer Olympics. As an example, the Cavern
Hall saves about $20,000 annually in heating costs by being
inside a mountain. 

     An environmental monitoring system, ENSIS, was developed by
Norwegian scientists, in order to measure air and water
pollution, waste water control, temperature and wind direction.

     LOOC also signed a "Smoke-free Games" deal with the World
Health Organization, banning smoking in all indoor arenas and the
use of tobacco will be discouraged at outdoor venues.

     Television networks were forced to change their desired
camera positions after being refused permission to clear foliage.
Even the medals are made of stone from one of the construction
sites and trimmed with precious metals, and the medal stands were
made of ice blocks from glaciers.

     Despite all these steps, planners met with criticism both at
home and abroad. "Some groups wanted to block the Games
altogether," the president of LOOC, Heiberg, said.  Among other
issues, Norway has been accused of "eco-tokenism."  For instance,
a fine of n.kr.50,000 was levied on any tree uprooted or damaged
by contractors at the bob and luge site, but nowhere else. Also,
plans to fuel the Olympic flame with Biogas were dropped after
the Norwegian state-owned oil company, Statoil, insisted on using
its North Sea gas.  Even critics give Norwegians points for
trying to green the Olympics. "It's true they're really making an
effort, and that's admirable," said Blair Palese of Greenpeace

     However, one should refrain from painting a picture too
rosy. The impact of any Olympic Game, "green" or not, will by its
hugeness necessarily leave its marks. Lillehammer is not the same
after the games, it has forever changed. However, it will be up
to the locals and future generations to decide whether it has
been a change for better of for worse. 
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     Keyword Clusters

     (1): Trade Product                 =    TOURism
     (2): Bio-geography                 =    TEMPerate
     (3): Environmental Problem         =    HABITat Loss

4.        Draft Author: Hilde Elin Haaland


     "As we enter the Third Millennium, it is the IOC's chief
duty to respect the environment," IOC President Samaranch
commented at the Lillehammer Games. It therefore comes as no
surprise that, in June, 1994, the International Olympic Committee
signed a deal with the UN Environmental Program (UNEP), which
will cover future Olympic games and other international sporting
events. Under this deal, UNEP and IOC will "jointly undertake
specific international actions" to help make sports events
environmentally friendly. This agreement comes as a follow up to
" the momentum of the success of the Lillehammer Olympics", IOC
President Samaranch said. Guidelines will be set up for sporting
events organizers covering the selection, construction, and
holding of sports events, as well as green criteria for Olympic
host cities and environmental standards for sponsors. Technical
experts, who helped in organizing the "green" Lillehammer
Olympics, will be asked to assist in the creation of ecological

     Further, earlier this year at its last congress in Rio de
Janeiro, the International Ski Federation (FIS) pledged to
conduct its sport in an environmental friendly way. The FIS is
the first sports federation to take such action, and it wanted to
prove that sport and nature can live in harmony. IOC will also
further deal with this issue at its June 1995 congress in
Budapest. "The Lillehammer Games this February were seen as a
major step towards a more environmentally friendly Olympics."

5.        Discourse and Status: AGREE and INPROG

6.        Forum and Scope: IOC and MULTI

7.        Decision Breath: the World

8.        Legal Standing: NGO


9.        Geography

     The 1994 Olympic Games were held in the small town of
Lillehammer, Norway. The town is inland, about 150 kilometers
north of Oslo, the capital. The Lillehammer Games were the most
northerly held Games. The town of Lillehammer normally has a
population of around 23,000, but swelled to more than 100,000 a
day during the Games. Altogether about 1.9 million people,
including those counted twice or more, attended the competitions
during the two-week long Games.

     The Games were actually held in and around three cites the
size of Lillehammer -- Lillehammer, Gjovik, and Hamar -- each no
more than 58 kilometers apart.

     a.        Continental Domain: EUROPE
     b.        Geographic Site: EUROPE [NEUR]
     c.        Geographic Impact: NORWAY

10.       Sub-national Factors: NO

11.       Type of Habitat: COOL


     Though most of the construction contracts were awarded to
Norwegian companies and the development of indigenous
environmental technology was encouraged, all contracts, whether
with national or international companies, included environmental
clauses specifying that environmentally conscious methods had to
be used. Aside from construction of venues, most major sponsors
were international companies, such as Coca-Cola, IBM, Anderson
Consulting, etc, which had to follow similar environmental

