Sport stars, business leaders push for Games

SPORTING superstars past and present are joining forces to bring the Olympic Games to southeast Queensland.

From legends to current heroes, Olympians are buzzing at the idea of the world's greatest sports event coming to the Sunshine State.

"I think that would be absolutely fantastic," Fraser, a gold medallist at the 1956, 1960 and 1964 Olympics, said.

"Queensland has shown it can do it with two excellent Commonwealth Games. We've got good facilities, great weather, people who love their sport. I don't know what else we need and the Games that Queensland would bring to the world would be just amazing."

Gold Coast-based swimmer Giaan Rooney - who was 17 when she won silver at Sydney in 2000, followed by gold in Athens four years later - said: "I was 10 years old when I heard the Olympics were coming and from that moment on I knew that I wanted to be there. It inspired me to train and work harder to be part of that Olympic team."

Olympic swimming greats Dawn Fraser and Giaan Rooney, at the Brisbane Aquatic Centre, are two of the biggest names to call for the Games to come to Brisbane. Picture: Adam Head
Olympic swimming greats Dawn Fraser and Giaan Rooney, at the Brisbane Aquatic Centre, are two of the biggest names to call for the Games to come to Brisbane. Picture: Adam Head

Cathy Freeman, whose 2000 gold medal effort united the nation, said: "Words are almost not enough to explain my memory of my Olympic gold medal victory … in my home country. Words that do spring to mind though are electrifying, all-encompassing and blissfully magnificent!"

Cate Campbell, a medallist at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Games, said an SEQ Olympics would "invigorate and enliven the community".

"There was a lot of negative talk before the Commonwealth Games but once it started, people really got behind it and from an athletes' point of view, it was incredibly well run. It was a good blueprint for what an Olympics might look like."

Sister Bronte, a double Olympian, said the region's facilities meant the Olympics could be hosted without the big outlay of previous Games.

"You still hear people talk about how much they enjoyed Sydney. The idea there could be a Games in Brisbane, my home town, is pretty exciting," she said.

"I saw in London how much difference it makes having a public that really wants the Games. The general population loved having us there. I think the people of Brisbane would make it really special."

Four-time Olympic medallist Kieren Perkins said one of the biggest positives from hosting was the financial uplift for investment in sports.

"The base funding increased but it is the commercial and sponsorship funding that really takes off," he said.

SEQ was "absolutely" ready to take on the task.

"The Commonwealth Games proved that," he said.

Australian swimming sisters Bronte (left) and Cate Campbell said they were excited about the Olympic Games coming to their hometown. Picture: Sam Ruttyn
Australian swimming sisters Bronte (left) and Cate Campbell said they were excited about the Olympic Games coming to their hometown. Picture: Sam Ruttyn

Business big-hitters and tourism leaders have also thrown their weight behind a bid, saying the Olympic Games can create an economic legacy for years to come.

"The Olympics are tourism gold," Tourism Australia CEO John O'Sullivan said.

"It's one of the most televised events in the world. It really does bring the world to a standstill and then you get a second burst with the Paralympics.

"The publicity and exposure is beyond compare. As a host, you become the topic of conversation in 200 countries.

"Properly leveraged, the benefits for tourism in the years leading up, and afterwards, are enormous."

Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland head of media Dan Petrie said the Games would be transformative for Queensland. Picture: Mark Cranitch.
Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland head of media Dan Petrie said the Games would be transformative for Queensland. Picture: Mark Cranitch.

Gert-Jan de Graaff, Brisbane Airport Corporation CEO, said: "The benefits go way beyond the exciting prospect of the Olympics themselves. The true value is the long-term benefits of improved transport connectivity and infrastructure across SEQ, the immense boost that hosting the Games would give to Brisbane, and the region's profile as a leisure travel, major event, conferenceand investment destination."

Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland head of media Dan Petrie said "An Olympics bid should ultimately be transformative for a host region and provide an enduring legacy."

Lessons had to be learnt from the Commonwealth Games when small businesses on the Gold Coast suffered as a result of organisers "virtually telling people to stay away".

"And don't get Peter Beattie involved," Mr Petrie said.