IOC President looks forward to African bid to host Olympic Games in 2040

President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach said that he hopes to see a nation from Africa step up to bid for an Olympic Games in 2040.

IOC President, Thomas Bach holds an Executive Board meeting on November 12, 2021 (Photo: IOC/Greg Martin)
IOC President, Thomas Bach holds an Executive Board meeting on November 12, 2021 (Photo: IOC/Greg Martin)

While lamenting that he was unable to see an Olympic Games hosted in, or awarded to Africa during his term leading the IOC, Bach told a group of young reporters representing the International Sports Press Association (AIPS) that it remains important for Africa to host.

“At the beginning of my term I had a dream to have the Olympic Games in Africa or at least allocate it to Africa during my term but unfortunately neither of those two dreams were realized,” Bach said during an online conference.

“In my mandate, it was not possible to organize the Games in that continent. Or allocate them to it.

“I hope very much that for 2040 an African country will enter into dialogue with the International Olympic Committee to organize the Olympic Games.

“It’s really important to see the Games in Africa and the ball at moment is in the court of the African countries.”

The Olympic Games have never been hosted in Africa, which remains the only habitable continent to have never staged the world’s largest multi-sport event.  Bach, as president, oversaw the first Games welcomed to South America when Rio de Janeiro hosted the event in 2016.  Rio won the election in 2009, before Bach’s first term began in 2013.  The president will step down in 2025 after his two-term limit expires.

The 2032 Games were awarded to Brisbane in July this year and nations are now lining up to bid for the 2036 edition through a continuous dialogue process that won’t likely end until Bach’s successor is elected.

President Bach was instrumental in the election of Dakar in Senegal to host the 2022 Youth Olympic Games – the first ever Olympic event of any kind set to be held in Africa.  In 2017 the IOC announced that only nations in Africa would be allowed to bid for the event, setting up the exclusive opportunity for eventual campaigns from Botswana, Nigeria, Tunisia and Senegal.

Dakar was elected in 2018 but the 2022 Games were later postponed to 2026 due to to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The last African nation on the ballot for the Summer Games was Cape Town, South Africa in its bid to host in 2004.  The city came third in a field of five behind Rome and winner Athens.

Under the new bid process that eliminates head-to-head voting showdowns among candidates in favor of a dialogue-based approach, the IOC could aim specifically for an African host if it chooses – just as it did for the Youth Olympics.

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of 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.

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