Queensland Jumps Back Into 2032 Olympic Bid For Australia With COVID Under Control

A 2032 Olympic Games bid from Queensland in Australia resumed in full force Monday after state Premier Annastacia Palaszcuk and Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) chief John Coates announced that it was time to “reaffirm commitment to these Games.”

IOC President Thomas Bach meets with the Australian Delegation from Queensland on September 10, 2019. (Annastacia Palaszczuk – Premier Queensland, Ted O’Brien – Representing Prime Minister, Mike Jamieson – Council of Mayors) (IOC Photo)

The two met to discuss next steps for an Olympic bid that launched in January but was suspended in May after COVID-19 became a global pandemic.

“We’ve had a really positive discussions about the possibility of future Olympics here in Queensland for 2032,” Palaszcuk said.

“Today was very significant in that we were able to discuss getting our Olympics taskforce, the working group back together in the new year to look at the next stages that we have to go through.

“We will now send a letter to [International Olympic Committee (IOC) President] Thomas Bach asking him for an update about the progress of the Tokyo Olympics.

“It’s very important that we see what happens with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in this post COVID world and hopefully we see positive signs.”

After the meeting Palaszcuk invited Coates to address cabinet in February.

The Premier also announced Monday that Minister of Sport Stirling Hinchliffe will work with the taskforce.

The announcement was timed just ahead of the IOC’s Executive Board meeting that will kick off Monday at its headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.  Coates, who also serves as an IOC Vice President, will be in attendance at the meeting that contains an agenda item to discuss the status of the Future Host Commissions, and discussions with any ongoing bids.

Coates said there are “four or five other cities” in “continuous dialogue” with the IOC, but due to Australia’s interest he will recuse himself from that part of the meeting.  The goal for Queensland, he said, is to enter into a “targeted dialogue” with the IOC where specific dates will be set.

Under new IOC rules, there is no set timeline for the election of a host city, something that had traditionally occurred seven years ahead of the event.  Now, IOC Executives say they will announce a nominee when the timing it right.

Other regions have been discussing bids including Jakarta in Indonesia, Doha in Qatar, a regional project in Germany, a joint Unified Korea bid from Seoul and Pyongyang, and India.

A joint bid from Chengdu and Chongqing in China was proposed last week.

Istanbul in Turkey has also expressed interest, and on Monday Coates mentioned the Netherlands had entered into official dialogue.

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Palaszcuk said the launch of the next stage of the bid is moving forward due to the state’s success in controlling the coronavirus pandemic, with new cases in the low single-digits over the past several days.

“What we’re saying very clearly is that we are going to resume talks – these talks are very important – in the new year.”

“The only reason we can actually resume those talks is because we’ve actually been able to have such a strong health response.

“And I think as you see with our strong health response we virtually became the sporting  capital of Australia during the pandemic.

“Queensland loves its sport, Australia loves its sport, so let’s go to the next stage.”

The IOC has been laser-focused on reorganizing the pandemic-postponed Tokyo 2020 Games now set to start July 23 – and then staging the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing only six months later.  It seems unlikely the 2032 host selection will be fast-tracked with more than 11 years to go, but locking in a strong and willing candidate quickly may be appealing when so much else remains uncertain.

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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