The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has confirmed Brisbane as its preferred candidate to host the 2032 summer Olympic Games, with the Australian city having been commended for its venue masterplan.

The IOC will now begin more detailed discussions with the Brisbane 2032 committee and the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) about the city’s potential to host the Games.

Brisbane would become the third Australian city to host the summer Olympics after Melbourne in 1956 and Sydney in 2000.

The IOC said it has taken the decision to advance the host selection process given the “uncertainty” the world is facing amid the COVID-19 crisis. The IOC said the “excellent project” presented by Brisbane 2032 and the AOC would bring stability to the Olympic Games and the Olympic Movement.

The IOC’s Future Host Commission will begin a targeted dialogue with Brisbane 2032 and the AOC and will report back to the IOC Executive Board on the outcome of these discussions in due course.

If all requirements are met, the Executive Board can propose the election of the future host of the Games to the IOC Session. If the discussions are not successfully concluded, Brisbane 2032 will rejoin the continuous dialogue. Other interested parties will also continue dialogue with the Future Host Commission in the meantime.

The IOC said it has selected Brisbane 2032 for the targeted dialogue due to its “very advanced” Games concept, which is fully aligned with Olympic Agenda 2020 and uses 80 to 90% of existing or temporary venues. The venue masterplan has already been discussed with international sports federations and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

The IOC also pointed to Brisbane’s high level of experience in hosting major international sports events. Queensland hosted the 2018 Commonwealth Games, with facilities across the state being used.

Other reasons given by the IOC include the favourable climate conditions for athletes in July and August and the alignment of the proposed Games with Southeast Queensland’s long-term strategy to improve local transport infrastructure, absorb demographic change and promote economic growth.

IOC president Thomas Bach said: “According to the clear report of the Future Host Commission, the Brisbane 2032 project is fully aligned with Olympic Agenda 2020 and the new recommendations of Olympic Agenda 2020+5. It proposes sustainable Games in line with the region’s long-term strategy and using primarily existing and temporary venues.

“The commitment of Australia and Oceania to Olympic sports has grown remarkably since the fantastic Olympic Games Sydney 2000. This is why we see such strong public support. We decided to seize an opportunity to take to the next stage our discussions about returning 32 years later. In this way, we are also acknowledging the strength of the Australian team and other athletes from across the continent of Oceania at the Olympic Games over the past decades.”

A number of other cities had expressed an interest in hosting the 2032 Olympics, including Doha in Qatar and the Hungarian capital of Budapest. Other bids were being considered from China, Germany, India, Indonesia and Russia.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the existing venue infrastructure in Brisbane and surrounding cities proved to be a “gamechanger” for the IOC, which is looking to cut costs of future Games.

Palaszczuk said: “We don’t have to build huge stadiums that are not going to be used in the future, and this gives hope and opportunity as we got through our economic recovery and plan for the future.”

Palaszczuk added that the construction of one “new big venue” is an option but said the existing 25,000-seat Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast could also be used to host the opening ceremony and other events. Carrara Stadium served as the main venue during the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Other existing venues in Brisbane include The Gabba (pictured), which has a capacity of 42,000 and is mainly used for cricket matches, and the 52,500-seat Suncorp Stadium, which hosts rugby union, rugby league and football matches.

Tokyo is set to host its postponed Olympics this summer, with Paris and Los Angeles to stage the event in 2024 and 2028, respectively.

Image: Rae Allen/CC BY 2.0/Edited for size