Legacy Governance – Lillehammer-LOLSC

Lillehammer Olympic Legacy Sports Centre

Preliminary remarks

As you may have seen, two governance cases are dedicated to Lillehammer. Reasons that support this choice are twofold. First, Lillehammer hosted two editions of the Games. If the latter built upon the former to deliver great Games, it also produced its own legacy and consequently, structures to deal with it. Second, as legacy is about both venues and facilities at one side and education, knowledge transfer and experience sharing at the other side, two different cases were necessary to encompass various ways Lillehammer manages its Olympic legacy(ies). Inherited from the 1994 Games, the Lillehammer Olympiapark is a structure run by the municipality of Lillehammer that takes care of the majority of Olympic venues and events. The Lillehammer Olympic Legacy Sports Centre is an emanation of the Norwegian Sports Federation and Olympic and Paralympic Committee and is a direct legacy of the YOG.

Obviously, many bridges and crossovers exist between these structures and collaboration and common understanding are key. The big picture also encloses the Norwegian Top Sports Centre of the Innland region dedicated to elite athletes (Olympiatoppen Innlandet), the University, the Olympic Legacy Studies Centre as well as the remaining Olympic venues run by other municipalities or private companies. With all these partners involved in managing Lillehammer’s Olympic legacy, clusters (venues, events, training, research, etc.) facilitate organisation and legacy management

  • Olympic City: Lillehammer
  • Country: Norway
  • Edition of the Games: 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games
Lillehammer & the region
©Free Vector Maps

How legacy Governance Continued In Lillehammer

Based on a successful 1994 Winter Games’ edition as well as on already existing and still in-use facilities, and with the strong feeling that Olympics were a success for the city, the region and the country, Lillehammer hosted the 2016 Youth Olympic Games. 1994 Lillehammer Games remain in collective memories as successful human-sized Games with high environmental and sustainability standards. And the YOG’s bid relied on the same narrative and beliefs. Børre Roglien, the head of the Norwegian Confederation of Sports at the time, made a promise on that December day in 2011: “We will build upon the 1994 legacy while creating a new legacy built by and for youth – for Norway and the rest of the winter sports world.”

The YOG legacy included infrastructure and equipment, changes in lives of participants, development of Norwegian sport, renewed regional expertise and enthusiasm, and last but not least, a legacy Centre. “’Go Beyond. Create Tomorrow” is the vision that really says it all. We did not just plan and stage just the ten days. We staged Lillehammer 2016 to create tomorrow – a lasting legacy for the region and for Norwegian sport,” says Toms Holmestad, the CEO of Lillehammer 2016.

In the post-YOG perspective, the Lillehammer Olympic Legacy Sports Centre was foreseen as a tribute to the youth and as an example for experience promotion and expertise sharing for the generations to come. This legacy centre conceived as a unique opportunity to share the passion and expertise in winter sports found in the region of Lillehammer with young elite athletes, coaches and managers from other nations – a great way for double-Olympic city Lillehammer and the whole region to give back to sport and to the Olympic Movement. It was inaugurated in December 2017 and now welcomes Norwegian and international young athletes, coaches, leaders and event organisers of Olympic winter sports.


Legacy is…

The LOLSC is a direct legacy of the 2016 Youth Olympic Games. At the time, the Ministry of Culture vision was as such: “The region shall create a centre of expertise for winter athletes targeted to young athletes, coaches and leaders from around the world in the years after 2016. The idea of the centre is to share Norwegian winter sports expertise to countries without the same resources and knowhow as Norway”, Minister of Culture, Linda Helleland.

As for the Norwegian Sports Federation and the Olympic and Paralympic Committee, “the centre is an important contribution, both in view of the organisation’s work with increased involvement of young people in sport, as well as NOC’s international work”, President Tom Tvedt

What’s next?

By now LOLSC is only financed as a project which ends 31.12.2021. We are working on establishing the permanent centre also after this date but that has not been confirmed yet. At the moment we only have funding for the project period throughout 2021.

The main focus for 2020 and 2021 for LOLSC are the following projects:

  • International Training Camps for young athletes, coaches and leaders in the Olympic Winter Sports.
  • Legacy Research Projects focused on the long-term Legacy after 1994 and 2016.
  • Cooperation with China towards Beijing 2022
  • Dual Career Programme. Establishing programmes for international students/athletes to be able to combine their sporting career with education at the university level.


Celebrate Olympism and its values

Olympism is a philosophy that places sport at the heart of humanity and human development. It encourages the symbiotic interaction between culture, education and sport across all of society. Over the years, the spirit of Olympism has become a part of Lillehammer’s soul. The Lillehammer Olympic Legacy Sports Centre embodies this spirit. Through educational and cultural programmes, it helps to drive human development amongst the city of Lillehammer, the country and abroad with international cooperation. Based on its expertise on winter sports, the LOLSC is open to Norwegian and international young athletes, coaches, leaders and event organisers of Olympic winter sports, with a strong focus put on nations that do not have resources and expertise as Norway in winter sports to allow talented athletes to thrive at the centre.

Develop human capital and generate social cohesion

The LOLSC aims to give young athletes, coaches & leaders the possibility to develop their skills inside winter sports. This knowledge-transfer and experience-sharing component complement the promotion of sport as such.

Olympic Games, and later one, the activation of legacy, are an opportunity to develop skills and know-how and incorporate these benefits into society at large. Through the engagement of the youth into sports, the LOLSC promotes the legacy of the 1994 Winter Olympic Games and the 2016 Youth Olympic Games. The LOLSC was founded on the boost of sport participation for generations to come that came thanks to the 2016 YOG.

LOLSC activities are organised around three pillars including training camps; seminars based on some elements of the YOG Learn and Share programme; and China-Norway collaboration for development of winter sports in China ahead of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games.

LOLSC organises training camps for young athletes, such as sliding, curling or cross-country skiing camps. It also promotes gender-oriented camps, for instance with an international ski jumping-camp for women. The LOLSC also promotes involvement and engagement of the youth through the Young Leaders programme. As legacy and future are intrinsically linked, young athletes are hosted in the former Olympic village which was transformed into student accommodation.


The activites and projects in LOLSC are being evaluated by the Resource group behind LOLSC two times a year.

Key Challenges

The key challenge for LOLSC will be the long-term financing of the centre and its projects. The general level of costs in Norway is also a challenge to make camps etc attractive for young people from parts of the world with smaller resources

Key learnings and recommendations

For LOLSC, it has been essential to be able to cooperate with and use the competence in Olympiatoppen Innlandet.

The key learnings behind the project so far will be that the long-term financing of the centre is going to be demanding to secure. We have to rely on public funding to secure this. Sustainable self-financing of the centre and its projects seems to be unrealistic to achieve.

It is also essential to have a close cooperation with the national sport federations in Norway to be able to organize our projects with high quality.



More information


The full case is available in printable version on the members’ portal

In addition to the above description, the PDF version also gathers practical information including internal and external partners involved; finance and cost; use of the olympic brand; human resources and time; and contact details. 

The World Union of Olympic Cities’ team remains at your disposal for any further information and contact’s facilitation at info@olympiccities.org 

Additional resources can be found through the following links: