Even before the curtains have officially closed on the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) that have been underway in Buenos Aires this month – new Olympic aspirations by Argentina are being discussed at the highest levels.
When asked by a local journalist at the YOG closing press conference Thursday if the International Olympic Committee (IOC) would welcome an application from the city to host the Games in 2032, IOC President Thomas Bach answered simply, and without hesitation, “yes.”
He added “After this outstanding success of these Youth Olympic Games, I could not see anybody in the IOC having any doubt about the capability of Argentina and Buenos Aires to organize an excellent Olympic Games.”
President of Buenos Aires 2018 elaborated, adding “We have to digest and see what lessons are learned from these Games but we have to start thinking if Argentinians want this, if there is consensus, and if we have the economic resources.”
“If we agree that this is a good step for Argentina then we would have to sit down, organize, take a look at the budget and make decisions.
“I’m very honoured to see that the IOC sees Buenos Aires as a candidate but we are the ones who have to make this decision.”
Rumours about a possible bid surfaced at the outset of the YOG when Argentine President Mauricio Macri said during an Olympism in Action event “Obviously once this wonderful event is finished we will have the chance to start thinking about trying to organize Olympic Games.”
The Olympics have only been staged in South America once – Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
During Thursday’s press conference, it was also suggested that Argentina’s southernmost city Ushuaia could be suitable for a Winter Youth Olympics as early as 2024.
Bach said “We were very impressed with the facilities in Ushuaia and in the mountains, seeing the many teams preparing for the winter sport season and all very happy with the conditions both on and off the ski piste.”
He added “Ushuaia may study of hosting the Youth Winter Olympic Games but there is still some way to go.”
Bach visited the area when he participated in the YOG torch relay earlier this month.
Buenos Aires has bid unsuccessfully for four previous Olympic Games, most recently in 2004 when the city came fourth. The Capital came closest to winning the 1956 when it placed second to Melbourne. Other bids came in 1936 and 1968.
The 2032 Games became the next available Summer Games to host after the IOC unexpectedly awarded the 2028 Games to Los Angeles last year, a record-breaking 11 years ahead of the opening ceremony and at the same time Paris was awarded the 2024 Games.
Indonesia has submitted a letter of interest to bid for the 2032 Games, after the nation’s president President Joko Widodo made the commitment last month at the opening of the Jakarta-Palembang 2018 Asian Games.
Shanghai’s deputy director Luo Wenhua announced that the Chinese city could consider a 2032 bid after closely watching the progress of the upcoming Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024 Games, while it sets a course to become a “globally famous” sport city.
Other interest in bidding for the 2032 Games has come from Queensland in Australia, India, Germany, Russia and Egypt. The IOC indicated earlier this year that it has had discussions with at least one interested city and that the “discussion phase” of the cycle has begun.
The IOC is scheduled to elect the 2032 host city in 2025.