Australia’s 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games bid from Queensland could receive a massive boost Wednesday when it is expected that the project will be recommended as the ‘preferred candidate’ by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Future Host Summer Commission.
According to a report published Tuesday by respected insidethegames website, the commission chaired by Kristin Kloster Aasen of Norway has been most impressed by Australia’s bid from among a number of projects that have entered the dialogue stage with the IOC over the past year. The recommendation is expected to be made to the IOC Executive Board during its meeting Wednesday.
Should the Executive Board vote to undertake the recommendation, the Queensland bid will be entered into a targeted dialogue phase and final negotiations with the potential host will move forward with the intent to have the bid elected by an IOC Session in the near future. The Session will meet virtually next month, and again ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Games set to open in July – but it is more likely that a final vote would take place at a later date due to the ongoing pandemic.
This will be the first mainstream Olympic Games where the host is elected under the new IOC process introduced in 2019 that drops formal timelines and eliminates member voting from among a list of final candidates. Last year Gangwon Province in South Korea was awarded the 2024 Winter Youth Olympics under the new Future Host Commission process.
Depending on when the IOC Session rubber-stamping takes place, this could be one of the earliest Games ever awarded with the Opening Ceremonies still over 11 years away. In 2017 Los Angeles was awarded the 2028 Summer Games with just under 11 years lead time when the U.S. city was given the hosting rights as part of a double-allocation with Paris 2024.
The fast-tracking of the Australian bid will be seen as a major snub to emerging rivals also targeting 2032 including Budapest in Hungary, Jakarta in Indonesia, Doha in Qatar, a regional project in Germany, the Netherlands, a joint Unified Korean bid from Seoul and Pyongyang, a joint bid from Chengdu and Chongqing in China, and Istanbul in Turkey.
Queensland’s bid, centered in capital Brisbane, has been the perceived front runner since it formed a committee that met with IOC Executives in late 2019. The project was positioned to leverage existing venues and act as a catalyst for the development of much needed transportation infrastructure in the region.
The project was paused by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in the middle of last year to place more focus on fighting the pandemic, but then restarted and repositioned in December as a vehicle for economic recovery across the state.
The unexpected move to quickly elect a 2032 host is further unusual as it could come before the IOC elects a Winter Games host for the earlier 2030 Games. That race is less popular with only bids from Sapporo in Japan, Barcelona in Spain, Salt Lake City in the United States and Vancouver in Canada known to have expressed interest in hosting.
More to come as this story develops.
A senior producer and award-winning journalist 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.