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Bach enthusiastic for Brisbane and rules out joint city bid

30 April 2015

2028 BID: IOC President Thomas Bach has ruled out a joint bid from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane for the 2028 Olympic Games but remains enthusiastic for a Brisbane bid that would encompass the surrounding cities and region of south-east Queensland.

At the IOC session in Monaco in December where the Agenda 2020 recommendations were adopted, the IOC members agreed the need to preserve the concept of the Athletes’ Village and all the athletes of the world being in the one place.

Under the new IOC bidding rules, regional venues that improve sustainability but don’t detract from an athlete-centred Games are encouraged.

Bach confirmed this when he met to discuss a potential bid from south-east Queensland.

The Mayors of south-east Queensland were represented today by Mayor of the Sunshine Coast Mark Jamieson and Lord Mayor of Brisbane Graham Quirk,

AOC President John Coates confirmed what was discussed at the meeting.

“We talked about the feasibility of a regional bid that is within 100 kilometres radius around Brisbane. It was clarified (by the IOC) that really there will be one Village and there’ll be no breaking from that as it is critical for the IOC.

“Of course we know that Brisbane and south-east Queensland is the only region at that time of year which is required by the IOC, July/August, that can host a Games with the weather conditions.

“As for having a bid that covers other cities that’s totally ruled out by the President (Bach). You can go to other venues for reasons of sustainability for preliminary competitions but really we want one Olympic Village for the whole of the Games for all of the 10,500 athletes and 205 nations - totally ruled out a combined bid from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

“Importantly there was a great enthusiasm and support from our President (Bach) to the way they’re approaching this and doing a feasibility study and understanding an operational budget, understanding a budget for the new venues that are required and quite separately the needs of the city in terms of infrastructure.”

Sunshine Coast Mayor Jamieson felt the meeting was very productive and he welcomed the support and information from the IOC delegation.

“It was a very fulfilling and fruitful meeting with the President, John Coates and the Lord Mayor of Brisbane,” Jamieson said.

“We canvassed a number of key issues and the IOC were very forthcoming with information.”

Jamieson confirmed that the IOC were adamant about the need for a central athletes’ village and that legacy and sustainability needed to be central to any potential bid.

“President Bach spoke of the need for athletes’ needs to be central to a bid and for a Games that is healthy and prosperous for residents long-term. He was eager to understand the geography of the region and he was pleased when told of the proximity of the Sunshine Coast to the north (of Brisbane), Gold Coast to the south, Toowoomba to the west and the regions in between,” Jamieson said.

Jamieson and Quirk maximised the opportunity to educate the IOC on the south-east Queensland region. 

“We advised that south-east Queensland has a rapidly growing population and increased contribution to Australia’s GDP. The IOC were impressed to hear that our region was the most popular for athletes during pre-Games training for Sydney 2000 and that by 2028 the region will have four well established international airports.”

Mayor Jamieson was keen to learn from the feasibility study how a bid could bring forward infrastructure across roads, rail, light rail and sporting facilities.

He felt Triathlon was the most logical sport for his region with the annual success of the Mooloolaba and Noosa international events. And that he hoped that other competitions could lead to construction of a major stadium for the Sunshine Coast.

All Mayors will be updated at a meeting on Friday and work will continue on a feasibility study for a potential bid with the support and expertise of the Australian Olympic Committee.

“We need to go away and work on our feasibility study and ensure that all the numbers add up and the region will benefit, how we hope it can.”

Coates has advised that a feasibility study should be concluded by the end of 2016, and if positive then state and federal government support can be lobbied in 2017. The host city for 2024 will be decided in 2017 and cities who intend to bid for 2028 need to nominate in 2019.

Bach reaffirmed, as he did to media in Sydney on Wednesday, that he didn’t think 28 years was too soon to the Sydney Olympics and the success of Sydney would be beneficial in another Australian bid.

Bach met with the Prime Minister and Federal Sport Minister in Canberra on Wednesday morning before travelling to Sydney for a tour and presentations at Sydney Olympic Park. On Wednesday evening he was awarded the AOC Order of Merit and on Thursday morning he did an exclusive interview with Bruce McAvaney for Seven's planned Olympic build-up programming.

Bach and Coates flew Thursday afternoon to Fiji ahead of the Oceania National Olympic Committee meetings. Bach will then travel to Vanuatu where the IOC is helping the small nation ravaged by a recent cycylone. He will also travel to New Zealand before heading back to Europe.

Andrew Reid

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