Brisbane to be Smallest City to Host Olympic Games in 80 Years

Last week, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced it’s selection for the host of the 2032 Olympic Games, picking Brisbane in Australia’s Queensland to hold the 32nd edition of the modern Olympic Games. In being selected, the city will become the smallest since the 1952 Games in Helsinki to host the Summer Games.

IOC President Thomas Bach said of the selection:

The road to hosting the Games wasn’t easy for the small coastal city in Australia. Just 29 years ago, the city pushed to win the bid to bring the Olympiade there in 1992. While the city made it to the third round of voting, it fell short in the final vote and was beaten out by both Barcelona, Spain, and Paris, France.

While Brisbane’s population of nearly 2.5 million may seem large, for hosting the Games, it is incredibly small. When the Games take place in 2032, Brisbane will follow cities that boast populations of 37 million (Tokyo), 11 million (Paris), and 12.5 million (Los Angeles) as the host of the Summer Games. Due to the small size of the city, the Games will be hosted across the region, with competitions likely being held in the Sunshine Coast region to the north and Gold Coast region to the south.

For a mid-size city like Brisbane, playing host to an Olympic Games can create an immediate change within the region. According to the city’s lord mayor, Adrian Schrinner, playing host to the Games will help turn Brisbane into a region with better health and fitness, better education, and better connection.

Summer Olympic Games Hosts and Population at Time of Games (Since 1952)

  • Helsinki, Finland (1952) – 381,000
  • Rome, Italy (1960) – 2,456,000
  • Tokyo, Japan (1964) – 19,507,000
  • Mexico City, Mexico (1968) – 8,052,000
  • Munich, West Germany (1972) – 1,294,000
  • Montreal, Canada (1976) – 2,803,000
  • Moscow, Soviet Union (1980) – 8,136,000
  • Los Angeles, United States (1984) – 10,044,000
  • Seoul, South Korea (1988) – 10,027,000
  • Barcelona, Spain (1992) – 4,177,000
  • Atlanta, United States (1996) – 2,919,000
  • Sydney, Australia (2000) – 3,780,000
  • Athens, Greece (2004) – 3,182,000
  • Beijing, China (2008) – 14,964,000
  • London, United Kingdom (2012) – 8,293,000
  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2016) – 13,057,000
  • Tokyo, Japan (2020) – 37,393,000

*This list excludes the 1956 Olympic Games, which were co-hosted by Melbourne, Australia and Stockholm, Sweden

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1 month ago

Wait, but the chart says Munich was half that size in 1972? And Brisbane grew by about 25% over the past decade, so it will likely be around 3 million in 2032, putting it around Athens, Atlanta, and Montreal in size.

1 month ago

Why exclude Melbourne? Wasn’t it just equestrian in Stockholm?

1 month ago

Moderating the ‘mine is bigger than yours’ mentality should only help the Olympics at this point