Brisbane was officially named host city for the 2032 Olympic Games, with 72 out of 80 International Olympic Committee members giving the city their vote.
While the news was expected given Brisbane was the only horse in the race, it was undermined somewhat by a bizarre press conference that saw Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told off by IOC vice president John Coates for trying to skip the Tokyo Olympics Opening and Closing Ceremonies.
Before the late-night press conference Palaszczuk had insisted she would not attend the ceremony in person, but would instead watch it on TV in her hotel room.
The celebratory media call quickly became very awkward when Coates turned to Palaszczuk and ordered her to attend the Opening Ceremony.
— Michael Rowland (@mjrowland68) July 21, 2021
“You are going to the opening ceremony,” Coates told Palaszczuk.
“There will be an opening and a closing ceremony in 2032 and all of you, everyone there, has got to understand the traditional parts of that, what’s involved in an opening ceremony.
“None of you are staying home and going to be sitting in your room.”
The two were masked and divided by a retractable screen which was probably for the best as it hid the obvious levels of embarrassment.
Coates then continued to berate her saying that she had never been to an opening ceremony and needed to learn the protocols.
“You don’t know the protocols and I think it’s a very important lesson for everyone here – opening ceremonies cost in the order of $75 million to $100 million,” he said.
The fact that Palaszczuk is unlikely to be in the Premier seat in 2032 and therefore would not be involved in the planning for the 2032 Games did not appear relevant to Coates.
— IOC MEDIA (@iocmedia) July 21, 2021
The numbers of people set to attend the Opening Ceremony have been slashed as fears the Delta strain is already being spread by vast numbers of people flying into Japan for the Games. It was to be 10,000 but that has been cut to around 1,000 VIPs including US First Lady Jill Biden, European royalty members of the IOC and now Palaszczuk.
As Australian Olympic Committee president, Coates was an instrumental part of Brisbane’s bid, telling the voting members that a Brisbane Games “will be an expression – unforgettable, enduring and revered olympism – celebrated and served together”.
For Coates, the bid win is the culmination of decades of work and lobbying which finally saw the stars align with new bid rules that favoured discussions rather than costly marketing exercises and wanted more detail on a host’s ability to foot the bill. All of which favoured Brisbane which had the support of all levels of government and a raft of infrastructure already in place.