Olympics Not Likely To Return To Australia Says Gold Coast 2018 Chief

Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Chair Peter Beattie said Friday that he doesn’t think the Olympic Games can return to Australia unless multiple large cities back a joint bid.

Brisbane Skyline

Brisbane Skyline (Photo: Lachlan Fearnley)

“The Olympics are incredibly expensive — I saw a figure for Tokyo like $90 billion,” Beattie told the Gold Coast Bulletin.

“That’s why (for 2024) Rome pulled out, that’s why Budapest pulled out.

“The Olympics is only going to be the super-rich countries like the United States, it’s also going to be Russia for pride and China for pride.”

But the former Premier of Queensland said a combined bid from Sydney, Melbourne and Gold Coast might be competitive, a proposal that is in line with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Agenda 2020 reforms that allow, in some cases, multi-city projects.

Currently a coalition of smaller cities in Queensland, including Brisbane, are exploring a possible 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games bid and have budgeted millions of dollars to finance a feasibility study.

“The reality is, if Australia’s ever going to bid for the Olympics successfully in the future you’ve got to share it,” he said.

“You use all the facilities from the (Gold Coast) Commonwealth Games, use the Sydney facilities from the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games facilities in Melbourne and you have a three-city bid.

Fireworks over Sydney Harbor Bridge at 2000 Olympic Games

Fireworks over Sydney Harbor Bridge at 2000 Olympic Games

Australia has already hosted two Olympic Games – Melbourne in 1956 and Sydney in 2000.

The IOC is expected to open the bidding process for the 2028 Olympic Games in 2019, but that can change if the IOC award those Games instead in September this year as many familiar with the situation are speculating.

Only Los Angeles and Paris remain in the 2024 Games bid after projects from Hamburg, Rome and Budapest were scrapped after losing various levels of public and government support.  Over recent years the IOC has seen declining interest from cities hoping to host the Games due to the skyrocketing costs and increasing risks.

With two viable and committed bids available to the IOC now, the speculation is that both cities could be awarded the Games – one in 2024 and the other in 2028 – rather than risk the possibility of a weak field of candidates in the next bid cycle.

LA and Paris have denied any interest in hosting in 2028, both bids maintaining that they are focused solely on the 2024 Games.

For now, the window is still open for Australia.

But Beattie doubts the current plans.

“A one-city bid is going to be prohibitive unless a Federal Government underwrites it and I think in these economic times that’s not going to happen for a very long time if ever again.”

He stressed that backing of corporate Australia will be essential to hosting future Games.

Robert Livingstone

About Robert Livingstone


A senior producer, award-winning journalist and author, 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.