Dr. Ferenc David: Polish Olympics?
In the weeks following the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, the state Olympic arrangements plan was back on the agenda. The Prime Minister spoke about this, as did Pa Balaghi (the late President of the Republic, Pal Schmidt) and many others. Then the talk about it stopped and other current issues became the focus of attention. However, today (September 27) we received news of a new and interesting decision: according to President Andrzej Duda’s announcement on Wednesday, Poland will submit a bid to host the 2036 Summer Olympics. (It is known that the International Olympic Committee has already awarded the hosting of the 2032 Olympics to the city of Brisbane Australia, while the world’s largest summer sporting event will be held in Paris next year and Los Angeles in 2028). Official statement of the President of the Republic of Poland, which has a population of about 38 million people: “After discussions with representatives of the Polish Olympic Committee, the Minister of Sports, and the Government, I announce that we will apply to host the 2036 Summer Olympics.“This seems quite clear and specific, but I have no information about how the non-governmental leadership in the capital (Warsaw) relates to this initiative.
Naturally, I do not consider the Poles’ candidacy qualified, but regarding the chances of Budapest (and Hungary), it is perhaps worth writing a few sentences.
- So far, Mexico and Indonesia have officially applied to host the 2036 Games, but India is also expected to apply.
- Germany, Egypt, Great Britain, Qatar, Spain, Russia, Turkey, South Korea and Hungary have shown interest. It is quite clear that Russia is not at all a potential competitor, but Egypt’s ambition may stand a chance, as the African continent has already hosted the FIFA World Cup, but no Olympics yet.
- The countries included in the list – with the exception of Hungary – are large or medium powers, and the strength and size of their economies are much greater than that of Hungary. Qatar, with a population of 2.9 million people, stands out from the rest of the countries, which, on the other hand, possesses one of the world’s largest reserves of crude oil and natural gas, and its money is equivalent to desert sand. In the winter of 2022, he pledged to organize a competition that would require a bigger investment than the Olympic Games: he successfully organized the FIFA World Cup with 32 participants.
- The example of Athens (2004) serves as a warning signal, when a country comparable to Hungary almost participated in the Olympic Games. The setting was Sydney in 2000, Beijing in 2008, London in 2012, Rio in 2016, and Tokyo in 2021 – major countries and major cities. Paris and Los Angeles are big cities, but Brisbane is much larger than Budapest, the third largest city in a huge and rich country.
- Let’s get rid of the illusion that it is possible to organize a “wooden bench” Olympics. The 1952 Helsinki Olympics were supposed to be like this, but they were over 70 years ago. The light, the sparkle, the monuments – these are incidental elements of the Summer Games, and it is absolutely impossible for the Olympic flame to be “flashed economically.”
- It clearly hurts Hungary’s chances of another European country entering the arena, because it is not at all unlikely that after America and Australia, our old continent will get the chance to host again: Berlin, London, Madrid and now Warsaw could be strong contenders. For Budapest.
- The unexpected decision announced in the middle of the parliamentary election campaign constitutes an important domestic political event in Poland, but also significant by international standards, as the central power seeking regional hegemony has entered into the Pashtuns, and perhaps not without opportunity.
As a result of a rule change by the International Olympic Committee a few years ago, there is no longer a traditional application procedure. Instead, applicants consult with IOC officials in closed meetings, who then select the one director they propose, and choose the one director they propose. This is put to a vote at the IOC General Assembly. Of course, the location of the 2036 and subsequent Olympic Games has not yet been determined, and the decision will most likely be made in 2026 or 2027. Therefore, it does not matter at all what composition of the General Assembly and what personality/orientation the mayor will choose in 2024!