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Asia Minute

Asia Minute: Behind Brisbane’s Long Wait for Olympic Glory

A general view is seen of the stage area during the announcement of the host city for the 2032 Olympic Games in Brisbane, Australia. Brisbane won its bid to host the Games. It would be Australia's third time as host nation to the Olympics.
NPR
A general view is seen of the stage area during the announcement of the host city for the 2032 Olympic Games in Brisbane, Australia. Brisbane won its bid to host the Games. It would be Australia's third time as host nation to the Olympics.

The opening ceremonies for the Olympics take place Friday in Tokyo. While this year’s games have been disrupted by the coronavirus and controversy, the announcement about a future Olympics led to celebrations in Australia.

Local media in Australia point out it’s only a little more than 4,000 days until Brisbane hosts the Summer Olympics in 2032.

You may have heard the announcement, but you might not realize how long Brisbane has been working on this.

Thirty-five years ago, the city made a run at hosting the 1992 Summer Olympics—losing out to Barcelona—which also beat out Paris, the host of the 2024 games.

Sallyanne Atkinson worked on Brisbane’s bid in the 1980s as Lord Mayor.

She’s 78 now and showed up at a local rally for the announcement, saying, “I was going to jump into the river if it was not a yes for Brisbane.”

These days, three different levels of government coordinated on the bid—the city, the state of Queensland, and the federal government—plus the private sector.

The premier of Queensland says the state has more than 80% of the venues already in place.

She also says that they have agreements with the federal government to “do the infrastructure that is already needed for our city, which will complement the Games.”

The International Olympic Committee had already signaled Brisbane as its “preferred choice” back in February, but this formalizes the third Australian city as an Olympic host—following Melbourne in 1956 and Sydney in 2000.

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