12.       Type of Measure: REGULATORY STANDARDS

13.       Direct vs. Indirect Impacts: IND

14.       Relation to Measure of Impact: NO

a.        Directly Related to Product: NO
b.        Indirectly Related to Product: YES (Tourism)
c.        Not Related to Product: NO
d.        Related to Process: YES (Habitat Loss)

15.       Trade Product Identification: TOURISM

16.       Economic Data 

      The Norwegian government footed the $1.0 billion bill,
which came to about $48  per Norwegian citizen. In addition, $270
million was spent on infrastructure, and an equal amount was
spent on private projects. The contracts for the construction of
the 10 Olympic installations were estimated at around $240
million. The town of Lillehammer, alone, invested $270 million in
Olympic-related projects. Coca-Cola, for instance, paid  $220,000
for their sponsor deal, as one of the major sponsors. Unlike so
many other Games, the Lillehammer Games will have no budget
overruns, in fact, $14 million had not been used by the end of
the Games (it was channeled into a fund for future use of the
arenas). From the people■s response, it seems that most
Norwegians think their tax-money was well-spent. Norwegians like
to show off their beautiful and pristine country. However, it is
an economic fact that environmental consideration did make the
Games quite a bit more expensive than they otherwise would have
been. Some have suggested that the cost was increased five times
due to the environmental concern.

     During the peak of activities, the Olympics provided about
2,000 workplaces. During the actual Games, at least 6,000
volunteers and 2,400 soldiers from National Defense participated
in the Games. However, it is not known  how many permanent
positions has been created due to the Games, but it is unlikely
that many were in industry where jabs are particularly needed.
However, the construction of the Games started when the region
needed it the most. After having long languished in the shadow of
the oil activities of coastal Norway  and after years of an
economic recession, the Olympics provided needed employment.
Further, the development of the service sector had been highly
encouraging, especially tourism. However, it is expected that
after a couple of years, Lillehammer will have lost its pull as
a tourism magnet.

     The expected surplus from the Games is estimated at around 
$40 million, but the final report by LOOC has not been published
yet. Further, there has been no estimates (as far as I have seen)
on the revenue generated from the Games to private industry (from
hotels, restaurants, souvenirs, etc.). 

17.       Degree of Competitive Impact: LOW

     If the Games has had any competitive impact on the
industries around Lillehammer (especially tourism), it must be 
positive rather than negative. "This area has been lifted into a
position 30 to 40 years in the future," said Haugsjaa, Norway's
environmental affairs assistant director. This  and the fact
that the area got a lot of "free publicity" can only have given
Lillehammer and surrounding areas a competitive edge. In fact, I
believe even the environmental consciousness of the Game
represents a competitive advantage, promoting Norway■s competence
in environmental technology.

18.       Industry Sector: Tourism (TOUR)

     The Lillehammer region saw a great surge in tourism even
before the Games started. In the spring and summer of 1993,
300,000 people visited the Olympic arenas. There was also a 25%
increase in the number of guest nights spent in Lillehammer,
which is quite above the national average. During the games
itself, it was estimated that 100,000 people came to Lillehammer
each day. 

19.       Exporters and Importers:  NORWAY and MANY


     "The Winter Olympics, much more than the Summer Games, have
long been considered a nemesis of the environment." They are
often set in cities selected for their winter wonderland
backdrops, not their existing sports facilities.  For instance,
at the Albertville Winter Games, 2,000 French villagers were
issued gas masks because officials feared that ammonia from the
cooling system at the bobsleigh track would leak. Organizers at
the Albertville Games also ignored warnings about put the ski
jump in a geological unstable area, and left a trail of alpine
deforestation and erosion. "The only environmentally sound
Olympics would be no Olympics at all. Second best would be
'recycled games,' re-using old sites. Lillehammer comes in
third," said Olav Myrholt, the Olympic project leader for the
Norwegian Society for Conservation of Nature.

     In spite of an aggressive re-use of the buildings, one might
come to the conclusion, sometime in the future, that some of the
venues might not have been necessary. Thus, "despite any green
measures, the Olympics -- by their very nature, a massive,
commercial, billion-dollar enterprise -- can never be truly
environmentally friendly"  As the Games have become a part of
our culture, it seems they will always be with us. Thus it is of
utmost importance that host countries try to minimize their
destructive impact on the environment, and Norway deserve praise
for an ambitious first step.

     Moreover, the coming Games in Atlanta, Nagano, and Sydney
have taken the environment into account in their planning
process. Unfortunately, the environmentalists in the United
States are hindered by factionalism within the movement, as well
as the lack of formal power or decision-making influence in the
Olympic Committee. In Australia, however, the environmental
concerns have been brought in from the beginning. As an example,
the Australians hired Greenpeace consultants to create a totally
environmentally friendly design, which features solar power and
non-polluting technologies. This environmental strategy might
have been a key factor in selecting Sydney as the site for the
2000 Summer Games.

