Brisbane has been awarded the 2032 Summer Olympics by the IOC


TOKYO — As the Summer Olympics got off to an unstable start Wednesday, the International Olympic Committee took a big step to crystallize its long-term future by voting to officially select Brisbane, Australia, as the host of the 2032 Summer Games.

Australia is now poised to become a three-time Olympic host. It had previously held the Games in Melbourne in 1956 and Sydney in 2000.

The IOC has now determined the next three Summer Games: the 2024 Olympics will be held in Paris, and the 2028 Games will be held in Los Angeles.

Brisbane became the first city to win a summer tender as part of a new selection process overhauled in 2019 to deter the organization from pitting cities against each other in costly bidding wars.

The old bidding process had become increasingly untenable. Candidates often withdrew from contention after encountering local opposition. Corruption was a persistent problem.

“This revolution in the procurement process is an important part of our good governance reforms,” said IOC president Thomas Bach in an interview before the Games. “With this new process, it’s much less prone to all this kind of lobbying and corruption that we’ve seen openly in the past.”

Candidates who survived the old process were often flawed.

For example, for the 2022 Winter Games, candidate cities from Germany, Norway, Sweden, Poland and Switzerland, among others, have canceled their bids due to a lack of support in their home countries. The last two offers came from Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan, two places known for their human rights issues. Beijing won the vote, and the IOC has since been flooded with criticism from human rights activists.

As part of the new process established two years ago, the IOC created two panels to examine potential cities and make recommendations to the organization’s board of directors.

Brisbane’s final selection, then, had been almost certain since February, when the committee announced the city as the “preferred partner”, thus sparking discussions about the final details. Wednesday’s vote by IOC members was largely seen as a formality.

Despite its supposed benefits, the IOC’s new approach has raised some concerns. By choosing a host city on committees behind closed doors, the organization became open to questions about conflicts of interest and lack of transparency in the process.

For example, the current president of the Australian Olympic Committee, John Coates, is also an IOC vice-president and a close ally of Bach. The IOC insisted that Coates and anyone else who might have a conflict of interest were not involved in the recommendation process.

Cities in Germany, Qatar and Hungary, among others, also submitted bids for 2032. As part of the new process, these cities may be in talks with the IOC about potentially hosting an Olympics in the future.

Tarik Panja contributing reporting.


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