Last week, President of the Hungarian Olympic Committee Zsolt Gyulay appeared at a press conference on Thursday, along with Ádám Schmidt, chief advisor for sports affairs in the Office of the Prime Minister. The largest Hungarian daily sports paper Nemzeti Sport reported on the event.
Gyulay, an Olympic champion sprint canoeist himself, somewhat surprisingly declared that hosting the Summer Olympics in Budapest is still an objective of his organisation. However, he quickly added that it is currently not on their agenda.
The capital city of Hungary launched an official bid for the 2024 Olympic games in November 2013. But n 2017 the bid was withdrawn after the then new left-wing political party Momentum organised a signature collection campaign against Budapest’s candidacy. Gyulay himself referenced this unfortunate event, saying: ‘The present political leadership is cautious in the matter. They are taking the correct approach, as there are people currently sitting in Parliament who built their entire careers on stopping Budapest from hosting the Olympic and Paralympic games.’
Paris, France will be hosting the next Summer Olympics in 2024, followed by Los Angeles, California in the United States in 2028, and then Brisbane, Australia in 2032. The next one ‘up for grabs’ is the 2036 Olympics, the host city of which will be determined by the International Olympic Committee in 2025. According to Gyulay, potential hosts have to be in continuous conversation with the leaders of the IOC. He also expressed hope that the Hungarian political scene can be united behind the cause of the Budapest Olympics. He added that having recently been in Paris, he is fully confident that the Hungarian capital could be accommodating the games as well, and that he hopes that the Hungarian people can shed their unambitious attitude, and believe in the project.
Hungary currently sits at the respectable #8 spot on the all-time summer Olympics medal table with 181 golds. It is the only country among the top ten nations never to have hosted the games. In fact, the second highest ranking nation on the table that has never been a host is our neighbour to the East, Romania, at #15 (#17 if you count Russia’s results separate from the Soviet Union’s, and East Germany’s separate from West and those of the reunited Germany’s).