International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach said Thursday that ongoing discussions continue with multiple cities interested in hosting the 2032 Olympics and 2030 Olympic Winter Games, even as the COVID-19 pandemic ravages the major sport calendar worldwide and has delayed the Tokyo 2020 Games until 2021.
When asked during a teleconference following the first-ever IOC Executive Board meeting to be held remotely, Bach told GamesBids.com from Lausanne “future host commissions for Summer and Winter continue to be in contact with a number of interested cities, regions and National Olympic Committees with a view to hosting the Olympic Games and we are very happy with this development.”
“These contacts continue by ways of the new procedure that we have established.”
Bach credited the health of the Olympic bid race – even as the IOC itself faces a potentially insurmountable crisis – on a series of reforms rolled out under his presidency last decade.
“You have to consider we are now 12 years ahead of the Games in 2032 and as you can imagine we are also very happy that with our result of Olympic Agenda 2020 reforms and in particular the double allocation for Paris and Los Angeles,” Bach said.
“Otherwise we would now in this crisis time have to start the candidature procedure for the Games in 2028, and this, to say diplomatically would have not likely been the best moment to do this.”
In 2017 after three bidders dropped out of the five-city 2024 Olympic bid race, the IOC opted to award both remaining Paris and Los Angeles the Olympic Games with LA agreeing to accept the 2028 edition.
Both cities had proposed Games in line with the IOC’s reforms to use existing venues, build less infrastructure and lower the overall costs and risks of hosting the event.
Last year the IOC passed a further bid reform package that eliminated many of the formalities of bidding, including the strict timelines. Future host commissions were formed to engage with interested bidders in a more collaborative approach to siting the Games.
Without these changes a 2028 Olympic bid race would be ramping up right now and throughout this pandemic with the awarding of the Games happening sometime next year.
Bach had been pushing for early host city elections, hinting that the 2032 event could be awarded as early as 2021, but it’s likely those plans will change as the crisis continues and the IOC leverages bought time.
In January, Sapporo received the Japanese Olympic Committee’s (JOC) approval to bid for the 2030 Olympic Winter Games. Bach had already played up the bid, describing the potential of a repeat Games as “excellent.”
Also in January the IOC Future Host Commission provided an update listing Sapporo, the Barcelona region in Spain and Salt Lake City in the United States as those cities discussing Winter Games bids, though Salt Lake City is more likely to pursue the 2034 edition.
Subsequently a group in Vancouver, Canada began to organize a 2030 run after the nostalgic 10-year anniversary of the city’s successful 2010 Games.
For 2032, a bid from Southeast Queensland in Australia emerged last year as the clear leader in the race that includes a potential joint Seoul-Pyongyang bid by capitals on the Korean Peninsula, a city in India, Jakarta in Indonesia, a regional project in Germany and Shanghai in China.
The Australian bid that would be centered in Brisbane had planned to present bid documents at an IOC Session that was scheduled to be held in Tokyo ahead of this summer’s Games. Now with the Games postponed, the IOC will hold the all-members Session remotely through teleconference and there has been no confirmation that the bid is moving forward on the same timeline.
Officials in India say they remain in the race, but will slow down the process as they weather the Coronavirus storm.
“It is a continuous process which I believe will see no activity until December,” Indian Olympic Association (IOA) Chief Narinder Batra said last month.
“This is not the time to talk with business houses or government about pitching for the Olympics. The first thing should be how we sort out this problem which has come into the world.”
A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.