Every time the Summer Olympics roll around, I tell myself “eh, I’m more of a Winter Olympics gal” and then when the Winter Olympics come around, I think “who are these people? What are any of the competitions? I better wait until the Summer Olympics to get into it”. It’s a cycle of laziness. I’m not totally clueless though – I like knowing where they’re held and I like and hunting for things in that city to add to my bucket list. I really enjoy the random drama that surrounds the stupidest things (take a sec and Google the controversy over the 2012 London Olympics logo for an example). It’s my type of reality show.
I also find the followup articles about many of Olympic venues falling into disrepair after the games to be so fascinating (although also simultaneously depressing). Millions are spent, resources are often wasted, there’s the likelihood of substandard work to meet a deadline all for an event that will end after a few weeks. Countries are left with with venues that often are rarely used again, and the global exposure that they earn from hosting fades pretty quickly (insert Debbie Downer music here). It’s not all bad though, as some countries manage to make use of their facilities long after the Olympics in classic, cool and creative ways.
So. With the Winter Olympics coming up, I thought I’d revisit my visit to the site of the 1952 Winter Olympics, Oslo, Norway. Some events that year took place in Holmenkollen, an area located about a 30 minute picturesque drive away from the city center. The coolest feature at this venue is the dramatic Holmenkollen Ski Jump. Made out of 1000 tonnes of steel and extending about 60m in the air, the Jump kind of makes you want to look around to see if there are any giants lined up to slide down. It’s practically a modernist piece of art.
The Holmenkollen Ski Jump was actually built in 1892(!), 32 years before the first ever Winter Olympics in the world. After Norway won the bid to host in 1952, the Ski Jump was renovated and expanded to include standing arena that has a capacity of 130,000 people, a far cry from the 12,000 people who attended the first ski jump competition in 1892. The entire area is still widely used. in 2011, the Jump was renovated for the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships, and hosts world cup events every year. During the warmer months the jump is actually transformed into a Zipline. There is a Museum at the Jump and a ski simulator and the arena is also utilized for cross-country skiing and biathlon events. I mean…multitask much?
There is also a stature of Fridtjor Hansen (see above), a famous Norwegian explorer, cross-country skier, scientist & activist. I’ve heard that there is another statue of King Olav V and his dog, but I didn’t get a chance to see it.
Holmenkollen also caters to the “dog & cool statue lover” demographic – there’s a stature of the cutest dog at the Jump to commemorate Bikkja Bakken, a dog who apparently was famous for interrupting the proceedings during events.
From all reports, he was a good boy.
So Happy Olympics to those of you who follow it closely. I can’t tell you who skied there at the time and I can’t even tell you the name of any athletes in this year’s Olympics. Before I stared writing this I had to take a beat before I could remember where it was being held. Shameful. But maybe I’ll get the hang of it by 2020?