For what is routinely described as a poisoned chalice, hosting the Olympic games attracts a lot of attention and interest from nations and cities around the globe.
We’re at the start of the 2032 Summer Olympics and Paraplegic Games bidding process but already some fascinating bids are being lined up.
With politics and sport uncomfortable bedfellows, this may yet be the most political of any bidding process.
Let’s take a look at the declarations of interest already made.
Joint Bid: North Korea / South Korea
If the bid comes to fruition – and there is plenty of goodwill and intentions behind it on both sides – it is almost impossible to think the International Olympic Committee will award it to any other bidder.
Indeed, if the bid is successfully submitted, the question of other bidding cities is whether they bother with their own bids or not? The USA, with its vested interest in a peace accord between the two Koreas, will use any leverage they have to get others to drop out.
There are several uncomfortable provisos that go along with this bid. The first is there is a long way between the 2025 decision date and the games themselves. In this case, the slightest thing could derail the construction programme needed.
The second is whether the location of the games will overshadow everything else about the games. Athletic feats will pass largely unnoticed as media attention is drawn to the political circus outside.
When push comes to shove, the IOC will find this too good an opportunity to pass up and no doubt christen them the ‘Peace Games’ if it happens.
Star Sports has the joint Korean bid at 4/1 to succeed even this far ahead of the games.
A feasibility study is already underway with the Australian Olympic Committee schmoozing their way through the IOC’s great and good to push the claim.
Like Shanghai’s bid, it may suffer from the country hosting an Olympics this century already, particularly in the face on new opportunities to share the games around in places such as India and Indonesia.
In Brisbane’s favour is the fact that it will take place during Australia’s winter making temperatures cooler than other locations. Bookmakers down under are keen on the bid, making it favourite to win the process at 3/1.
China may be willing to sacrifice its own bid if North and South Korea get their act together and keep it that way. However, Shanghai, a modern international city is also preparing a bid.
Given the success of the Beijing games in 2008, there’s no surprise that China is eager to host another Olympics. However, with Nanjing also host the Winter Olympics in the next decade, it’s likely that Shanghai’s bid will fall at the first hurdle if it gets that far.
Germany is preparing a 13-city bid hosted in North Rhine-Westphalia. Locations include Dusseldorf, Dortmund, Cologne and in no way an attempt to sway the Paralympic vote, Bonn, base city of the International Paralympic Committee.
Infrastructure concerns elsewhere aren’t as much of an issue in Germany which is used to hosting high-profile, multi-city sporting events. Even so, this is a step-change for the Olympics which focuses in and around one city usually. I
2032’s legacy to the Olympic movement will be the passing of the single bid city in history amid a surge of partnerships.
Another threat to Shanghai and Brisbane is the emergence of an Indian Olympic bid. It’s a huge television market for the IOC to enter which will sit well with sponsors.
That India has never hosted major games such as the Olympics or FIFA World Cup will surely count in its favour as well.
India is also applying to host the 2030 Asian Games so considerable infrastructure investment will have taken place before 2032, which given the spiralling cost of hosting Olympics is a sure-fire PR win for both government and IOC.
A dark horse in the race is Jakarta which successfully hosted the 2018 Asian Games. With Malaysia and Singapore also understood to be considering a joint-bid following their unsuccessful 2028 individual bids, there is a strong Asia/Far East flavour to this round of bidding.
Will they take votes off each other in the opening rounds and let another bid sneak through?