20.       Environmental Problem Type: Waste, Land (POLL)

21.       Species Information

22.       Impact and Effect:  MEDIUM and SCALE

23.       Urgency and Lifetime: LOW and 100s of Years

24.       Substitutes: RECYC

     It has been suggested by some that the Game sites should be
recycled, or that the Games should be staged at one permanent
location. This would naturally lessened the environmental impact
as well as get more use out of expensive venues and stadiums.
However, it seems unlikely that this will happen anytime soon.
There is too much national pride and prestige connecting with the
honor of hosting the Olympic Games. Furthermore, nations might
look upon the Olympic Games as a way to quickly develop their
country or part of it, and are thus unwilling to give up the
chance of rapid economic development. Along with the Games
themselves, often come massive infusion of foreign capital and
the promise of mass tourism and expansion of the service sector.
This reasoning seemed to have been behind China's application for
the 2000 Summer Games, along with political reasons as well. One
compromise might be to have one permanent location on each
continent, thereby the "spoils" are more equally distributed. 


25.       Culture: YES

     Culture is naturally an integral and important part of the
Olympic movement. In Norway, in particular, winter sports have
become an integral part of the national soul. The Olympic Games
has become part of anybody■s cultural heritage, no matter where
one lives in the world. It might be one of the few things that
can still unite citizens from all over the world. Having carved
out an almost sacred niche in global society, it is unlikely that
the Games will ever be abandoned or drastically changed. Thus the
best one can hope for is "greener" Games, as demonstrated by the
1994 Lillehammer Olympic Games.

     Another closely related issue is the importance the Games
serve as a show-piece for individual countries. Nations have the
opportunity to show of their cultural heritage, national pride,
economic development, political stability, as well as their
athletic abilities. In fact, some have suggested that one of
China's reasons for applying for the 2000 Summer Games was to
prove to the world that the Chinese government "had things under
control". Thus, it is evident that the Olympic Games has come to
play many important roles in international relations on many
different levels, and can no longer be view as only a sports

26.       Human Rights: NO

27.       Trans-Border: NO

28.       Relevant Literature

Doyle, Alister, "Olympics-Lillehammer Swamped by Praise, Hopes
for Environment", Reuters World Service, February 27, 1994.

Kalosh, Anne, "Going for the Green; Norwegians Set a Precedent
with Their Olympic Concern for the Environment", Dayton Daily
News, March 21, 1994 .

Lloyd, Christopher, "The Games Get a Green Tint", Times
Newspaper, February 13, 1994.

Manning, Anita, "Environmentalism is a Lillehammer Olympic
Ideal", USA Today, December 3, 1993.

Mathisen, Ola Matti, "Are We Using This Golden Opportunity?", The
Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, November 1993.

McIvor, Greg; "Norway-Sport: Norwegians Win First "Green' Medal
as Olympic Hosts", Inter Press Service, February 2, 1994.

O'Neill, Juliet, "Norway's Green Games," The Ottawa Citizen,
February 20, 1994.

Robb, Sharon, "Newest Olympic Sport: Protecting the Environment
Green Has Joined Gold, Silver and Bronze in '94", Sun-Sentinel,
February 5, 1994.

Robb, Sharon, "Environmentalism New Player at Games,
Sun-Sentinel, February 11, 1994 

Rodrigue, George, "Green Keepers; Lillehammer Games Set Standard
for Protecting the Environment", Dallas Morning News, February
14, 1994.

Rickerd, Julie Rekai, "Lillehammer's Winter Wonderland:
Picturesque Norwegian Town Creates a 'Green' Olympics", Financial
Post, January 29, 1994.

Sherrington, Kevin, 'Golden Memories; Games End Amid Aura of
Success', Dallas Morning News, February 28, 1994.

Turner, Melissa, "The Road to Lillehammer, the Green Games, a
Tiny Norwegian Town Wages an Environmental War to Keep Its
Olympics Free of 'Visual Pollution'", Atlanta Journal and
Constitution, February 14, 1993.

"Call These the Eco-Crazy Olympics", Toronto Star, February 8,

"FIS Pledges Green Competition", United Press International,
October 21, 1994.

"IOC in Green Deal", Agence France Presse, August 15, 1994.

"U.N. and IOC Sign Agreement on Sports and Environment", Japan
Economic Newswire, August 15, 1994.

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