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Petter Syverud oversaw the planning and construction of the Lillehammer 2016 Athletes Village that became much-needed student accommodation for the Lillehammer University College. Given his extensive experience in the organising committee for the Olympic Winter Games 1994 in Lillehammer, he provides an invaluable insight into what genuinely works when it comes to Olympic Games legacy projects, and how Lillehammer has managed to keep getting it right.
Having had a front-row seat to witness just how important the legacy aspect of the Lillehammer 1994 Olympic Winter Games proved to be, Petter Syverud had the issue at the forefront of his mind ahead of the YOG 2016. He sees long-term legacy projects as vital and absolutely necessary parts of any Olympic Games. Syverud’s philosophy is simple – for the Games to be a benefit to a city, the legacy plans must be significant. The Lillehammer resident is particularly pleased with how the YOG 2016 embraced this concept. Syverud was the project manager for the construction of the YOG 2016 Athletes Village. The complex was largely funded by the International Olympic Committee and remains as student accommodation, housing 360 young minds who will one-day hopefully make their mark on Lillehammer and beyond.
“The Olympic Games have been so very important for this region. I can’t really imagine what Lillehammer would be like today without the Games in 1994. Whether it’s the YOG or the Olympic Games, if you don’t have focus on the legacy you will probably build venues and accommodation of the wrong size for post-Games use and you will lose so much support if you do it in the wrong way. The legacy issue should be there from day one when you start planning Games. From the 1994 Games we spread the venues and the competitions over five municipalities. That was to give those five places venues sized according to the population in each. The ice rinks were the big venues and were built in three different places in 1994. For the YOG we used the same venues.”