Although it may be best remembered for the Tonya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan skating saga, the town of 23,500 is the top pick for Winter Olympic legacy: Long-term planning and creativity paid off big-time, Wilson and Kassens-Noor agree.
"They pioneered really amazing sustainable environmental practices," Wilson said. "They made all the silverware and plates from potato starch and fed it to cattle afterward." In the days before "zero-waste" was a common term, Lillehammer's planning made it possible to offset much of the negative environmental impact that often mark both the Olympics and winter sports in general, Kassens-Noor said.
Also key in the aftermath is planning permanent sports structures that match the interest of the country. Lillehammer's cross-country venues are thriving.
"Lillehammer was well organized," Jon Teigland, a Norwegian social scientist, told CNN. "It really was a huge party. Was it worth $2 billion or not? It seems like a lot of Norwegians think that it was," Jon Teigland, a Norwegian social scientist, told CNN.