Brisbane the Preferred Choice for 2032 Olympics; New Aquatic Center Part of Plan

Brisbane Aquatic Center
ON DECK: The Brisbane Aquatic Centre was purpose built for 1982 Commonwealth Games Games. It will feature prominently again 50 years later. Photo courtesy Sleeman Sports centre.

Brisbane the Preferred Choice for 2032 Olympics; New Aquatic Center Part of Plan

A proposed new 15,000 seat aquatic centre, the Brisbane Arena, would provide the South East Queensland (SEQ) 2032 Olympics with a long sought-after Brisbane inner-city pool facility and deliver a golden legacy from Australia’s third Olympic Games.

With the International Olympic Committee’s nod of approval for the Brisbane bid this week all eyes are on the Queensland capital and surrounding Gold and Sunshine Coast cities.

And a new pool is very much in the pipeline for Australia’s swimming mecca.

A new Brisbane Swimming Arena or the existing Gold Coast Aquatic Centre would host swimming and water polo, with diving, artistic swimming and water polo at the existing Brisbane Aquatic Centre, holding 4,300 people with marathon swimming at the Broadwater Parklands on the Gold Coast, with temporary seating for 5000.


GOLD COAST AQUATIC CENTRE: A key venue for 2032. Photo Courtesy: Gold Coast City Council.

The SEQ region has certainly been abuzz this week as BREAKING NEWS hit the airwaves that Brisbane and the SEQ region (including the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast as well as other regional centres) had been anointed as the preferred candidate for the Games of the 35th Olympiad.

The Queensland Government has revealed initial plans for a Main Stadium, an Aquatic Centre and initiated major discussion around the Athletes Village.

Both the proposed aquatic facility and a new Main Stadium would be built on the northern side of the Brisbane River.

The SEQ region has become a swimming stronghold in Australia from the famed “Chandler Pool” – now the Brisbane Aquatic Centre – situated 14 kilometres south east of the CBD to facilities that would satisfy visiting teams in some of the best locations in the world for lead up and pre-Games training camps and competitions.

It was purpose built for the 1982 Commonwealth Games and 2032 will see a special 50th anniversary milestone for the new Olympic city.

While SEQ is surrounded by more 50m pools – both public and school facilities – than any other region in the world – it lacks a modern day international standard pool – a facility that will leave a legacy from the Games for a swimming-mad city.

Discussions are also continuing for Bond University (on the Gold Coast) and its new revamped aquatic facility (with an existing 50m pool and new 25m outdoor racing pool with scoreboard and screen) to host the International Swimming League – a major attraction for the world’s fastest swimmers – in the lead up to 2032.

And while a major selling point for the 2032 Games is centred around existing venues and infrastructure a new aquatic centre will be central to the success of these Games – as Australia’s most successful and popular Olympic sport.

Vikings Luch Olympians and board

OLYMPIANS ALL ABOARD FOR 2032: Jon Sieben, Laurie Lawrence, Brooke Hanson, Justin Lemberg and Duncan Armstrong. Photo Courtesy: Hanson Media/TBD

Home to a host of individual Olympic champions from backstroking’s 1956 and 1960 back-to-back golden boy David Theile to a modern day who’s who of Australian swimming, Jon Sieben, Duncan Armstrong, Kieren Perkins, Susie O’Neill, Grant Hackett, Jodie Henry, Libby Trickett, Leisel Jones and Stephanie Rice.

And of current day stars Cate and Bronte Campbell, reigning world champion Ariarne Titmus and the likes of Emma McKeon, Mitch Larkin, Emily Seebohm, open water qualifier for Tokyo Kareena Lee and rising stars Kaylee McKeown, Minna Atherton and Lani Pallister.

Perkins is now a major power broker with his appointment as the president of Swimming Australia and he will play a key role in ensuring that his city will be ready, willing and able to host a Games to remember.

Already working tirelessly behind the scenes to make 2032 a reality has been a group of Olympic swimmers and swimming-like people who wanted to see their city join Melbourne and Sydney – making Australia the fourth country to host three or more Games – behind the USA, France and England.

People like Craig McLatchey, the former Swimming Australia executive director and former Australian Olympic Committee executive director – now Managing Director of EKS (Event Knowledge Services) – who provide the Games blueprint – and the genius behind Brisbane’s infrastructure planning – under the Sportfive (Lagardere/Sports Marketing) brand.


LET THE GAMES BEGIN: The successful 2018 Commonwealth Games chairman Mark Stockwell paved the way for 2032. Photo Courtesy: Gold Coast Bulletin.

And Mark Stockwell, 1984 triple Olympic medallist, chairman of the Australian Sports Foundation and Chairman of the 2018 Commonwealth Games who knew if he delivered a successful Games then it would tick a huge box for 2032.



Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates, praised Stockwell and his team saying the successful Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018 paved the way to secure Queensland’s case.

For Stockwell, now one of Brisbane’s most successful property developers and Olympic fundraisers, 2032 will be a huge success story for him personally – and in his city.

An 18-year-old Stockwell was a program seller at the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane so for him, a golden anniversary worth celebrating.

Along with the Aquatic Centre, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk flagged a proposed Brisbane Olympic Stadium with capacity to seat 50,000 people for track and field events.

Although using “The Gabba” (home of cricket and Brisbane Lions AFL) for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and the Gold Coast’s Metricon Stadium (home of the Gold Coast Suns AFL) for the athletics were also possibilities.

“There is the option of one new big venue in terms of where we would have the opening eremony … but we may use Metricon (Carrara) as well,” Palaszczuk said.

She said the new aquatics facility, the Brisbane Arena, that is expected to hold 15,000 spectators had been proposed to host swimming and water polo events.

Ms Palaszczuk said the infrastructure required is already part of Queensland’s five-to-10-year plan.

“The Olympic Committee (is) looking for existing structures,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“They don’t want countries or states to go and invest in monumental stadiums that are not going to be used in the future.

“This is transformational infrastructure for our city and our region and it would bring huge economic benefit and jobs as part of our economic recovery as we come out of COVID.”

The Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Optus Aquatic Centre (at Southport) that also hosted the 2014 Pan Pacs, could also be used as an alternative for water-based events.