Thomas Bach travelled to China from the weekend for a five-day visit to Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou. The IOC President had many formal meetings and official photos. Firstly at the Chinese Olympic Committee (COC), where he met the current President, Gao Zhidan, on Friday 5 May. Then at the residence of the Premier, Li Qiang (photo above), with whom he spoke about the success and legacy of the Beijing 2022 Winter Games. The German leader also had an equally official meeting with the executive director of the Chinese company Mengniu, the IOC’s global partner, Jeffrey Lu. Less expected, Thomas Bach took advantage of an interview with the Xinhua press agency to talk about the Summer Games in 2036. And, surprisingly, he hinted that China might be in the running. “Candidatures from China are always the most welcome, suggested Thomas Bach. But right now we have already allocated the hosts until 2032, so China still has some time to think about the next candidature, which will be 2036. But I’m really looking forward to many major international sports events taking place in China in the coming years.” According to Thomas Bach, the number of countries that have expressed an interest in hosting the Summer Games in 2036 has now reached double figures. The IOC President was cautious not to list them. But it does not yet seem to include China. With more than 13 years to go, South Korea, India, Indonesia, Qatar, Mexico, Turkey, Germany, Hungary, Egypt and Great Britain have expressed, more or less officially, their desire to enter the race.
— Published 10 May 2023