London has opened discussions with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) with the goal of hosting a record fourth Olympic Games in 2036 or 2040.
Mayor of the British capital, Sadiq Khan, made the revelation Monday in New York City while on a five day trip to boost post-pandemic tourism in his city.
“We’re working on the preliminary plans, we’re talking to the IOC, so watch this space,” Khan told ITV News while promoting a long-term deal with Major League Baseball to host matches and events in London starting in 2023.
London last hosted the 2012 Olympics when the city became the first to stage three editions of the world’s largest international multi-sport event. The capital previously hosted in 1908 and 1948. Both Paris and Los Angeles are already scheduled to stage their third editions in 2024 and 2028, respectively.
“We’re keen to make sure we have sports coming to London whether it’s baseball, American football, we’ve got the FA Cup final this Saturday, Wimbledon’s back, whether it’s indeed the Olympics coming back as well,” the Mayor said.
“We’ve got the facilities in London so the cost wouldn’t be humongous and we could have the greenest Olympics ever.”
While London has a legacy of venues from the Games that were staged a decade ago, many of them have been scaled back or repurposed, and additional facilities may be required to host events that have since been added to the Olympic program. In order to reduce the costs of hosting and to promote sustainability, the IOC has been encouraging regional Games concepts that use venues where they exist, and can offer a broader legacy. The concept of an Olympic Park that was featured at London 2012 may not be possible or desirable for 2036 and beyond.
The IOC has remained tight-lipped about what bids are involved in its “continuous dialogue” phase of the future host selection process which allows interested parties to discuss mutual hosting opportunities in secrecy. Accordingly, they offered no comment on whether London officials have entered such discussions.
Likewise, the British Olympic Association (BOA) which would be responsible for initiating any talks with the IOC is not aware of any discussions surrounding a potential London bid.
Last year the IOC startled hopeful bidders when Brisbane was unexpectedly announced as its preferred candidate, setting up the election of Australia’s third Olympic Games.
There are several national Olympic committees known to be interested in hosting a future Summer Games including India, Germany, South Korea, Qatar, Indonesia, Turkey, Hungary and previously Russia before international sanctions excluded that nation from the process.