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OLYMPICS

Olympics in Denmark? IOC reforms set stage

Changes by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) could result in Denmark co-hosting the Olympics with its neighbours.

Olympics in Denmark? IOC reforms set stage
Prince Albert II of Monaco (L) greets Denmark's Crown Prince Frederick before the opening ceremony of the 127th IOC session in Monaco on Monday. Photo: Eric Gaillard/Scanpix
Reforms approved on Monday by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) could pave the way for Denmark to host the Games. 
 
The IOC approved changes to the bidding process that will make it easier and more affordable for smaller countries to compete to host the Olympics. Future prospective hosts can now hold events outside of the host city or country, clearing the way for Denmark to join forces with neighbours Sweden and Norway to bring the Olympics to Scandinavia. 
 
“Our goal with these changes is that smaller countries like Denmark can also arrange an Olympic Games – it shouldn’t just belong to the larger countries. I hope that this will prompt the Scandinavian countries to make a bid,” IOC vice president John Coates said in Monaco on Monday, according to Politiken. 
 
The IOC changes were greeted warmly by Copenhagen Mayor Frank Jensen, who said they present “very exciting” possibilities. 
 
“It could be remarkable to get part of the Olympic Games to Copenhagen, but it would require wide political backing,” he told Politiken. 
 
Gerhard Heiberg, a Norwegian member of the IOC, said he hoped Copenhagen would lead the way for a Scandinavian Olympic bid. 
 
“You can easily imagine Copenhagen going together with Malmö or Gothenburg, or even Oslo, and I am positive that a Scandinavian bid would be taken seriously,” Heiberg told Politiken. 
 
Heiberg is one of six Scandinavians among the IOC’s 104 members. Denmark’s Crown Prince Frederik is also an IOC member. 

 
But despite the support from key members of the IOC, brining the Olympics to Denmark may still be a long shot. 
 
A previous study by the consultancy Rambøll concluded that hosting the Olympics would be far too expensive. 
 
Sharing the costs with Sweden and Norway would certainly help, but Culture Minister Marianne Jelved told Politiken that she viewed the IOC changes positively but “does not have current plans” to pursue a bid. 

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OLYMPICS

Denmark joins calls to postpone Tokyo Olympics until pandemic over

Denmark has joined the chorus of countries, including Norway, the UK, Croatia, and Brazil, calling for the Olympics to be postponed for a year.

Denmark joins calls to postpone Tokyo Olympics until pandemic over
Morten Mølholm, Director General of the National Olympic Committee and Sports Confederation of Denmark, at a press conference, back in 2018. Photo: Asger Ladefoged/Ritzau Scanpix
Morten Mølholm, Director General of the National Olympic Committee and Sports Confederation of Denmark (DIF), said that he believed the Summer Olympics in Tokyo should be held in 2021 instead.  
 
“We have great respect for the complicated situation the IOC are in, because the Olympics are a big thing,” he told Danish state broadcaster DR. “But we are having a hard time seeing us having an Olympics in the current situation. That's why we think the right solution is to postpone them.” 
 
The decision comes after Norway on Friday sent a formal letter to the IOC, calling for them to postpone the games until the the pandemic is “under firm control on a national scale”. 
 
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The IOC on Sunday responded to mounting pressure with a statement promising to “step up scenario planning” for the games. IOC President Thomas Bach last week said it was “premature” to consider postponing them. The DIF on Wednesday echoed this position, saying that it was “too early to decide”. 
 
But Mølholm told DR on Sunday that even putting the risk of reigniting the pandemic on hold, he did not see how an Olympics held in today's conditions could be fair on athletes. 
 
“At the moment we are in a totally chaotic situation, where many athletes do not have the opportunity to train, and participate in qualifying rounds. Therefore, the only right thing is to create clarity about the situation by taking the decision to postpone it.” 
 
“We do not believe that we can have a fair Olympics this year, as the conditions will be so different for the different athletes.” 
 
He said that difficulties re-booking venues would probably make it practically difficult to postpone by only a few months, making a postponement of a full year the best option. 
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