2032 Olympics

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Australia to bid for 2032 Olympics

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BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Australia’s Queensland state will bid to host to the 2032 Olympics and Paralympics, state premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told reporters Monday.

Palaszczuk said her cabinet had given its approval to advancing a bid and Australia prime minister Scott Morrison said his government was on board. Federal opposition leader Anthony Albanese said his Labour party also backs the bid.

Australia hosted the Olympics twice before in Melbourne in 1956 and Sydney in 2000. Queensland’s capital is Brisbane.

“Cabinet has this morning given the go-ahead to moving to the next level,” Palaszczuk said.

She said Queensland had a potential advantage over other bidders because 80 percent of the venues were already in place. The Gabba ground, famous as an international cricket venue, could host the Opening Ceremony of the Games, which take place from July 23 to Aug. 8.

“That means we do not need to build huge stadiums we will not need into the future,” Palaszczuk said.

“In terms of the Opening Ceremony, we have not discounted the use of the Gabba. We believe we could put on quite a show at the Gabba.”

Estimates released in May put the cost of hosting the games at $3.6 billion. But financial consultants KPMG estimated the Games could return $4.9 billion in benefits to Queensland.

Olympic cost estimates are notoriously low and usually soar three or four times over estimates. Economic benefits are also unclear and often small, if they exist at all.

The Australian Olympic Committee welcomed the announcement Monday.

“We know the business community recognizes the economic benefits that will flow, but it is vitally important that the community is kept fully informed,” John Coates, president of the Australian Olympic Committee, said.

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Indonesia officially making play for 2032 Olympics

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JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesia has officially joined bidding to host the 2032 Olympics following its success staging the Asian Games last year, the deputy chairman of its national Olympic committee said Tuesday, highlighting the rising ambitions of the giant but perennially underperforming Southeast Asian nation.

Muddai Madang said letters from President Joko Widodo and the national Olympic committee were delivered to the International Olympic Committee’s president in Lausanne last week by Indonesia’s ambassador to Switzerland.

“Indonesia is ready to host the Olympics,” Madang told The Associated Press. “What we need now is support from all the Indonesian people and the international community.”

Widodo, who is campaigning for re-election, made a surprise announcement of plans to bid for the 2032 games after the Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Palembang co-hosted the 18th Asian Games in August, and the process has gathered momentum. The Olympics have never been held in Southeast Asia.

There were doubts Indonesia could successfully host the Asian Games, an event involving more than 10,000 athletes, but its reasonably smooth execution was praised by the IOC, paving the way for a tilt at even bigger sports events.

India is planning to bid for the 2032 games and North and South Korea have confirmed an intention to launch a joint bid. Australia and Russia have also expressed interest.

Problems with the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, a developing country that like Indonesia suffers endemic corruption, may count against the chances of the Indonesian bid.

By some estimates it cost Brazil about $20 billion to host the Olympics, the kind of bill that is likely to raise objections in Indonesia, despite projections it will be among the world’s 10 biggest economies by 2030 with a population nearing 300 million.

Tokyo is hosting the 2020 Olympics. Paris and Los Angeles have already been selected to host the following two games, in 2024 and 2028, respectively.

Seoul is South Korea’s choice for 2032 Olympics bid

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SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea will push its capital, Seoul, in its bid for the 2032 Summer Olympics. Its Olympic committee announced the decision Monday. Seoul received 34 of 49 votes, edging out the southern port city of Busan.

The move could be another peac gesture toward North Korea, which is expected to be a joint host with South Korea.

The Koreas are expected to officially inform the International Olympic Committee of their intent to co-host the 2032 Olympics on Friday during a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland. While North Korea has yet to formally announce its candidate city for the Olympics, its capital, Pyongyang, is seen as the obvious choice because it’s much more developed than other North Korean cities.

While Monday’s decision by the South Korean Olympic committee needs approval from the country’s sports and finance ministries, that is seen as a formality since the government has described the 2032 Games as a crucial opportunity to stabilize relations with North Korea.

Following a meeting of their leaders in September, the rival Koreas agreed to pursue a joint bid for the 2032 Olympics and also send combined teams to the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games, among other steps to promote reconciliation.

“Seoul will cooperate with the national government so that the 2032 Summer Olympics become something more than a sports festival — an opportunity to change the fate of the Korean Peninsula,” Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon said in a statement.

Currently it would be extremely difficult to host the Olympics in North Korea because of heavy U.S.-led sanctions against the North which are unlikely to be removed until it takes firmer steps toward relinquishing its nuclear weapons. There continue to be doubts whether North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is willing to deal away an arsenal he may see as his strongest guarantee of survival.

There is also declining public support among South Koreans for hosting large sports events due to worries over huge costs.

Following a provocative series of nuclear and missile tests in 2017, Kim met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in three times last year and also held a historic summit with U.S. President Donald Trump in June in Singapore. But the summits failed to produce much substance regarding how and when North Korea would denuclearize, and negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang seemed to be reaching a stalemate before they agreed to a second Trump-Kim meeting on Feb. 27-28 in Hanoi, Vietnam.

For some South Koreans, it’s mind-boggling that the Koreas are even talking about jointly hosting the Olympics. North Korea boycotted the 1986 Asian Games and the 1988 Summer Olympics, both held in Seoul, and relations dramatically worsened ahead of the Seoul Olympics with the North’s bombing of a South Korean passenger jet that killed all 115 aboard in November 1987.

The Koreas have often used sports to facilitate diplomacy. North Korea sent hundreds of people to the Winter Olympics in South Korea’s Pyeongchang in February last year, including Kim’s sister, who conveyed his desire for an inter-Korean summit following tensions over North Korea’s weapons tests.