Even though hosting the Olympics is far away now, Budapest will definitely host the 2023 World Athletics Championships in this newly built stadium. The venue could also come in handy in the event of an Olympic Games in Hungary.
Balázs Fürjes, Parliamentary Secretary of State of the Prime Minister’s Office, told Inside the Games that Budapest is now even more suitable to host an Olympics than before, and could even host the 2036 event. However, the politician is also aware that the decision to host the Games would be made by the Hungarian Olympic Committee and the city of Budapest.
Most of the Hungarian people will probably never forget that Budapest was in the running to host the 2024 Olympics. Public opinion was strongly opposed to the event, citing, among other things, the cost. Momentum, an opposition party comprised of mainly young adults, came to prominence in 2017, when they launched the so-called ‘NOlympics’ campaign to call for a referendum against the Olympics, which ultimately led to the bid being withdrawn. Last year, Momentum said that if Hungary bids for the 2036 Olympics and the government does not call a referendum, the party will once again launch a similar campaign.
However, since then there have been a number of infrastructure developments in Budapest, with the construction of the Duna Arena, which hosted the 2017 World Aquatics Championships and many water sport competitions since; the completion of the Puskás Arena, which hosted some of the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship matches and will host the UEFA Europa League final this year; and the MVM Dome, which hosted the 2022 European Men’s Handball Championship. And this year, Hungary will host the World Athletics Championships, for which a new 40,000-seat athletics stadium is being built in the capital.
The Parliamentary Secretary of State believes that Budapest is now in a better position to host the Games because of the developments of recent years. In addition, the problem of where to stay for people attending the sports event is no longer a problem, because the hotel infrastructure in the capital is also available, developed by the private sector, said Balázs Fürjes.
Budapest has bid to host the Olympics several times: in 1916, 1920, 1936, 1944, and 1960, but has never been successful. Its most recent attempt failed, and the Intergovernmental Olympic Committee finally awarded the 2024 Games to Paris, while Los Angeles will host the 2028 Games.
The decision of the Hungarian Olympic Committee and the City of Budapest is required for the Hungarian capital to host the Games. The latter might be the bigger task, as Budapest had a mayor from governing party Fidesz when it applied to host the Games in 2024, but now opposition politician Gergely Karácsony is leading the capital.
In all likelihood, the current opposition leadership would not want to host the Olympics, having criticized the government on numerous occasions for its support for sport and the construction of stadiums. At the same time, municipal elections will be held in Hungary in 2024, which could easily lead to a pro-government turnaround in Budapest, among other places, and even open the way for the Olympics.
Featured photo via Facebook/Magyar Atlétika