When the Olympics in Lillehammer in 1994 were going to use the world’s most prominent and well-known Norwegians outside the Royal Family to host the opening ceremony, they chose Liv Ullmann and Thor Heyerdahl. The stories about Heyerdahl’s expeditions were well-recited throughout the world, and with his charisma he was a natural first choice.
Heyerdahl grew up in Larvik and was interested in wildlife and nature. His life as an explorer started in 1937 when he and his wife, Liv, left for the Marquesas Islands in the Pacific Ocean and ended with preparations for work on Samoa before he fell ill and died in 2002.
Thor Heyerdahl became world-renowned for his expeditions and excavations, but he was also very controversial in the academic sphere. Few Norwegians have been honoured with more awards than Heyerdahl, and he won an Oscar for his movie from 1950, ”Kon-Tiki”. The movie filmed in 2012 about the same event also received an Oscar nomination. A new generation got to experience Kon-Tiki, but this time without the main character sharing the experience with them.