International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach told the media in Auckland New Zealand Tuesday that he not only believes New Zealand is capable of hosting an Olympic Games in the future, but has challenged the country to put together a bid his organization cannot say no to.
Though the nation has successfully hosted the Commonwealth Games three times, most recently in Auckland in 1990, the island nation has never put forth a bid for the Olympic Games. However when a grass-roots organization recently began to spearhead a Christchurch 2022 Olympic Winter Games bid then New Zealand Olympic Committee secretary-general Barry Maister said such a plan would be “ambitious in the extreme”.
“It’s on a different scale to anything we do here, and we’re a little country.”
Bach, continuing his whirlwind tour of the Asia-Pacific region, called New Zealand “a great sports country”, noting the success of the 2011 Rugby World Cup, and said, “you not only have successful athletes, you are somehow incorporating the Olympic spirit, the passion for sport. It would be very well appreciated if New Zealand would look into hosting the Olympic Games one day.
“The Olympic Agenda is opening doors for countries other than traditional hosts. You cannot reserve the right to host the Olympic Games to just 20 countries in the world”.
He added, “not only me, but many IOC members would appreciate very much if New Zealand would look into this opportunity”.
New Zealand Olympic Committee president Mike Stanley, sitting next to Bach said, “there’s a question about whether New Zealand wants to go down that path at all. No matter how the Games change in their delivery, they’re still a significant undertaking, still a mega event.
“Sporting infrastructure, transport infrastructure, all these things have to be delivered to provide the level of service they require. It’s something we haven’t seen within the scope of New Zealand.
“Our priority has always been we’ll look after the top group of athletes and see they have the best preparation they can to compete on the world stage…also we’d have to be responsible and say ‘is it in the best interests of New Zealand socially and economically?’ That would provide the answer.”