IOC Vice President urges Hungary to bid for Olympic Games

International Olympic Committee (IOC) Vice President Juan Antonio Samaranch this week urged Hungary to continue to pursue its goal to host the Olympic Games.

IOC Vice President Juan Antonio Samaranch (right) in Budapest visiting Hungarian Olympic Committee President Zsolt Gyulay (left) during the Modern Pentathlon World Cup May 1, 2022 (Photo: MOB)
IOC Vice President Juan Antonio Samaranch (right) in Budapest visiting Hungarian Olympic Committee President Zsolt Gyulay (left) during the Modern Pentathlon World Cup May 1, 2022 (Photo: MOB)

Visiting Budapest to observe the Modern Pentathlon World Cup underway in the capital, Samaranch singled out the nation as one of the top European prospects for hosting a future Games.

“When I see that it is a very predictable curve, always growing, you have demonstrated it a lot by investing in new venues,” Samaranch told media representing the Hungarian Olympic Committee (MOB).

“I can think of only a very few countries with the Olympic spirit and the intensity and care of the Olympic Movement and I hope one day you finally go on and do what we are all thinking about, that you need to do – go after the Games.  Go for it!

“You have everything:  you have the passion, you have the sportsmen, you have the experience, you have an extraordinary administration in the country that is very much sports loving, and I can think of very few countries in our old Europe that have a better call to organize a Games.”

Hungary has the uncomfortable distinction of having won the most Olympic medals for a nation that has never hosted an Olympic Games, despite as many as seven attempts to stage the quadrennial event.  Budapest came closest when the city garnered eight votes on a very competitive first ballot to host the 1960 Games that went to Rome.  The capital also initiated failed attempts to host in 1920 and 1936 as well as the 1916 and 1944 Games that were both cancelled due to world war.

But it was Hungary’s bid to host in 2024 that may have been the most heartbreaking for the nation’s Olympic backers.  With only two rivals, Budapest withdrew late in that race after a threatened referendum eroded political support for the project.  That paved the way for the double awarding of the Games to Paris in 2024 and Los Angeles in 2028.

The MOB also organized to bid for the 2032 Games just weeks before the IOC made the surprise decision to name Brisbane the sole preferred candidate in that race, and the Australian city was elected host city just months later.

Hungary renames failed Budapest 2032 Olympic bid in quest to host a future edition of the Games

Last September the MOB positioned a Budapest Olympic Games Commission to enter into continuous dialogue with the IOC with the goal of pursuing a future Games in 2036 or beyond.  This move was in accordance with the IOC’s new bid process where interested parties discuss possible projects until a mutual decision is made to move forward with a feasible bid.

There are several national Olympic committees known to be interested in hosting a future Summer Games including India, Germany, South Korea, Qatar, Indonesia, Turkey, United Kingdom and previously Russia before international sanctions excluded that nation from the process.

There is no set timetable for the election of the next Summer Games host, but in the recent past sites have been chosen seven or 11 years before the Games open.

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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