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Advance Australia: Brisbane poised to host 2032 Olympics

·2-min read

Organisers have burst the Olympic bid bubble with Brisbane installed as host elect of the 2032 Games, writes Tom Harle.

Gone are the days of cities paying $500,000 just to be a candidate, with the headline reform of IOC President Thomas Bach's Agenda 2020 marking a major shift for the movement.

More than a decade ahead of the 35th Olympiad, the Queensland city now has an exclusive seat at the table for non-binding 'targeted dialogue' with the IOC's Future Host Commission.

It is a big blow for cities and regions like Doha, Qatar and Rhine-Ruhr, Germany who are believed to have initiated discussions.

"This is not a decision against anybody, this is just a decision in favour of one interested party at this moment in time," said Bach.

"We had a good number of interested parties. After a very intensive discussion, the Executive Board unanimously approved the recommendation of the Commission."

Early reports indicated an upgraded version of the 40,000 seater Brisbane Cricket Ground, universally known as the Gabba, could host the opening ceremony.

A site in inner-city suburb Albion has also been earmarked for one of a limited number of Games-specific developments, a potential site for an athletics stadium.

Brisbane 2
A mural of 1960 Olympic champion Muhammad Ali in the city's Fish Lane quarter

Commission chair Kristin Kloster Aasen revealed factors in Brisbane's favour include a 80 or 90% of venues already existing and the region's experience of hosting major sporting events, like the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

Other factors include Queensland's good weather in July and alignment with government strategy on improving transport links.

"The decision to advance the process was taken now given the uncertainty the world is facing at the moment, which is expected to continue until after the COVID-19 health crisis is over," said the IOC member.

"We want to seize the momentum offered by the excellent project of Brisbane 2032, bringing stability to the Olympic Games, the athletes, the IOC and the whole Olympic movement."

Bach was forced to bat back questions over the role of IOC Vice-President John Coates, influential in the Sydney 2000 bid, in pursuing exclusive dialogue with the Australian Olympic Committee of which he is also President.

"No member of the Executive Board is allowed to sit on this Commission," said Bach.

"This is rule in the Olympic Charter. Mr Coates has not taken part in any kind of discussion concerning reports on this process."

New Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto met the IOC Executive Board and began with reassurance that the Torch Relay, set to begin in March and threatened by Japanese COVID restrictions, will continue as planned.

"She was very warmly welcomed, as an Olympian and as an experienced political figure," said Bach.

"Her nomination was appreciated by everybody in the Executive Board and the entire movement.”

Sportsbeat 2021