Australia’s bid to host the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Queensland received high-profile support on a powerful stage Sunday in Japan.
On the sidelines of the G20 Summit being held in Osaka, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison met with International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach and Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) President and IOC Vice President John Coates met to discuss the fledgling bid led by Queensland state capital Brisbane.
Morrison, who’s government committed AUD $10 million towards preparing an Olympic bid said Sunday “A Brisbane Olympics has the potential to be a game-changer for southeast Queensland and my government will be there every step of the way,” according to The Australian.
“Just like in Sydney, a Queensland Olympics, led by Brisbane, would be an economic and job boom and would show off the entire state to the world.
“The Sydney Olympics set a new standard for the Olympic Games and the IOC still praise its success almost 20 years later. I have no doubt that Queenslanders, in true Origin spirit, would want to go one better in Brisbane in 2032 and show the world ‘how good is Queensland’.
“But to achieve this, we all have to work together and show we are a united team, especially governments at commonwealth, state and local level.”
Bach was invited to the G20 meeting by Japan’s Prime Minster Shinzo Abe where the 2020 edition of the Olympics will be held in Tokyo. It marked the first time an IOC President has addressed the powerful summit.
Later, Bach said “I was impressed by the clear and strong level of commitment of Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his government for Olympic Games in Queensland, Australia.”
“He made it very clear that Olympic Games would fit 100 per cent into his government’s ten years infrastructure planning. This early commitment and the well-known enthusiasm of the Aussies for sport are a great foundation for the Olympic Games 2032 in Queensland.”
While still early in the bid process, new bidding rules approved by the IOC last week stipulate that a host city or region could be elected at any time – putting new pressure on any cities that have been considering a shot at the 2032 edition. Bids being mulled by other places including Jakarta in Indonesia, Germany, Shanghai in China, India and jointly between North and South Korea – that have until now been contemplating a 2023 application deadline – face new pressures to ramp up their projects quickly.
Coates said last month that the Australian bid could be considered for election as early as next year, though Bach later commented that that timeline is too aggressive.
Bach said “for sure there will be no election for 2032 this year and at this moment in time I can also not see it for next year.”
Coates said Sunday “The Prime Minister made it very clear that he was enthused by what he heard at the meeting and that the Federal Government was ready to move forward.”
“Thomas Bach conveyed the new flexible approach the IOC has adopted to create a dialogue with potential Games’ hosts and for Games to be hosted in several cities or regions.
“There’s no question a Games could be held in Queensland that suits this model.
“We have significant existing sports infrastructure across multiple locations in South East Queensland,” Coates added, naming locations such a Townsville and Cairns that could host preliminary events.
But he cautioned against a model that is too widespread.
“President Bach warned against spreading events too far, being mindful of comments from the athlete Members of the IOC, who are concerned about the loss of the magic for athletes from all 206 National Olympic Committees, coming together,” Coates explained.
“There needs to be sufficient accommodation for not only the teams but also technical officials, media and spectators, as well as additional broadcasting costs having to be considered.”
Coates outlined a plan to move forward with the bid quickly, including the formation of the leadership group, the completion of an economic feasibility study by the Queensland Government and finalization of the competition venue masterplan.
“There is no doubt [government leaders] understood President Bach’s message that the Games will pay for themselves, based on the IOC’s contribution of at least AUD $2.5 billion, ticket sales revenue and national sponsorships and licensing.”
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.