Tokyo, Paris, LA, Brisbane — 2032 Olympics go to Australia
Brisbane: How about this for an Olympic-scale list of world cities: Athens, Beijing, London, Rio, Tokyo, Paris, Los Angeles and, wait for it, Brisbane.
Since the Summer Games were last hosted in Australia, at Sydney in 2000, and when they'll return Down Under in 2032, the Olympics have been held in some of the world's most famous cities.
Brisbane, the capital of Queensland state and Australia's third-largest city, is an outlier. It's aiming to produce an Olympics more like Barcelona in 1992 than London or Beijing.
It's not a so-called top-tier world city but combined with close neighbors and Olympic co-hosts in the southeast corner of Queensland, the region has some of Australia's most iconic beaches on the Gold and Sunshine Coasts. Thousands of people crowded into an Olympic live site on the South Bank, watching on a big screen and looking across the Brisbane River at the downtown area when the International Olympic Committee confirmed Wednesday at a meeting in Tokyo what had long been considered a sure thing: that Brisbane will host the games in 2032.
Fireworks burst over the river and high-rise buildings in the city as people cheered, danced and celebrated the confirmation of southeast Queensland's bid.
The exclusive negotiation rights granted to Brisbane made it almost a foregone conclusion, which only gave people in Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coasts more reason to celebrate.
The Olympic live sites opened early Wednesday when Australia's softball team opened the Olympic competition program in a loss to Japan, two days before the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Games.
The sites will remain open across Australia for the duration of the Tokyo Olympics, which are essentially a made-for-TV event considering no fans are allowed into most competition venues because of COVID-19 restrictions.
Brisbane, pronounced Brisb'n and otherwise known by locals as Brissie or Brisvegas, is at the heart of one of Australia's fastest growing regions.
Harvey Lister, the executive chairman of ASM Global which runs one of Brisbane's major stadiums and is pushing plans for a downtown site to host swimming during the 2032 Games, said Brisbane and southeast are aiming to deliver a games along the lines of the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.
Incredibly proud today, I am proud that we stuck at it," Lister said on Brisbane radio.
Once an Olympic city, always an Olympic city.
The region has hosted the Commonwealth Games twice at Brisbane in 1982 and on the Gold Coast in 2018. Brisbane redeveloped the South Bank to host the World Expo in 1988, and also staged the Goodwill Games in 2001, the G20 Summit in 2014 and matches in the Cricket World Cup, Rugby World Cup and football's Asian Cup tournaments.
The 2032 deal looked done months before the formal decision at the IOC meeting, after Brisbane was given exclusive negotiating rights in February.
Though the result was expected, a high-level Australian delegation including Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner, and federal Sports Minister Richard Colbeck went to Tokyo to woo Olympic voters.
We want to show the world that mid-sized cities and regions can host the games without financial distress or missed deadlines, Palaszczuk told voters. The politicians were joined by longtime Australian Olympic power broker John Coates, now an IOC vice president, who was involved in Sydney's bid and organization of the 2000 Olympics and shaped the fast-track selection process two years ago.