A group hoping to bring the 2032 Olympics to Brisbane, Australia, has been chosen by the IOC to start “a targeted dialogue” phase.
The IOC Executive Board approved a recommendation from an IOC Future Host Commission to begin the talks, also including the Australian Olympic Committee, as part of the new host city selection process.
“I would like to emphasize that this recommendation and this decision is not a decision against anybody,” IOC President Thomas Bach said. “This is just a decision in favor of one interested party at this moment in time.”
Based on the discussions, the executive board has the ability to propose the election of the 2032 Olympic host at a to-be-determined future IOC session. The future host commission will also continue talks with other groups interested in bidding for the 2032 Games.
The decision to advance talks with Brisbane, after discussions were also held with other interested parties, was made “given the uncertainty the world is facing at this moment, which is expected to continue even after the Covid-19 health crisis is over” and to bring “stability to the Olympic Games, the athletes, the IOC and the whole Olympic movement,” said IOC member Kristin Kloster Aasen, chair of the future host commission.
“Our recommendation was to seize the opportunity which presented itself, also given the economic outlook and the financial outlook globally for the future and many other factors,” she said. “This is not something that I foresee is going to take years, but I cannot pre-empt the process.”
Traditionally, Olympic hosts have been chosen from a bid process by IOC members vote seven years before the Games. While that is still possible for the 2032 Games, it’s no longer the sole option.
In 2017, after Bach said that traditional process “produces too many losers,” the 2024 Olympics were awarded to Paris and the 2028 Olympics to Los Angeles after a historic agreement among the two cities and IOC leaders.
In 2019, the 2026 Winter Games were awarded to Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, winning an IOC members vote over a Swedish-Latvian bid centered on Stockholm.
Also in 2019, the IOC established future host commissions for the Summer and Winter Games as part of changes “to transform future Olympic Games elections.” The IOC noted a more proactive, flexible, cost-effective approach to prospective hosts and that bids can include multiple cities, regions and countries.
Australia previously hosted the Summer Games in Melbourne in 1956 and Sydney in 2000. Those Olympics were held in the Australian spring and winter in November-December and September-October, respectively.
Brisbane 2032 proposes July 23-Aug. 8, with events also in Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast in the same Australian state of Queensland. As usual, preliminary soccer matches could be spread across the nation, including in Sydney and Melbourne.
One of the reasons that Brisbane is targeted for more discussions is that it has “favorable climate conditions for athletes in July and August, despite the current global challenges caused by climate change,” according to a press release.
Plans for a 2032 bid from Queensland were first announced in December 2019. At the time, state premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said 80 percent of venues were already in place after Gold Coast hosted the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
“That means we do not need to build huge stadiums we will not need into the future,” Palaszczuk said.
Other nations to previously express interest in hosting the 2032 Olympics included Qatar and Indonesia, plus a possible joint North Korea-South Korea bid.
The 2030 Winter Games have yet to be awarded. The U.S. may bid, and if it does, it will be Salt Lake City, the 2002 Winter Games host.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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