As many as five cities waited on the sidelines Wednesday as they watched Brisbane confirmed as host for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games after a 72-5 International Olympic Committee (IOC) vote brought the race, and their dreams, to an end.
Brisbane had been selected by the IOC for targeted dialogue in February this year meaning – according to a new process launched in 2019 – the Australian city had an exclusive opportunity to bid for the Games leading to a contract unless negotiations failed, or the choice was rejected by the membership.
Other interested parties including in India, Indonesia, Qatar, Hungary and jointly by North and South Korea were silently hoping that the vote held at the IOC’s 138th Session held in Tokyo would fail and the process would open back up. Germany had dropped out of the race just weeks earlier, according to the IOC.
“It’s not a done deal,” IOC spokesperson Mark Adams said earlier in the week about the possibility the race would not end Wednesday, and that other cities could still be in the mix.
Insisting that members could vote against the proposal, Adams said that would mean “they can decide to put them, if you like, back into the pot [with other cities involved in the continuous dialogue).”
IOC members rarely, if ever, vote against their Executive Board’s decisions so to those who know, Brisbane had already sealed the deal. It was such a certainty that the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee distributed an embargoed press release hours before the decision, congratulating Brisbane, but with instructions not to publish the information until after the successful vote was confirmed.
Knowing this, rival cities have already moved on, targeting future Games instead for which the IOC claims they are already pre-qualified for the race.
The IOC Future Host Commission chair Norwegian Kristin Kloster Aasen said during a presentation to the IOC Session Wednesday “we now have a pool of hosts for the future.”
“The vast majority of interested parties are keen to remain in continuous dialog for 2036, 2040 or later.”
Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) President John Coates who led the Brisbane 2032 bid and helped design the new bid process qualified the election win by explaining that Australia’s entry defeated “as many as five cites that were interested in continuous dialog.”
“It’s a reflection of the quality of Brisbane’s dialogue and due diligence.
“It was a good candidature and it was thoroughly tested by the Future Host Commission.”
The chair of the Indonesian Olympic Committee (KOI) Raja Sapta Oktohari remained resilient after Brisban’e election.
“Indonesia has a continuous dialogue status, and only one targeted dialogue has been chosen by the future host commission, namely Brisbane, Oktohari said.
“We will not back down and want to keep fighting to host the Olympics by becoming the only targeted dialogue for the 2036 Olympics.”
Indonesian IOC member Erick Thohir said he is ready to back the campaign telling Antara News “I have told Mr. Okto that we have to remain becoming the wing and stay aggressive.”
“We have potential. We can be the option to become the next host if we can be the second preferred bidder [following Brisbane for 2032]. So, this is what we have to do,” he added.
Indonesia has proposed current capital Jakarta to host a future Games, leveraging experience gained from the Jakarta-Palembang 2018 Asian Games. Officials have already planned for the capital to move to a new location on Borneo ahead of the expected Games dates.
In India, formal preparations to host in 2036 were already underway last month, with the city of Ahmedabad considered a possible hub.
Government authorities have been interviewing international consultants who are bidding to help build a detailed roadmap to a 2036 Games that would outline existing facilities, required infrastructure, and suggest possible cities to be a hub for the Games. The project will be funded by both the national and state governments, and officials are looking to additional stakeholders for private investments in the study.
Officials hope that the detailed work will set India apart among the cities involved in the IOC’s continuous dialogue.
Officials in Qatar and South Korea were caught by surprise when Brisbane was singled out as the preferred candidate, and leaders vowed to continue with their bids. Officials in Germany chose to abandon a 2032 bid but said they will look towards 2036 despite the year marking the centennial of the controversial Berlin 1936 edition.
Hungary is also in the hunt to host a future Games after public resistance forced capital Budapest to abandon its run at the 2024 Games.