Budapest push for 2032 Games gain ‘momentum’



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Budapest exploring Olympic bid option Image: Puskás Aréna

Budapest (Hungary) has set its sights on hosting the 2032 Summer Olympics and to this end the Hungarian Olympic Committee has announced that it has set up a committee to look into the possibility of launching a bid for staging the sporting extraordinaire.

The Hungarian Olympic Committee has voted unopposed in favor of the move. In this regard, Attila Szalay-Berzeviczy, a former President of the Budapest Stock Exchange and head of the Budapest Olympic Movement, has been appointed to spearhead the Budapest 2032 Committee.

The 2032 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXXV Olympiad, is a forthcoming international multisport event.

Said Szalay-Berzeviczy, “The exclusive objective of the committee is to thoroughly examine the possibility for Budapest to submit its candidature for the right to host the 2032 Summer Olympic Games. The main task is to create a comprehensive feasibility and macroeconomic impact assessment, a complex task that is estimated to take one and a half years.”

To assist Szalay-Berzeviczy on the committee will be Gabriella Balogh, Gabriella Heiszler, Csaba Lantos, Sándor Nyúl, Gábor Orbán, Anett Pandurics and József Váradi, while gold medal-winning judoka Antal Kovács will liaise between the committee and the Hungarian Olympic Committee Executive Board.

The above committee members have been appointed by the Hungarian Olympic Committee.

Earlier, Budapest was in the fray for the 2024 Games, for which it would have competed against bids from Paris (France) and Los Angeles (US), but decided to bow out as a local organization – Momentum Movement civil organization – was against the whole idea and was pushing for a referendum to allow the population to decide whether to proceed with the bid and Budapest’s Olympic bid finally lost ‘momentum’.

Momentum Movement is a centrist Hungarian political party founded in March 2017. It came to national prominence as a political association in January 2017 after organizing a petition about the Budapest bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics, calling for a public referendum on the matter. The petition, which gathered over 266, 151 signatures, was successful, but the Government canceled the Olympic bid before a referendum could have been held. After its establishment as a political party, Momentum quickly built a national following, and presently has approximately 4,000 members with the bid.

After the collapse of that process, the Hungarian Olympic Committee hinted to return for another bid in the future, with its President, former Olympic medalist Krisztián Kulcsár, at the time appointing Szalay-Berzeviczy as the committee’s Strategic Consultant.

Recently, Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, told Hungarian paper ‘Nemzeti Sport’ that he would “like to live to see Hungary hosting the Olympics”, and said that this would have already been achieved by 2032 if not for “the domestic coup”, referring to the tooth-and-nail opposition by Momentum Movement.

Orbán supporting Budapest’s bid to play host to the sporting showpiece is a huge morale booster for the capital City’s initiative to bid for the Games. If the feasibility study points out that a bid is worth the try, it would mark Budapest’s seventh attempt to host the Olympics, having previously bid in 1916, 1920, 1936, 1944 and 1960 before the 2024 effort. No country has ever submitted more bids without winning the rights to host the event. This speaks in volumes as regards Hungary’s do-or-die spirit.

However, in recent years, Budapest has landed the opportunity to stage several flagship events. In 2017, it hosted the FINA World Aquatics Championships, and will do so again in 2027, while the 2018 World Wrestling Championships and 2019 World Table Tennis Championships both landed in Budapest’s lap, as well as the inaugural World Urban Games in 2019. It has been awarded the 2023 World Athletics Championships.

It is already a dog-eat-dog situation for the 2032 Games from now on. The Australian State of Queensland has launched an innovative pan-regional bid, while Germany, India, Indonesia and Qatar are among other nations to have evinced interest in staging the sporting spectacle. At the start of this year, Ukraine announced plans to bid for either the 2030 Winter or the 2032 Summer Games.

Recently, the Finnish town of Salla, in northern Lapland, launched a tongue-in-cheek bid for the 2032 Games, with the objective of raising awareness on climate change.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is slated to start the bidding process in 2023, with a view to announcing a winning candidate in 2025.

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