Brisbane likely to win Olympic 2032 host race


Brisbane front runner for 2032 Olympics Image: Suncorp Stadium & Urbis

The Australian City of Brisbane is the “preferred host” for the 2032 Summer Olympics, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced recently in a move which officials said was designed to bring “stability” to the Games after the delay of the Tokyo 2020 edition.

‘CNN’ reports stated that the IOC President Thomas Bach announced at a presser recently that the Olympic governing body will enter a “targeted dialog” with the Brisbane 2032 Committee and the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) over their potential to host the 2032 Games.

The 2032 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXXV Olympiad, is a forthcoming international multisport event. The winning bid is scheduled to be selected between 2021 (due to bidding rule changes) and 2025 with the winning bid announced by the IOC at an unknown date.

Under a new selection process for the Games approved in 2019, a candidate City is designated as “preferred host” following the start of “targeted dialog”. The City’s bid must still be approved by an IOC vote.

The announcement was met with excitement in Brisbane, the capital of Queensland State and Australia’s third-largest City. State Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said this was the beginning of “a new golden age for Queensland”.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board (EB) – in a decision reached recently – has decided to follow the recommendation of the Future Host Commission for the Games of the Olympiad to enter into a targeted dialog for the Games of the XXXV Olympiad. The IOC will start more detailed discussions with the Brisbane 2032 Committee and the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) about their potential to host the Olympic Games 2032.

A statement on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) website read, “Under the IOC’s new, more targeted and flexible approach to future host elections, the two Future Host Commissions (Summer and Winter) are permanently open to exploratory, non-committal continuous dialog with interested parties and National Olympic Committees (NOCs) on their ambitions to host future Games. The Future Host Commission gave the opportunity of a presentation and a discussion to the interested parties in the continuous dialog, which resulted in meetings on February 3rd, 8th and 9th, 2021. The Commission has also engaged with those NOCs that have chosen not to be in the continuous dialog at this stage.”

“As noted during the reports of the Future Hosts Commissions to the IOC Session in 2020, the IOC is pleased to be in non-committal discussions with a number of interested parties about future hosting opportunities for either the Olympic Games or the Youth Olympic Games – some of which are simultaneously exploring the possibility of organizing a Summer or a Winter edition or the Youth Olympic Games. This is yet further evidence of the importance of the Games and the Olympic values in today’s uncertain world.”

A statement on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) website further read, “The decision to advance the process was taken at this particular moment, given the uncertainty the world is facing right now. This uncertainty is expected to continue even after the COVID-19 health crisis is over. The IOC is considering seizing the momentum offered by the excellent project of Brisbane 2032 and the AOC, in this way, bringing stability to the Olympic Games, the athletes, the IOC and the whole Olympic Movement.”

The Future Host Commission will now start a targeted dialog with the Brisbane 2032 Committee and the AOC, and will report back to the IOC EB on the outcome of these discussions in due course. If all the requirements are met, the IOC EB can propose the election of the future host of the Games of XXXV Olympiad to the IOC Session. If the discussions are not successfully concluded, Brisbane 2032 will rejoin the continuous dialog.

At the same time, the Future Host Commission will also maintain the continuous dialog with the other interested parties, in order to further develop their excellent and promising projects, be it for the Olympic Games 2032 if the Targeted Dialogue with Brisbane 2032 and the AOC is not successful, or for the Olympic Games 2036 and other future Olympic events.

Why Brisbane?

The main reasons why Brisbane 2032 was proposed for the targeted dialog are:

