More than two decades after the world's attention was fixed on Sydney for the 2000 Olympics, Australia is set to carry the baton once more with Brisbane winning the bid to host the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Following passionate pitches to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Tokyo from Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner and Prime Minister Scott Morrison, IOC members voted in favour of the Sunshine State capital to host the world's most iconic athletic event.
"The International Olympic Committee has the honour to announce that the Games of the 35th Olympiad are awarded to Brisbane, Australia," IOC president Thomas Bach said tonight.
Brisbane's bid swept the floor with 72 votes in its favour, five against and three abstentions.
Premier Palaszczuk said it was the cooperation of all three levels that stood out for the IOC with preparedness to put the interests of the city, the state, and the nation above everything else.
"We work best when we work together. I also think that the International Olympic Committee was blown away tonight with the presentations of how beautiful our state is, and we want to welcome people back to Queensland after the pandemic, and celebrate in true Queensland style," she said.
"It's about the young people sitting at home tonight dreaming that impossible dream, but these dreams can come true. We also wish all of our athletes all the very best as they compete here in Tokyo. Good luck to Team Australia."
Nearly 100 International Olympic Committee members cast their votes at the 138th Olympic Committee Session in Tokyo, and they have chosen Queensland to host the world's greatest sporting event. All Queenslanders can be proud of this historic moment.Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) July 21, 2021
After the announcement was made, the Prime Minister said Brisbane was now "shooting for the stars".
"How good is Brisbane, how good is Queensland, and how good is Australia? The whole world's going to see it again - absolutely stoked about this. Congratulations to everyone involved," he said.
"This is a great ray of hope for us at a time when I think all Australians really need it."
The approval marks a milestone for a pitch that began in 2015, but is only the beginning for Brisbane's transformation ahead of the event with expectations for $10 billion in infrastructure spending.
"This is a very proud day for Australia, make no mistake. I thank the IOC Members for their confidence. Brisbane 2032 is genuinely committed to serving the ideals of the Olympic movement," said Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) president John Coates.
"The Olympic Games in Brisbane will be in the most diligent, grateful and enthusiastic hands. And I make this commitment to the athletes of the world - we will provide you with an unforgettable experience.
"Of course, many of these athletes are the children of the world right now. Young people who will be glued to their television sets over the next two weeks as the great champions of the world compete here in Tokyo. Many Olympic dreams will be created here in Tokyo, thanks to the generosity of the people of Japan and the commitment of today's Olympians."
Coates highlighted Australians' passion for sport, the nation's first-class sporting facilities, excellent transport and a commitment to "put the world's athletes at the centre of everything we do".
"Queensland's climate, iconic beaches and environmental attractions makes our offering irresistible for athletes, families, friends and sports lovers," he said.
Brisbane was recommended as a host city by the IOC Board last month, attracted by a strong masterplan with a high proportion of existing venues to be utilised, "set against a spectacular backdrop" with sports also to take place in the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Southeast Queensland hinterland areas.
But as Lord Mayor Schrinner noted at the time, the deal was by no means "in the bag".
In his address to the committee before the vote, Scott Morrison highlighted Australia had participated in every modern Summer Olympic Games - one of only two countries in the world to have done so - as well as every single Paralympic Games.
"We've hosted the Olympic Games twice before - Melbourne 1956 and Sydney 2000. The Olympic ethos and values, they resonate Down Under," the PM said.
"We're an outward looking and welcoming people one of the most successful multicultural nations on earth.
"Australians come together from nearly 200 countries. We have over 300 different ethnic backgrounds. And we speak over 300 different languages in our homes. We're like a giant-sized Olympic Village - all together!"
He highlighted plans to build on the legacy of Sydney 2000 at the Brisbane Games.
"The Australian and Queensland governments are fully funding the infrastructure projects to be delivered in preparation for the Games - ensuring they deliver for Brisbane 2032, but also leave a lasting legacy," he said.
"We understand the importance of long-term planning. Should Brisbane be selected today, the 10+10 concept would see us begin our investments immediately - a win-win for the Brisbane region, Southeast Queensland, and the Olympic Games.
"My Government has also committed to provide medical services, customs, immigration and a range of other support measures at no cost."
The PM also drew attention to the "highly encouraged business community in Southeast Queensland.
"We believe passionately in a fair go and provide significant funding and support to organisations that administer integrity programs," he said.
"And we have proven governance structures that enable us to work with organisers, international sports federations and governing bodies at major international sporting events."
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