Sweden won’t gag athletes in Beijing

Sweden's Olympic Committee (SOC) said Tuesday it would allow its athletes competing at the Beijing Games to express themselves freely as long as they respect International Olympic Committee regulations.

“We won’t gag our athletes,” SOC president Stefan Lindeberg told AFP.

“But we have been very clear with them about the IOC’s rules that the Olympics cannot be used as an arena for demonstrations or for political or religious views,” he said.

He stressed that the athletes would be allowed “to speak freely when answering reporters’ questions for example.”

More than 100 Swedish athletes who have qualified or who are expected to qualify for the Olympics have already been briefed on China’s history, culture, society and political situation, Lindeberg said.

In Britain, the British Olympic Association (BOA) backed down Sunday on its plan to prevent all British competitors from commenting on “politically sensitive issues” surrounding the August 8-24 Beijing Games.


Plot for shared Scandi Winter Olympic bid

Norwegian sports officials have said they want to co-host the winter Olympics with Sweden in 2026. But there has so far been no official response from Sweden.

Plot for shared Scandi Winter Olympic bid
Skiers hit the slopes in Åre, western Sweden. Photo: TT
Tromdheim in Norway could pair up with Åre in western Sweden to bring the Winter Olympic Games back to Scandinavia, reported The Local Norway
Thorleif Gunhildrud, head of the Norwegian College of Elite Sport, has told Norwegian media he believes the collaboration would be a success.
"We definitely believe that Norway needs a new Olympics' event," he said to the Nationen newspaper.
"We feel very sorry for Tromsø not making it – and then Oslo. But we realize that those opportunities are now past. Now we have to look ahead towards 2026."
Gunhildrud said the price tag was a key reason Scandinavia hasn't been able to host the games, but that splitting the bills could make the dream a reality.
"When two government budgets split the costs, arranging the Olympics will become far less expensive," he reasoned.
Swedish officials are yet to be quizzed on the topic, but Gunhildrud indicated that Åre had been positive to arranging the Olympics once before.
NTG board member, Arild Strømnes, suggested Tromdheim would likely be chosen to host the Skiing World Championship in 2021. This would mean Tromdheim would have the sports facilities and infrastructure in place for a 2026 bid. 
In addition, Åre will arrange the World Championship in alpine skiing in a few years, while Östersund, being close to Åre, will arrange the World Championship in biathlon.
Last week, The Local Sweden spoke to Public Health and Sports Minister Gabriel Wikström, who said he enjoyed watching Olympic sports and noted that he had recently had a meeting with the head of the Swedish Olympic Committee.
But on Friday his spokesperson Juan-Pablo Roa said that the idea of a pan-Scandinavian Winter Olympics was  "just speculation from Trondheim".