Lillehammer and the Norway Winter Olympics

by Steve
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A picture of the 1994 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony in Lillehammer

It was 1994 and it was the second edition of the Norway Winter Olympics.  The Winter Olympics had been held in Oslo in 1952 and now in Lillehammer.  Do you know where Lillehammer is located?  What controversy erupted for the United States prior to the Olympics?  Do you know the origin of the interlinked Olympic rings?  Find the answers and more in this post as you journey with me to Lillehammer.

Lillehammer

Lillehammer is a town in Norway with a population of approximately 27,000 people.  From Oslo, it’s about two hours north riding on the comfortable NSB trains.  The town has been settled since the Norwegian Iron Age which takes us back about 2,600 years.

The downtown area has a nice pedestrian mall with wooden buildings on either side of it.  As you can see from the two pictures below, there is MUCH more snow this year than last.  I was told they have had approximately 1 1/2 meters (59 inches) of snow in the downtown area this winter with more in the countryside.

A picture of the Lillehammer Pedestrian Mall in 2018 with lots of snow.

Lillehammer Pedestrian Mall – 2018

A picture of the Lillehammer Pedestrian Mall in 2017 without much snow.

Lillehammer Pedestrian Mall – 2017

The town is very picturesque.  It has brightly painted “Norwegian” buildings and also sits along side of a lake and river which can be seen from the surrounding mountains.

A picture of Lillehammer taken from the Mountain.

View of Lillehammer from the Mountain

1994 Winter Olympics

The first Winter Olympics was held in France in 1924.  The Lillehammer Winter Olympics was the 17th edition of the the winter games.  If you’re counting, then you need to take into consideration two things.  First, there were two years (1940 and 1944) during World War II when the Winter Olympics were not held.  In addition, the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer was the first to be held in a different year from the Summer Olympics.

The Opening Ceremony was held in the outdoor arena surrounding the landing area for the two ski jumps (Big Hill and Normal Hill).  This is the featured image of today’s post.

Today it looks a bit different as seen in the picture below, but some of the arena remains and serves as the stadium for jumping competitions such as the World Cup and Raw Air competition which I’m attending again this year.

A picture of the Lillehammer Olympic Arena in 2018 which serves as the ski jumping stadium.

Lillehammer Olympic Arena – 2018

And the Olympic flame is lit for events that are held in the stadium.

A picture of the Lillehammer Olympic stadium and the Olympic Flame - 2018

Lillehammer Olympic Stadium and the Olympic Flame – 2018

Norwegian Olympic Museum

If you want to find out more about the history of the Olympics, visit the Norwegian Olympic Museum.  The museum’s story line tells about the ancient and modern Olympics.  The Winter Olympics in Oslo in 1952 and in Lillehammer in 1994, serve as a focal point of the museum.  It is a very English friendly museum which is always beneficial to those of us who only know that language.

How much do you know about the Olympic Rings?

Who designed the rings?  It was Pierre de Coubertin.  He was the person who was instrumental in the development of the modern Olympic games with the first modern games being held in Athens in 1896.  He also served as president of the International Olympic Committee from 1896 – 1925.

What do the five rings represent?  They represent the five continents.  I know many of us were taught there are seven continents.  Depending on how they are grouped together, the number can be as low as six or five.  When Pierre de Coubertin designed the Olympic symbol, world views were much different than they are today.

When did Pierre de Coubertin design the Olympic symbol?  It was on the eve of the First World War.  There is symbolism in the rings showing how athletes from all over the world come together to compete on the sports field rather than on the fields of war.

What do the colors represent?  With the five rings set on a white background, these six colors represent the colors of the flags of all nations.

This video will take you on a 1 minute tour of the Norwegian Olympic Museum.

Beauty of Lillehammer in Winter

I enjoy the beauty of winter, especially when the snow is as light and fluffy as it is on the ground in Norway.  The following pictures show this beauty.  I hope you enjoy them!

A picture of a wooden bridge in Lillehammer in the Winter of 2018.

The Wooden Bridge in Lillehammer – Winter 2018

A picture of Lillehammer in the Winter of 2018.

Lillehammer in the Winter 2018

Up next is Trondheim, which is a four hour train ride north of Lillehammer.

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