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All eyes on the Olympics present, past and future

All eyes on the Olympics present, past and future

By DEAR MOLLY

And the winner is…Brisbane.

More than 20 years after Australia hosted the iconic Sydney Olympics, we’re gearing up for another event, with Brisbane now confirmed as the host of the Summer Games 2032.

It’s set to be a milestone moment for the Queensland capital but comes as Tokyo forges ahead with an Olympics that’s far from the norm, overshadowed by the era of Covid.

So, let’s take a look at how the Olympics have evolved and what might be in store for Brisbane in the period ahead.

In the shadow of Sydney

It was September 1993 when the immortal words ‘and the winner is Sydney…’ were etched upon our collective memories courtesy of International Olympics Committee president, Juan Antonio Samaranch.

For those of us old enough to remember, it was one of those major turning points, shepherding a new era for the Harbour City that would see its beauty broadcast to the world at the dawn of a new millennium.

Of course, there were the naysayers, the rhetoric of blown budgets, building delays and debate over whether the city of Sydney would be ready.

But ultimately, Australia staged an even that the nation was proud of, hosting our second ever Olympics after previously staging the games in Melbourne in 1956.

Trouble in Tokyo

As we speak, the 2020 Olympics are currently under way in Tokyo after being pushed back last year due to a global pandemic that continues to wreak havoc on lives and economies globally.

Arguably, it’s been the strangest Olympics yet with all spectators banned and mask mandates in place.

It comes after Japan has reportedly spent more than $20 billion on the games and despite the fact a recent poll indicated more than 80 per cent of the Japanese population wanted the games cancelled or further postponed.

Meanwhile, the early days have been marred by increasing Covid cases.

According to the BBC, it appears the contract between Tokyo and the IOC only allows the Olympic Committee to cancel the event, and that’s something they were reluctant to do.

“IOC president Thomas Bach said the thought of rescheduling the competition ‘caused sleepless nights’. He insisted the Games must go ahead ‘to give hope’ for the future,” the BBC notes.

A boom for Brisbane?

The news that Brisbane had been selected for the 2032 games was met with elation, but it was a far more subdued reaction than back in ’93.

While many welcome the games as the chance to showcase Brisvegas to the world, and improve some of the city’s lagging infrastructure along the way, hosting the event comes with a significant financial cost.

Tokyo was initially forecast to cost $7.4 billion, the budget was $15.4 billion but the actual price tag has far exceeded that.

This makes Tokyo the most expensive games on record, topping even the London Olympics which reportedly blew out to $14.8 billion.

But aside from the price tag, there are also further hurdles to jump in the next 11 years, with the end to a pandemic not yet in sight.

Here’s hoping like Sydney in 2000, Brisbane in 2032 shepherds in a new era of optimism and hope. 

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