Lillehammer, Norway, on Thursday won the right to hold the 1994 Winter Olympics, beating out bids from the East, the West and a Scandinavian neighbor. Anchorage, Alaska, was among the losers.
The announcement by International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch in the gardens at the Hotel Shilla triggered a dance for joy by members of the Norwegian delegation, one of whom waved his nation's blue-and-gold flag.Besides Anchorage, the losers were Sofia, Bulgaria and Ostersund, Sweden.
The loss for Anchorage, the second in two years, left the organizers so upset that they said they might not bid again.
"I think it's time to pull back, to think about it," said Rick Mystrom, president of the Anchorage Organizing Committee.
Lillehammer's presentation was made by Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, who called on the IOC to return to "the cradle of winter sports."
The Winter Games have been held in Scandinavia only once, in the Norwegian capital of Oslo in 1952.
"I'm a little surprised, but it's a wonderful feeling," said Ole Sjetne, chairman of the board of tahe Lillehammer Olympic Association. "It just feels very good. It may be the greatest moment of my life. It makes up for all the disappointment of two years ago."
In 1986, Lillehammer finished third behind Albertville and Sofia in the choice for the 1992 Games.
American IOC member Anita DeFrantz, asked if she was surprised at the winner, thought for a minute and said: "Yeah. But then why should I be surprised? It's all done by secret ballot. No one knows until the votes are counted."
Lillehammer won by a 45-39 vote over Ostersund on the third ballot, after Sofia was eliminated when it got only 17 votes in the initial count and Anchorage lost out when it received 22 on the second balloting.
Ostersund pulled ahead 33-30 in that second vote, but the bulk of the Anchorage votes went to the Norwegians in the final tally.
Forty-four votes were needed to win, a majority of the 86 IOC members present and eligible to vote. Officials said the discrepancies in the vote total probably were due to members being out of the room part of the time.
Several Lillehammer officials said they thought that having the presentation made by the prime minister boosted their chances. Sofia, meanwhile, appeared to have badly damaged itself during the final presentation.
"All the presentations were good, although Sofia's was the weakest," IOC Vice President Dick Pound said. "And you are more likely to lose with a bad presentation."
When the IOC voted in 1986 to stagger the Winter and Summer Games, it put a heavy burden on any city contemplating a bid.
The schedule left just two years instead of the usual four until the Winter Olympics would be awarded, meaning a city either would have to have a bidding organization already in place or get up to speed very quickly.
That is why the choices had very familar names. Anchorage, Sofia and Lillehammer all were losers for the '92 Winter Olympic.
The fourth bidder, Ostersund, was a rookie carrying on a long tradition. Sweden has submitted a bid the last four times the IOC chose a winter site and Swedish cities have tried 12 times in all to be a Winter Olympics host.
None of the previous 11 succeeded, and Ostersund officials said it was time to end that losing streak.
"We will get the Games," said Leif Forsberg, marketing director of the Swedish bid. "If not in 1994, then 1998 or 2002. We don't want to build too many hopes, although we feel we can win."
All four cities made hour-long presentations to the IOC's 94th Session on Wednesday.