Public support nears 73% as Seoul’s Mayor sets to announce 2036 Olympic bid

Almost 73 percent in Seoul would support a bid to host the city’s second Olympic Games in 2036 according to a poll released Monday. The indication of overwhelming support comes as Mayor Oh Se-hoon readies to formally announce the launch of a bid next week.

Jamsil Sports MICE Complex master plan and venue design in Seoul (Populous Image)
Jamsil Sports MICE Complex master plan and venue design in Seoul (Populous Image)

According to Maeil Business News Korea the Mayor’s office confirmed he will announce the Seoul 2036 Olympic bid in Lausanne, Switzerland Monday.

Currently hosting the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) General Assembly in the capital this week, Korean officials are taking the opportunity to play up their desire to host another edition of the Games by socializing the idea with key Olympic stakeholders.

Korean president Yoon Seok-yeol hosted important ANOC visitors at a dinner this week where International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach said “I can tell you that the relationship between the IOC and the Korean sports industry and the Korea Sports Council is stronger than ever.”

Korea hosted the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang in 2018 and is preparing to host the Youth Winter Games in Gangwon in 2024. Seoul is planning the regeneration of the site of the 1988 Olympics by creating the modern Jamsil Sports MICE Complex, a project that will be introduced at the ANOC General Assembly dinner Thursday and is positioned to show that the Korean capital remains a destination for international sports.

The same complex would be leveraged as the centerpiece for hosting the 2036 Games, a strategy to keep the costs of staging the event under control. By using university sports properties and private sector investment the Games budget has been estimated at about 5.5 trillion won (USD $3.86 billion) with the largest cost being the Athletes Village which would be subsequently sold.

Seoul had been working alongside North Korean capital Pyongyang to pursue a joint bid to host the 2032 edition of the Olympics, but plans were derailed when promising diplomacy between the two opposing nations ended in 2019. Those Games were later awarded to Brisbane.

“Under the current circumstances, Seoul will host the Olympics alone, but if the circumstances allow, we plan to promote the bid with an open attitude that the two Koreas may be jointly hosted,” Choi Gyeong-ju, director of the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s Tourism and Sports Bureau said according to Korea’s Yonhap News.

The Global Research poll surveyed 1000 people from age 18 to 69 living in Seoul from September 20 to 25. According to the pollster 72.8 percent were in favor of trying to host the 2036 Olympics with a margin of error of +/- 3.1 points and a 95 percent confidence level.

There is no set timeline for the awarding of the next Olympic Games but Bach recently hinted that the host wouldn’t be elected before his final term as president ends in 2025. Several interested parties have joined the IOC’s continuous dialogue process, a mechanism used to vet future hosts. Among those in the mix are Indonesia, India, United Kingdom, Turkey, Egypt, Qatar and Germany.

The next Summer Games will be staged in Paris in 2024 and Los Angeles in 2028.

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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