The event may seem a long time ago. Almost ten years. A whole world away. But Brisbane, the capital of Australian Queensland, can already boast of being an Olympic city. After Melbourne in 1956, then Sydney in 2000, it will host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2032.
What are the goals and challenges? What legacy will it leave behind? Present this week in Lausanne for the Smartcities & Sport Summit (24 to 26 October), Brisbane’s Deputy Mayor, Krista Adams, answered FrancsJeux’ questions.
FrancsJeux: What is the main legacy you expect from the Summer Games in 2032?
Krista Adams: A boom in tourism, particularly international tourism. Brisbane is a beautiful city in a beautiful region. But in order to want to come and visit, you have to know about it first. The Summer Games in 2032 will allow us to show the world who we are, where we are and how to get to Queensland. This ambition has always been at the top of our agenda during the bid phase. It will ensure that over the next ten years we can count on the strong support of the local business community. They will support us because they have understood the full impact of the Olympic Games on tourism. The rest, including the infrastructure, we already have and do not need to build.
What will be your biggest challenge in the run-up to the Games in 2032?
Getting everyone to work together, at all levels of the pyramid, until the Games. Ten years is a long time. We shouldn’t start too quickly, but we shouldn’t start too slowly either. We have to start now, get things in place, and then keep our pace and unity year after year.
The issue of transport is crucial to the success of the Games. How do you see it in a medium-sized city like Brisbane?
This is indeed a key issue. For the Games, but also for the future of the city. It was even the first reason why we wanted to apply for the Olympic Games. Brisbane is now the capital of one of the fastest growing states in Australia. We need a modern and efficient transport network for this growing population. We already have a dense and efficient bus system, and we will soon be expanding our river crossing options. There is a lot of work to do before the 2032 Games, but all public authorities, local, state and national, are committed to the project.
Has Brisbane already changed since the IOC awarded the Summer Games in 2032, voted by the Session in July 2021?
It’s a little early to talk about real change. We are still working on the best ideas to make the most of the event. But there is already a sense of pride and hope among the population. People want to get involved in large numbers. They are starting to express this. They already see all the opportunities that the Games can create.
Has the awarding of the Summer Games already changed Brisbane’s international image?
If the record number of Google searches for Brisbane after the IOC award is anything to go by, the image has already changed. The rest of the world now knows a little bit more about where we are. And it’s going to get bigger. The Games in 2032 will increase our international recognition tenfold.
Is getting the Games so far ahead of the event, more than eleven years in advance, a real advantage?
I think so. With the new IOC standard, there is no need to build more venues. In Brisbane, we will only have to build a stadium. So we can use this long preparation time to work on other issues than just sports facilities. In the case of Brisbane, on climate risks. Floods, first of all. They can occur, or not at all, very early in the Games or in the last few months. It’s very unpredictable. With ten years ahead of us, we can do things right to prevent these risks.
We are now less than two years away from the Paris 2024 Games. Are there any of the OCOG’s ideas or initiatives that you can think of that could work in Brisbane 2032?
I was recently in Paris for a week. I’m very interested in the urban approach to the 2024 Games. Like us, Paris will not have an Olympic park, unlike Sydney 2000, London 2012 or Los Angeles 2028. The French will use the urban space for some competitions. We will do the same in Brisbane. And, of course, I am seduced by their idea of moving the opening ceremony out of the stadium, onto the Seine, with 600,000 spectators. It’s fantastic. I’m convinced we could do the same thing in 2032 on the Brisbane River.