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  • Top Story Replay: Queensland Takes Charge of 2032 Olympic Race


    09/14/19

    Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk with Thomas Bach at Olympic House (IOC Media)
    (ATR) After the tour de force in Lausanne this week by proponents of a 2032 Olympics and Paralympics in southeastern Queensland, any other potential bidders will need to move quickly to have any hope of being considered.

    A team of Australian government leaders at state and federal levels spent a full day at IOC headquarters in Lausanne. There were meetings with IOC staff and lunch with the IOC president who led a tour of the new headquarters. The tour and meeting is the first for an Olympic bid team for the new headquarters which opened in June.

    During a press conference at the end of the IOC visit, President Thomas Bach declared the plans from Queensland the most advanced he’s ever seen at this stage of a bid. And he signaled that the IOC may be well-suited to choose the 2032 host city well before 2025, the customary schedule.

    For other locales considering a bid for 2032, Bach’s comments should be considered as a warning that they will need to step up their game or risk irrelevance.

    None of the other possibilities is known to have developed plans to the extent of Queensland, which has been working on a bid for nearly two years. The Australian Olympic Committee declared more than a year ago that the next summer bid from Australia would come from Queensland.

    Jakarta, Shanghai, a city in India and a joint bid from North and South Korea are among the Asian locales mentioned for 2032. A bid from the Ruhr region of Germany and St. Petersburg in Russia are two European possibilities.
    The Indonesia team at 2018 Asian Games opening ceremony in Jakarta. (ATR)

    Jakarta is interested based on the experience of the 2018 Asian Games. Erick Thohir, the new IOC member in Indonesia, led the organizing committee.

    Shanghai would follow by only 10 years the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing, perhaps delaying the appetite of the IOC to choose another Chinese host so soon. There’s also little information about the plan for a Shanghai Olympics.

    India still faces credibility issues about whether it has the skills to handle a multi-sports event the size of an Olympics.

    A joint Korean bid will depend on political developments that may take too long to come to fruition for a bid, especially given the advanced state of the Australian bid.

    In Europe, a bid from the Ruhr in Germany doesn’t appear to have support yet from the government or German NOC, the DOSB. St. Petersburg has been mentioned regularly as the next candidate from Russia for a summer Games. But for now, the rebuilding of Russia’s sporting image following the massive doping scandal from Sochi 2014 is still incomplete.

    And while Asia and Europe both might be considered for the 2032 Olympics on the basis of continental rotation, Australia would seem to be at the head of the line with 32 years between Olympics Down Under.
    Brisbane lord mayor Adrian Schrinner with Bach and John Coates in May (Getty Images)

    Australian IOC member John Coates, who helped lead the 2000 Games in Sydney, has been integrally involved in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics as chair of the IOC Coordination Commission. He has also been instrumental in drafting changes to the Olympic bid process that will go into force with the 2032 host city selection. None of the other potential 2032 bidders have such an insider to help shape their plans and promote them at the IOC.

    Bach appeared to be particularly impressed with the group of political leaders he met with this week from Australia, which included a representative from the opposition party in the federal government. That kind of familiarity does not yet exist between the IOC leader and any of the other possible bidders, which have yet to even organize that kind of governmental backing.

    Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is cognizant of the need to balance a drive for the Olympics with daily realities. She cut short her visit to Europe to return to the state to deal with the crisis of wildfires raging in Queensland. But while she returned to Australia, other members of the 2032 team moved on to Paris. They are meeting with leaders of the 2024 Olympics as part of the homework and plans are in the works to do the same with Los Angeles, host of the 2028 Games.

    So far in the race for 2032, it’s all Queensland.

    Written by Ed Hula

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