International Olympic Committee (IOC) Vice President John Coates hinted Thursday that the 2032 Olympic Games could be awarded as early as next year, in 2020 – and he’s pushing for Brisbane in Australia to be named host.
“The election by the IOC of the host for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games would normally be taken “seven years before” that is, in 2025,” Coates, who serves as President of the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC), told the Future Tourism Forum in Brisbane.
“However, if proposed changes to the Games host election process are approved in 12 days’ time and there is a candidate ready to put its hand up, this election could be as early as the IOC Session in Tokyo next year before the opening of the Games on 24 July.”
Coates leads an IOC working group tasked with reforming the Olympic bid process, and last month his proposals were approved by the IOC Executive Board and will be put to a final member vote at a Session in Lausanne on June 25.
A key component of the new proposal is to remove the timing requirement from the Olympic Charter mandating the election of the host city seven years prior to the scheduled opening of the Games.
Instead, “election timings are to be flexible and adjusted to local opportunities, context and needs,” Coates said Thursday.
His comments have led local media to believe that Australia has the inside track to host the 2032 Games.
Coates was one of the key architects of the recent double-allocation of the Games to Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028, the latter being awarded eleven years ahead of the first scheduled event.
The IOC Vice President played up Australia’s chances for 2032, trying to convince politicians and stakeholders to jump at the opportunity.
“Australia and Queensland have the proven capability to host major sports events, including the Olympic and Commonwealth Games,” he said.
“The 2032 Olympic Games is there to win. I hope you will give it serious consideration.”
To back up his enthusiasm, Coates pointed to favorable public support, existing infrastructure and a suitable Winter climate in Queensland that will enable the Games to take place in the required July and August time frame.
He said the proposal was also cost effective when taking into account the USD $1.8 billion contribution from the IOC towards the operational budget.
A recent poll commissioned by the South-East Queensland Council of Mayors revealed that more than 74 percent of people believe a SEQ Olympic bid would accelerate the delivery of transport infrastructure. Seventy-five per cent said they were likely to back an Olympic bid if it meant major transport upgrades would be delivered.
“The SEQ Mayors embarked on an investigation of an Olympic Games with the belief that it would catalyse all levels of government to address the lack of transport investment in the region, and create a firm deadline to ensure it’s delivered,” Brisbane Mayor Cr Schrinner said according to MyGC.com.au.
“The Council of Mayors (SEQ) is supportive of an Olympic Games only on the basis it delivers regional connectivity for the residents, businesses and visitors of SEQ. Both the SEQ Mayors and the community believe fast rail is key to fixing the region’s transport and congestion issues.”
Coates has said in the past that transport upgrades must already be planned before an Olympic bid could move forward. But in the past, such major infrastructure projects that are time-boxed for Olympic Games delivery have been prone to major cost overruns, scope issues and delays. This has been seen while preparing for recent Games in PyeongChang, Rio de Janeiro and Sochi – among others.
The IOC lauded Games concepts from Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028 because plans did not include any Games specific transportation projects. However, a planned high speed rail project between the International Airport and Central Paris that was promised for the Games has been fraught with delays and will not be delivered by 2024.
Many nations have already expressed interest in bidding for the 2032 Games including Indonesia, China, India, Germany and jointly between North and South Korea. Some of these nations have launched plans based on the expectation that the Games would be awarded in 2025.
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.