Brisbane Games must fit the region, says IOC

By Karolos Grohmann |

Organisers of the Brisbane 2032 Olympics have been praised by the IOC.
Organisers of the Brisbane 2032 Olympics have been praised by the IOC.

The Brisbane 2032 Olympics must fit the city and the region and not the other way round, the International Olympic Committee has said, less than two weeks after plans to construct a new stadium were scrapped.

Speaking after Wednesday’s meeting of the IOC Coordination Commission, chair Kirsty Coventry gave Brisbane a vote of confidence for laying strong foundations for a successful Games in 2032 despite rows over infrastructure.

The existing Lang Park stadium will host the Games’ opening and closing ceremonies after the Queensland government rejected the recommendation to build a $3.4 billion stadium at Victoria Park in inner-Brisbane as the 2032 centrepiece.

Coventry, a former Zimbabwe Olympic swimmer, said: “Brisbane 2032 has made important and measured progress over the past year. 

“The development of their organisational strategy and Games plan gives us great confidence, providing a clear road map to achieve truly impactful Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2032.”

There has been controversy over plans for the Gabba cricket ground as part of the redevelopment of the Woolloongabba suburb.

Queensland Premier Steven Miles was criticised for ignoring an infrastructure review and deciding the stadium would be upgraded rather than torn down and rebuilt.

“For us, the messaging is clear: the Games will need to fit the region,” Coventry said in a media call following a meeting with Brisbane Games organisers in Switzerland.

“They (region) need to decide what’s best for them and everyone who lives in these areas, and the Games will adapt to that.”

She said with the Games still more than eight years away this was the time for any major changes.

“Brisbane will now refine the venue master plan. It will take a bit of time for stakeholders, specifically in different levels of government, to decide what’s best for city, the region and the country. The games will fit into that,” Coventry said.

Kirsty Coventry
Kirsty Coventry – ‘The messaging is clear: the Games will need to fit the region’. (Steven Saphore/AAP PHOTOS)

Lang Park holds 52,500 fans and hosts both rugby codes as well as concerts.

Brisbane was awarded the Olympics in 2021 under the IOC’s New Norm process, a targeted procedure aimed at saving hundreds of millions of dollars for host cities and increasing long-term sustainability.

Around 80 per cent of the venues for the 2032 Games are in place with the main stadium redevelopment and a federal government-funded A$2.5 billion Brisbane Arena – set to host the swimming – the only two major construction projects planned.

“There is no concern at this stage. Not at all,” Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi said when asked whether the IOC now had concerns about more major changes.

“These are decisions to be made by the communities and when you have the support from the ground up this is how you ensure you have no further issues down the road.”