  • The very advanced Games concept, which is fully aligned with Olympic Agenda 2020 and using 80 to 90 percent existing or temporary venues;
  • The venue masterplan, which has already been discussed with International Sports Federations and the International Paralympic Committee;
  • The high level of experience in hosting major international sports events;
  • The favorable climate conditions for athletes in July and August, despite the current global challenges caused by climate change;
  • The alignment of the proposed Games with South-East Queensland’s long-term strategy (‘SEQ City Deal’, February 2019) to improve local transport infrastructure, absorb demographic change and promote economic growth;
  • Australia’s sporting success throughout modern Olympic history. The last Games in Oceania were Sydney 2000, which would mean the Games returning to the continent 32 years later;
  • The existing and planned transport infrastructure and experience in traffic management, which can adequately meet the demands of the Olympic Games and were successfully implemented for the Commonwealth Games in 2018.
  • The existing hotel accommodation inventory, which already meets Games requirements;
  • Strong support from all three levels of Government, as confirmed on several occasions by highest-level representatives from the City of Brisbane, the Southeast Queensland Council of Mayors, the State of Queensland and the Federal Government;
  • The strong public support and that of the private sector;
  • Australia’s high scores on human development indices, in particular its great progress towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals; and
  • In evaluating Brisbane 2032’s proposal, the IOC also took into consideration detailed information from independent third-party sources, including the World Bank, the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and numerous UN agencies including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Remarked IOC President Thomas Bach, “According to the clear report of the Future Host Commission, the Brisbane 2032 project is fully aligned with Olympic Agenda 2020 and the new recommendations of Olympic Agenda 2020+5. It proposes sustainable Games in line with the region’s long-term strategy and using primarily existing and temporary venues. The commitment of Australia and Oceania to Olympic sports has grown remarkably since the fantastic Olympic Games Sydney 2000. This is why we see such strong public support.” The IOC chief added, “We decided to seize an opportunity to take to the next stage our discussions about returning 32 years later. In this way, we are also acknowledging the strength of the Australian team and other athletes from across the continent of Oceania at the Olympic Games over the past decades.”

Chair of the Future Host Commission for the Games of the Olympiad Kristin Kloster Aasen added, “We are delighted the IOC Executive Board agreed with the Commission’s recommendation to invite Brisbane 2032 to targeted dialog. The IOC EB and the Commission noted the excellent progress that it has made, the strength of its proposition and the strategic opportunities it affords to the Olympic Movement. It meets all the criteria to be invited to move into the next stage.”

The ‘CNN’ report further pointed out that COVID-19 has thrown totally out of gear preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The Games were canceled last year as coronavirus throttled the world and even now everything is shrouded in uncertainty as to how the event, scheduled to begin on July 23rd, can be conducted safely in 2021.

The Olympic Games Tokyo is slated to be held from July 23rd to August 8th, 2021.

At the same time, there is growing pressure from human rights groups and some Western politicians for at least a partial boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics over allegations of serious human rights violations resorted to by the Chinese Government.

Brisbane, a City of around 2.5 million people on Australia’s East Coast, hosted the 1982 Commonwealth Games and several matches of the 1992 Cricket World Cup and 2003 Rugby World Cup.

Australia has previously held the Summer Olympics twice, in Melbourne in 1956 and Sydney in the year 2000.

The IOC’s announcement was like music to the ears for both Queensland and Australia.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in an Instagram post, “How good is Queensland!”

AOC president John Coates said in a statement that a lot of work still needs to be done to ensure that Brisbane’s bid for the 2032 Games was a success – “We are very clear that we must continue to work hard in outlining our vision for a successful Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2032.”

Susan Brownell, an Olympics expert and Professor of Anthropology at the University of Missouri-St Louis, said that the new system of selecting a host City had been put in place to try to avoid repeated, expensive bids for the Games from unsuccessful cities and an unpredictable final voting process – “All of this seems to indicate that Brisbane will win the bid unless something unexpected happens, or the IOC session suddenly rises up and resists. If Brisbane is not chosen, it will still be under consideration for future games.”

Venues’ boulevard

With the IOC recently declaring Brisbane as the ‘preferred candidate City’ to host the 2032 Olympics, venues that would potentially host Games events have been revealed in the bid document.

‘Australasian Leisure Management’ reported that with the bid relying heavily on using existing facilities and sporting infrastructure for the event, it has been promoted as a Games that will break-even, avoiding incurring massive overspends such as those faced by past Olympics.

To achieve its aims, Brisbane’s Olympics would include venues across Southeast Queensland, including a number of facilities built for the 2018 Commonwealth Games and possible some built for Sydney’s 2000 Olympics, while football preliminaries would also be played in Sydney and Melbourne.

Brisbane’s bid document suggested that between two and seven new venues would be built including a new 50,000-capacity stadium at Albion Park to serve as the main stadium, hosting athletics and the ceremonies.

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