Melbourne Seeking Olympic Games Return

Victorian Premier Denis Napthine is backing a bid to return the Olympic Games to Melbourne.

After failing in a bid to host the 1996 Olympics, instead later landing the 2006 Commonwealth Games, Dr Napthine believes it’s time to return the world’s oldest sporting event to Melbourne.

“We are a sporting city. We’ve got fantastic facilities. We are well placed to deliver a major sporting event like the Olympic Games,” Napthine said Thursday.

It’s a stance supported by the Committee for Melbourne, an assembly of leaders from academic, business and community fields, which claims the city shouldn’t just stop at a second Olympic Games.

According to chief executive Kate Roffey, Melbourne is the ideal spot to land a major golf tournament, a visit from the NBA and further Major League Baseball expansion.

“Melbourne has collectively the best array of sport facilities close to the CBD of any city in the world, so we’re perfectly positioned to hold an Olympic Games,” she echoed.

Melbourne originally hosted the Games in 1956- the first time in which the event featured in the southern hemisphere. The city currently boasts the Formula One season opener and January’s Australian Open tennis Grand Slam, but won’t figure into the Olympic calculations until at least 2024 after Rio and Tokyo take their turns as host.

“I definitely think an Olympics is on the agenda,” Roffey said. “Our advantage is that we’ve been at the upper echelons of the Olympics for a long time. We should bid for them, and I think we are ideally positioned to go for another Games.”

Rio de Janeiro beat out Madrid and Chicago for 2016 honours. Bidding for 2024 opens next year with the winner being announced in 2017.  

An international football tournament was announced earlier in the week, set to feature Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid at the MCG, and is expected to be so popular that Australia’s most famous venue is kicking the AFL from its premises.

Photo: Sydney Morning Herald/Getty Images


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