— Published 28 September 2023

Poland declares its Olympic flame

The IOC can rub its hands: there is no shortage of bidders in the race for the 2036 Summer Games, even before the competition opens. The Olympic body has just registered a new applicant. It was not expected.

Polish President Andrzej Duda (photo above, centre) took advantage of the European Sport and Tourism Congress being held in Zakopane on Wednesday 26 September to announce his country’s intention to join the battle.

In the coming days, I will be preparing a suitable letter to the President of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, said the Head of State. I want to believe that this will effectively launch our efforts and that we will thus have the opportunity to host the Summer Olympics in 2036.

Very specific in his approach, Andrzej Duda also announced that his letter of intent would be sent to Thomas Bach at the end of next week, at the General Assembly of the Association of European Olympic Committees (EOC) in Istanbul. The letter will be delivered by the President of the Polish Olympic Committee, Radoslaw Piesiewicz. It will mark the first stage of the Polish project.

Poland has never organised the Olympic Games. It has never even dared to bid for the Summer Games, contenting itself with trying its luck on several occasions for the Winter event. Zakopane was a candidate for the 2006 Winter Games, which were eventually awarded to Turin, Italy. Krakow announced a project for the 2022 edition, before withdrawing from the race.

But the Poles are not hiding the fact: the recent success of the 2023 European Games, organised in Krakow and the Malopolska region, has given them a taste for greatness. Their Olympic project is said to have emerged from discussions between the National Olympic Committee, the Ministry of Sport and Tourism and the Head of State at the time of the review. It was also strengthened by recent discussions with the EOC, which was behind the creation of the European Games in 2015.

The continental body did not wait for Thomas Bach to receive the letter signed by Andrzej Duda. On Wednesday 26 September, in the wake of the Head of State’s declaration of intent, it announced its support for the Polish project.

The European Olympic Committees (EOC) welcome the interest shown by Poland in organising the 2036 Olympic and Paralympic Games,” explains a press release. The same document quoted Hasan Arat of Turkey, a member of the EOC Executive Committee and Chairman of the European Games Coordination Commission: “Our Polish friends have already successfully demonstrated that they have what it takes to organise major international sporting events of the highest quality. From everything the European Olympic Committees have seen on site, Poland is fully qualified to host the Olympic Games.”

With this new entrant, the race for the 2036 Summer Games is becoming increasingly diverse. Above all, Poland adds its name to a list of candidates that have never before organised the event. The list also includes India, Indonesia, Qatar, Hungary and Egypt. It promises to be an exciting battle.