'Backyard' Brisbane Olympics gives 'enormous opportunities' to NZ

Brisbane's confirmation as host of the 2032 Olympic Games comes with huge flow-on benefits for New Zealand, and not just in sport.

Aerial view of Brisbane, Australia. Source:

The Queensland capital was announced as the successful bidder tonight after a period of exclusive negotiations with the International Olympic Committee.

Officials in Japan declared the Australian city the winner at the end of the 138th IOC session.

"It's a massive boost for sport in New Zealand at all levels really," New Zealand Olympic Committee chief executive Kereyn Smith said.

"You think of young people who are eight or 10-years-old who can actually realistically dream that they might be able go to the Olympics on their back doorstep," she said.

New Zealand Water Polo is welcoming the announcement, as it could mean the Kiwi national teams qualify for the first time in the sport's history at the Games.

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Sports like water polo could be given an easier path to Olympic qualification if Australia qualifies automatically as the host nation. Source: 1 NEWS

If the criteria remains the same as it has in recent Olympic cycles, Australia would qualify in 2032 as hosts, leaving the Oceania spot wide open for Aotearoa.

"It's going to add significant player retention, we're going to keep some older players playing for a little bit longer and we're going to have a little bit more enthusiasm at the bottom end with our 16-year-olds and our 18-year-olds at the moment that really see something to strive for," New Zealand Water Polo high performance manager Kurt Goldsworthy said.

Seventeen-year-old Auckland player Sophie Shorter-Robinson says it provides players a clear pathway.

"It'll be something to work towards, we've got a good programme coming along and good trainings, good coaches," she said.

It's the sport's intention to qualify for the Paris or Los Angeles Olympics in 2024 and 2028 too, and Goldsworthy says they don't just want to participate.

"We want to be there and we want to be competitive."

"Athletes and teams will still need to be aiming to be at the right level to be selected for the Games," NZ Olympic Committee's Kereyn Smith said.

Otago University looked at the benefits of the Sydney 2000 Olympics on New Zealand, with exposure to international athletes through warm-up events and training, tourism and other ripple effects.

Tourism professor James Higham says it poses enormous opportunities.

"The Olympic Games will never be closer to New Zealand than Brisbane; Auckland and Christchurch are closer to Brisbane than many parts of Australia," he said.

"Sports organisations will have the opportunity to host Olympic teams, Olympic competitors in advance of the Olympic Games, taking advantage of our sports facilities, our training facilities, our expertise in coaching and sports science."

Higham says New Zealand needs to take full advantage of the 2032 Games.

"It will require a very strategic, coordinated, well-organised leveraging strategy," he said.

"Hosting sports mega-events also come with risks and costs, as we've seen in the case of Tokyo and recent news about the America's Cup, so we'll have the opportunity to benefit enormously from the Olympics in Brisbane, without the associated costs and risks."

New Zealanders will also be able to grasp the spirit of the Games by hopping over the ditch to support the New Zealand team.

"We did see at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in 2018 just how well our team did and how great it was to have Kiwis in the crowd," Smith said.

The Brisbane 2032 Olympics will be the third time Australia has hosted the event.