President Katalin Novák went on a diplomatic tour in Switzerland and Liechtenstein last week., as Hungarian Conservative reported. On Thursday, 8 June, made a stop at the International Olympic Committee headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland to meet with the organisation’s president, Olympic gold medallist former German fencer Thomas Bach.
Two other Olympic champions and retired athletes, swimmer Dániel Gyurta and sprint canoeist Zsolt Gyulay were also present at the meeting. Gyurta is currently a serving member of the IOC, while Gyulay is the head of the Hungarian Olympic Committee (MOB).
This was actually the first time the MOB president visited the international committee’s headquarters in Switzerland since taking office in January last year. This gave him the opportunity to sing his signature on the Olympians’ Wall in the building.
President Novák and Bach reportedly discussed the 2024 Olympic games in Paris and the hopefully successful preparation of Hungarian athletes for it. The potential of a Budapest Olympics was not on their agenda. However, Bach later did talk about the issue dear to many Hungarians’ hearts in an interview with the Hungarian sports daily Nemzeti Sport and the Hungarian radio station Sports Radio.
‘I think Hungary has set a record for the most successful international competitions hosted, in terms of Olympic sports. If I am not mistaken,
it has hosted over 20 world and European championships in the last five years. I believe this is an Olympic record,
ahead of everyone else. From the IOC’s perspective, the Agenda2020 programme has revolutionised the hosting of the Olympic games, making it more sustainable and cost-efficient.
I believe this is a good opportunity, if it fits in Hungary’s long-term goals, Hungary could be a magnificent host nation. However, the Hungarian sports movement, government, and people have to make the first move.’
The next three games will be taking place in Paris, Los Angeles, and Brisbane, in that order. The next ‘open spot’ is in 2036, for which the host will be decided in 2026. Hungary is yet to make an official bid for hosting. However, it has been a long-term goal of the Orbán government. Back in January of this year, Gyulai told reporters that the Budapest Olympics is ‘still on the table’, as he put it.
In his exclusive interview with Hungarian sports media, Bach also talked about the issue of Russian and Belarusian athletes competing at the Paris games. He said that ‘no athlete should be punished because of their passport’. And thus he is supporting a new measure: instead of outright banning them, they would be allowed to compete, but not under their national banner. International judo and taekwondo tournaments have already been hosted under that system, as he pointed out. No Russian or Belarusian flags were displayed, and neither nation’s anthem was played, but deserving athletes still got to compete.