Top sport and government officials in the UK are backing plans for a London 2036 Olympic Games bid, local reports revealed Monday – or as early as 2032.
UK Sport, the government agency that oversees investment in the Olympic and Paralympic Games has unveiled early plans to bring the Games back to London as a long term vision in order to achieve the shorter term goal of boosting Britain’s success on the medal tables in 2020 and 2024.
Britain placed second at the Rio 2016 Games, behind only the United States. UK Sport suggests an investment of £1 billion (USD $1.33 billion) per four year Olympic cycle after 2020 would propel Britain’s medal haul to top spot. Core funding ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Games is just over half that amount.
It is thought that an eye on hosting a future Games would provide further motivation for the needed investment. There has been no indication that the government is willing to boost funding to the necessary level.
UK Sport Chief Liz Nicholl told Standard Sport “the dream scenario would be an incredibly long-term investment in the potential for us to be topping the Olympic medal table.”
“There’s no reason why, if this nation wanted to be the number one nation in the Olympic table, we couldn’t be. I really think we could if we have the right resources.
“Hosting the Olympics would give extra longer-term focus in this bid to be the best in the world.
“It adds significant momentum and potential to that. It becomes more likely to happen.”
London hosted the Games in 2012 at a cost of £9 billion, but could leverage many of the those legacy facilities to prepare for a future Games at a lower cost. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has implemented Olympic Agenda 2020 that emphasizes the need for sustainability and the reuse of existing infrastructure and venues.
“We’ve got some great facilities and it would be great to see it done again. It’s early days but there’s no reason why we can’t bid,” Nicholl added.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan supports the proposal, according to his spokesperson who said “if there was the possibility of a London bid in that period of time, it would be a very exciting prospect that we’d be behind.”
The British Olympic Association (BOA) is required to vet and nominate any potential bids for the Olympics before they can move forward, and the organization has yet to weigh-in on UK Sport’s plans.
The next Games that will be open for bidding will take place in 2032. Paris and Los Angeles were awarded the 2024 and 2028 editions in 2017 as part of an unusual double-allocation.
The bid process for 2032 won’t likely get underway until 2023 with a final selection of host city in 2025.
Already several countries have expressed interest in hosting in 2032 including Australia, China, Indonesia, Germany and Russia. North and South Korea are preparing a joint bid for those Games.
The 2036 host city is scheduled to be chosen in 2029.
Nicholl said “It’s early days but there’s no reason why we can’t bid. I would say if you look at where the Games have been held over recent cycles and if you were looking at where a European location would best next fit, it would be great if it was 2032, but I would have thought 2036 is more likely.”
It would be a record-setting fourth Olympics for the capital after also hosting in 1908, 1948, and 2012.
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.