Yesterday the DOSB selected Hamburg over Berlin in the domestic race to become German candidate for the 2024 Olympics. Now the northern port city is to clash with international competition.
Already before yesterday’s meeting of the German Olympics Sports Federation (DOSB) speculations and official statements suggested that Hamburg is the preferred bidder to represent Germany as the country wants to host the 2024 Olympics. And so it happened: Hamburg received unanimous support, leaving Berlin behind.
One of Hamburg’s advantages was the high public support for what’s more commonly seen as controversial mega-event. Polls from February suggested that Berlin had only over half of its population (55%) in favour of the bid, while in Hamburg it was nearly two thirds (64%).
Now the fate of Hamburg’s bid lies in the hands of the city’s residents. In September a referendum will be held to establish actual support for the tournament. If not granted permission from citizens, Germany could withdraw from the race.
What’s planned in Hamburg?
This isn’t Hamburg’s first attempt at hosting the Olympics. The port city already prepared a bid for the 2012 Olympics, but didn’t make it to the final then. Current bid is very much based on the earlier concept.
Both version suggest locating the games very close to the city centre, surrounded by waters of the Elba River. Two islands would be critically redeveloped from current industrial docks to a leisure/residential area. This means most of the Kleiner Grasbrook district would be recreated from scratch. While advertised as a ‘modest’ bid to avoid opposition, the bid in fact constitutes a massive revitalization project at the heart of Hamburg.
One thing that changed between the 2012 and 2024 bids is the location of the main stadium. Initially announced to lie closer to the centre of Hamburg, on the smaller northern island, now it’s expected to be at the heart of the larger of two islands used for sports infrastructure. Together with two large indoor halls it would also be left for sports use in legacy mode.
While the stadium plan is only an early sketch, it’s very similar to that of London 2012. Not only in visual terms, but also in the envisaged legacy. In Hamburg the upper tier would be completely removed after the games, leaving only a covered lower terrace (as seen below).
As we all remember, the plan in London failed miserably as it proved that the only sustainable future use is football. But in Hamburg it seems extremely unlikely for such a scenario to alter the current plans.
Please keep in mind the presented renderings only present Hamburg’s current plans. In practice the actual final designs will be known only after the city begins preparations as winner of the bidding process.
Fight is only beginning
After defeating Berlin in domestic selection, Hamburg will now face much stronger competition from many international bidders who also want to host the 2024 Olympics. Deadline for submitting bids it set at September 15. In April or May 2016 the IOC will select official candidates from the bidding list. After long and candidate phase the host city will be announced on Sept 15, 2017.
Currently Hamburg is one of three cities to be confirmed as bidders. The remaining two are Boston (USA) and Rome (Italy). However, quite a few cities have at various times expressed interest in joining them. Those include Paris, Durban and Doha, among many others.