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The funding structure of the Norwegian sport and physical activity system
18th Annual Sport Management Association of Australia and New Zealand (SMAANZ) Conference (2012)
  • Bryn Jones, Western University
  • Winston Wing Hong To, Western University
  • Darwin Semotiuk, Western University

Norway is a country that has simultaneously developed a successful high performance and elite sport (HPS) program, as well as a physical activity program designed for all of its citizens. Limited resources make it challenging for most countries to balance a “sport for all” and “high performance or elite sport development” policy. Norway is generally held to be one of few countries in the world that has been able to achieve such a balance despite having a small population (4.5 million) and having limited financial resources (1.5 Billion Norwegian Krone (kr)) (Semotiuk, 2009). Though Norwegian sport policy is highly regarded by the international community, there is a lack of understanding on how they have become so successful (Semotiuk, 2009).

Funding structure is one of the fundamental factors that have influenced the success of the Norwegian sport and physical activity system. It is widely held that Norwegian sport authorities are presently operating a sport and physical activity model that balances elite sport development, for both winter and summer, while providing a sport system for the masses (Semotiuk, 2009). The successful balance between these two concepts has put Norway on the forefront internationally in the area of the national health promotion strategies and programming (Semotiuk, 2009). One can also assume there are considerable benefits to be realized through the sharing of these best practices internationally.

The objectives of this research study were: - To describe, interpret, and critically examine the Norwegian sport and physical activity model - To examine the philosophy, structure, relationship, and budgetary support for the “sport for all” and “high performance sport development” programming in Norway - To examine the role of government involvement and support for sport and physical activity in Norway

This grounded theory study used structured interviews in order to examine the Norwegian sport model (Strauss, 2008). The structured interviews were conducted in Oslo, Norway from May 17, 2011 to May 24, 2011 with representatives from government and non-government organizations responsible for overseeing sport and physical activity. Interviews were held with representatives from the following organizations: - Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sports - Norwegian School of Sport Sciences - Olympiatoppen - Ministry of Culture, Department of Sport Policy - Oslo Idrettskrets

In addition, key government reports and sport policy documents were analysed. A further source of information included conference proceedings and presentations, thesis and dissertations, texts and newspaper editorials, and journal publications.

The balanced sport and physical activity model that Norway has implemented is one that must be examined in order to optimize global sport and physical activity system by providing elite athletes and individual citizens with an equal access and support to sport. Without a doubt, the information gathered from this investigation is a welcome addition to the current English language literature dealing with national sport and physical activity models.

  • Norway,
  • sport policy,
  • funding structure,
  • high performance and elite sport,
  • sport participation
Publication Date
Fall November 29, 2012
Citation Information
Bryn Jones, Winston Wing Hong To and Darwin Semotiuk. "The funding structure of the Norwegian sport and physical activity system" 18th Annual Sport Management Association of Australia and New Zealand (SMAANZ) Conference (2012)
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