June 15, 2019
Source: The Australian
Author: Wayne Smith
15 June, 2019
Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Adelaide and every Australian region outside southeast Queensland has been told they are effectively barred from ever bidding for an Olympics following the International Olympic Committee’s decision to always hold the Summer Games in July-August.
The 1956 Melbourne Games were staged from November 22 to December 8 and the 2000 Sydney Olympics from September 15 to October 1, but this latest ruling means such Games can never happen again.
There is no question the two capitals have the capacity to stage the Games again, and indeed re-hosting the Olympics has become exceptionally trendy.
Next year’s host city, Tokyo, also held the Games of 1964, while Paris and Los Angeles, the cities that will follow in 2024 and 2028, will be holding the Olympics for the third time.
But while Sydney and Melbourne have a sufficiently large population, and the sporting and general infrastructure to stage future Games, they have been disqualified by their winter climate in July-August.
The change was dictated by giant American television network, NBC, which is the major sponsor of the IOC.
Every four years up to 2032 the network will pay $US2.3 billion to the IOC — about 40 per cent of its total revenue — just for the domestic US right.
In the past, it has flexed its muscles by ensuring that prime television events such as the swimming finals were held in US-friendly timeslots — even though it meant swimmers weren’t getting to bed until after 2am in Rio de Janeiro. But it is now dictating when the Games themselves can be staged.
The American summer holidays can range from the end of May to early September, depending on the state or region, but July-August is particularly preferred by NBC because it doesn’t clash with any other major US sporting events.
Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates has spread the word around the major Olympic sports and the various Australian capitals of what the IOC decision will mean.
But his message did not strike home until he included the warning in a speech to a tourism lunch in Brisbane on Thursday.
“On the basis that southeast Queensland is the only significant region, and Queensland the only state in Australia with all three of the requisite climate, population and sporting infrastructure to host a Summer Games in July-August, the AOC gave its in-principle support for a Games in SEQ and for a feasibility study into hosting them,” Mr Coates told The Courier-Mail’s Future Tourism Business lunch.
James Hulme, a director of the Committee for Sydney, told The Weekend Australian that Sydney was perfectly capable of staging a July-August Olympics.
“Climate-wise, it would still be possible to hold the Games in July and August in Sydney,” Mr Hulme said. “The weather is still pretty temperate even though it’s in the middle of winter.
“If you compare to the Cricket World Cup that’s happening at the moment in England and Wales, there are still some pretty chilly temperatures there.
“In Sydney in winter, we still hold events like the Bledisloe Cup. And yeah, rugby is an Olympic sport.
“Temperature can still be late teens, early 20s, which is probably ideal for athletics.
“If you were to take into account the views of athletes and spectators, they probably don’t want to compete or watch the Olympics in really sapping heat.
“In terms of infrastructure, Sydney stands out among Australian cities (for) holding major events. We obviously are investing a lot in terms of stadiums and transport infrastructure.
“To hold an Olympics now, you need to have really high-quality public transport and Sydney is leading the way in terms of that.”
The only southern hemisphere city to hold an Olympic Games in the July-August timeslot was Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Those Games ran from August 5 to 21.