Incumbent London Mayor Sadiq Khan is dangling the prospect of hosting a record fourth Olympic Olympic Games in the capital if constituents re-elect him to his post in Thursday’s election.
“Exploring a bid for the 2036 or 2040 Olympic and Paralympic Games is the ultimate demonstration of my plan to build a brighter future for London after the pandemic,” Khan said Monday, according to the Evening Standard.
“My ambition is for London to host the most sustainable games ever, showcasing the Green New Deal for London with investment in low carbon projects, action to clean up London’s air and showcasing the city’s status as the world’s first national park city to huge amounts of international tourists.”
Khan hopes to use the potential Games to lift all of the UK, “levelling up our cities and regions.”
The Labour Party’s Kahn is widely expected to prevail and remain in City Hall after Thursday’s vote.
Plans are reportedly backed by a business group and Olympic medalists. Strong support will also be required from the national government and is likely to come from current UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson who was a driving force behind the 2012 Games held while he was Mayor of London.
National governing body UK Sport had already set its sights on a 2036 bid in 2019 with the support of the Mayor, according to reports at the time. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has since reformed the bid process allowing for regions to be elected host much earlier than the traditional seven-year ramp-up period, making a 2036 campaign more urgent and relevant at this time.
Brisbane was singled out as the preferred candidate for the preceding 2032 Games earlier this year and it is expected that the Australian city will sign the host contract as early as July.
Under the new IOC bid process London could begin discussions with the designated Future Host Commission immediately and the Games could be awarded whenever the Executive Board believes the timing is right.
Leaving a vast Olympic Park legacy, London last hosted the Games in 2012 making it the first city to stage the Games three times including in 1908 and 1948. Paris will join the three-timers club when the French capital hosts in 2024 and Los Angeles will become the only other city to reach that rank after the American metropolis hosts in 2028.
A fourth Olympics in London would be unprecedented.
Summer Games bids including from Germany, Qatar, India, Indonesia, Hungary and jointly by North and South Korea are technically still in the queue for the 2032 Games until Brisbane officials sign on the dotted line. But those bids could carry over to 2036 campaigns creating fierce competition for a possible London run.
The new IOC site selection process now occurs mostly behind closed doors and the precise selection criteria is not entirely clear causing confusion and criticism from regions hoping to host the Olympics.