IOC president Bach discusses potential Australia bid
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) Australia would have a good chance of success if it bid to host the 2028 Olympic Games in Queensland state, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said on Wednesday.
Bach met with Prime Minister Tony Abbott and encouraged Australia to plan for a games bid. He later said at a news conference that Australia's ''worldwide famous love'' of sport and the organizational skills it showed in hosting the 2000 Games in Sydney would ensure ''sympathy'' for the bid.
''A bid from Australia would enjoy a lot of sympathy, and would in fact have very good chances then also to win,'' he said.
Bach said the 28 years that would elapse between Sydney and a games in Queensland ensured it would not be ''too soon'' for Australia to be awarded the Olympics again.
''The games are rotating around the world but there is no established circle,'' he said. ''There is no rotation by years.''
Bach met with Abbott, sports minister Sussan Ley, and Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates in Canberra, then flew to Sydney and toured Olympic Park, site of the 2000 Games.
He said it was ''an emotional visit'' 15 years after the event. Bach added he was in the stadium when Australia's Cathy Freeman won the 400 meters in 2000. He watched a replay of that race on Wednesday.
''It gives you goosebumps when you see this and when you remember the roar in the stadium, when you remember how this tension exploded in joy after she crossed the finish line,'' he said.
Bach will meet with mayors from South-East Queensland on Thursday to further discuss a possible games bid. The AOC has encouraged the South-East Queensland Council of Mayors to proceed with a study of the feasibility of a games bid.
Expressions of interest are not due until January 2019, and the host city will be chosen in 2021.
Bach pointed out the host of the 2024 Games will not be decided for two years. Boston, Rome, and Hamburg are in the race for 2024, and Bach said it was likely at least one of the unsuccessful candidates might bid again for 2028.
Bach is the first IOC president to visit Australia since Jacques Rogge in 2005.