Citing financial concerns, Norway more or less announced the end of its Olympic bid for the 2022 games on Wednesday. The government's vote against providing financial backing for the bid means that Oslo will likely go the way of Stockholm, Krakow, and Lviv, all of which withdrew from the 2022 host field.
Responding to the news on Norwegian television, Prime Minister Erna Solberg could hardly help but convey the sense that the Oslo bid⎯at the tune of $5.4 billion⎯ was like a global Sweet 16 party run amok. "The Olympics would have been great, they would have been fun, but there are lots of other important matters that we have to deal with."
This development also leaves us with just two curious candidates remaining: Beijing, China, and Almaty, Kazakhstan. With Qatar already set to host the 2022 World Cup—despite growing controversies—Oslo's imminent self-extraction means that 2022 will be The Year of the Authoritarian Host Country.
"Publics may finally be getting wise to the fact that the long-term economic benefits of hosting mega-events like the Olympics or the World Cup are usually negligible at best," Joshua Keating wrote after Krakow's withdrawal in May. "This is going to mean that fewer democratic countries will make bids for them and the ones that do, like Brazil, will do so in the face of widespread popular opposition."