TOKYO (AP) – Brisbane was chosen on Wednesday to host the 2032 Olympics, the inevitable winner of an IOC-run city race to avoid rival bids.
The Games return to Australia 32 years after the popular Sydney Olympics in 2000. Melbourne hosted in 1956.
“We know what it takes to host a successful Games in Australia,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told members of the International Olympic Committee in an 11-minute live video link from his office.
When the award was later confirmed, with Brisbane winning the vote 72-5, Morrison lifted both arms in the air and gave up two thumbs up.
The victory led to a fireworks display in Brisbane that was sent to IOC members at their five-star hotel in Tokyo.
Brisbane is following 2028 host Los Angeles to get 11 years to prepare to host the Games. Paris will host in 2024.
The 2032 agreement appeared to be finalized months before the formal decision at the IOC meeting, which was held ahead of Friday’s opening ceremony of the Tokyo Games.
The IOC granted Brisbane exclusive bargaining rights in February. This decision left Olympic officials in Qatar, Hungary and Germany blindfolded with their own set bidding plans.
Although the result was expected, a high-level Australian delegation went to Tokyo in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic to present speeches, films and promises on stage.
The city of Brisbane sent Mayor Adrian Schrinner, the state of Queensland sent Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk and the Australian Federal Government sent Sports Minister Richard Colbeck to seek out the Olympic voters.
They were joined by longtime Australian Olympic official John Coates, now an IOC vice-president who shaped the rapid selection process two years ago that now rewarded his Brisbane bid.
The first-time format was designed to reduce campaign costs, give the IOC more control over discreet handling of preferred candidates, and eliminate the risk of vote-buying.
The project was described by the IOC as “a passion-driven, athlete-centered offering from a sports-loving nation.” Events will be held across Queensland, including in the Gold Coast, which hosted the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Brisbane’s famous cricket stadium, known as Gabba, is being upgraded and may host the sport at the Games. Cricket was once played at the Olympic Games at the Paris Games in 1900.
The next three Summer Games hosts – starting with Paris in 2024 – are now secured in wealthy and traditional Olympic nations without any of the trio facing a contested vote.
The IOC and its practical president, Thomas Bach, have torn up the template for traditional bidding campaigns and hosted votes to lock down favorite cities with the least risk.
Paris and LA competed in 2024 until Bach and Coates monitored including the 2028 rights at an unprecedented double price four years ago.
The future hosts offer stability for the IOC, which was stung by the two previous Summer Games competitions, which were tainted by accusations of vote-buying when several cities were on the ballot.
The 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and the postponed Olympics in Tokyo in 2020 are still under investigation by French prosecutors. They have implicated officials who then lost their place in the IOC family as active or honorary members.
A low-risk future beckons to the IOC after the often turbulent Olympics in Tokyo and the Winter Games in Beijing in 2022 in February, which will throw control of China’s human rights record.
Key partners are also secured through 2032. The IOC’s signature broadcast agreement with NBC and top sponsors Coca-Cola, Visa and Omega is bound for the coming decade.
When only major cities hosted the 2008 Beijing Summer Games through Los Angeles, Brisbane positioned itself as a new kind of project.
“We want to show the world that medium-sized cities and regions can host the Games without financial hardship or missed deadlines,” Palaszczuk told voters.
Brisbane said it already has 84% of stadiums and venues in place to meet the IOC’s modern demands to avoid excessive spending and potential white-elephant projects.
A new swimming arena is planned and billions of dollars will be spent on transportation projects – not because of the Olympics, but in time for them, Brisbane officials said.
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