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The way Brisbane got the OIympics has come under fire, with a press release announcing the decision before the official vote was taken.
Brisbane was the only legitimate candidate by the end of the 2032 Games process, having become the IOC’s preferred bidder. The official announcement came at 6:30 p.m. (AEST) on Wednesday.
Yet a leaked press release from the organizers of the Tokyo Olympics, more than an hour before the official vote, revealed that Brisbane had already secured the Games; leading to accusations that the pomp and circumstance was just for show.
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Queensland Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk has already come under fire for going to Tokyo, which she says was absolutely necessary for the bid’s success. They, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Brisbane Lord Major Adrian Schrinner and Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates gave a final presentation to IOC members about an hour before the final vote, which ended 72 out of 77 in Brisbane’s favour.
A New York Times reporter spoke to IOC President Thomas Bach about the trial after the leaked press release surfaced.
“Not to pour cold water on the celebrations, but just on the trial – Mr Bach, we were here yesterday and you said this was not a foregone conclusion, this one candidate,” the reporter said.
“But two hours before the vote, we received a Tokyo 2020 embargoed press release congratulating Brisbane on winning this bid… it just gives the air that IOC membership is a kind of gold-plated brotherhood. What’s the point of these people when it comes to a process like this?”
Bach responded: “I’m not aware of this, but you can’t blame the IOC members there for a press release from the organizing committee. I don’t know what happened there, but it has nothing to do with normal procedure .
“You saw a final presentation from Brisbane today and again the questions and a secret ballot. I think this speaks for itself and it has nothing to do with the action (by the Tokyo organizers).”
Palaszczuk was later asked by Australian reporters if she really should be in Tokyo, while many Aussies are locked up and kept at home.
“I’ll let John (Coates) talk about the delegation, but may I say that the state, federal government and council were represented here and you’ve seen our commitment to convince the International Olympic Committee that we’re ready to host the 2032 Olympics,” she said. .
Coates added: “The IOC president had no idea (the leaked press release), so that’s that.
“If it weren’t for Richard (Federal Secretary of State for Sport Richard Colbeck), Adrian and the Prime Minister, and little Johnny Coates had to go up alone, there wouldn’t have been 50 percent of the vote.
“The IOC members want to see the real people who did it. It was really necessary… she (Palaszczuk) had to be here.”
Palaszczuk was grilled again about apparent “double standards” by a reporter after he left closed-off Brisbane for virus-rich Tokyo, where more than 1,000 COVID-19 cases are recorded per day.
“It’s the decision between the IOC and the Japanese government to let the Olympics go ahead. I’m not making that decision, that’s their decision,” she said.
“You’re all here for the Olympics, we’re here to get to the 2032 Olympics for Brisbane, what we did tonight, what a great night of celebration and that’s what we need to focus on.”
Schrinner insisted it would have been ridiculous to attribute “$8 billion in Queensland economic and social benefits to a Skype call. I wouldn’t attribute $17 billion in Australia benefits to a Skype call.”
Brisbane hosts Australia’s third Olympic Games, after Melbourne 1956 and Sydney 2000.
The process was very different from the one followed in the Sydney Games award, which amounted to a heartfelt decision famously announced by former IOC boss Juan Antonio Samaranch.
With only major international cities traditionally hosting the Olympics, Brisbane has also positioned itself as a new kind of project for the IOC.
“We want to show the world that medium-sized cities and regions can host the Games without financial problems or missed deadlines,” Palaszczuk told voters.
Brisbane said it already has 84 percent of stadiums and event venues to meet the IOC’s modern requirement to avoid excessive spending and potential white elephant projects.
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