City politician sees Copenhagen 2036 Olympic bid as sustainable on a small budget

Copenhagen’s City Councilor for Culture and Recreation is nominating the Danish capital to host the 2036 Olympics. Mia Nyegaard of the social-liberal Radikale party says her city can achieve long-term sustainable urban development goals while by organizing a low-cost edition of the event.

Mia Nyegaard, Copenhagen City Councilor for Culture and Leisure, is proposing a low-cost 2036 Olympics in the Danish capital (Photo: Radikale Venstre Party)

In an interview with Berlingske The Monday Nyegaard newspaper said it aimed to stage the “cheapest, most sustainable and smallest Olympics” with minimal investment using the facilities the region already has to offer. Without giving budget figures, Nyegaard admitted that his plan would require the construction of an Olympic stadium and the development of an athletes’ village which would then be converted into student and family accommodation.

Nyegaard admitted the plans are ambitious and would likely receive political pushback due to the sheer size and cost of the project, but she remained optimistic in the interview.

“What if we could?” she asked.

“What if we dare to take this as our vision and see that it’s possible?”

Copenhagen, one of the most cycle-friendly cities in the world, is known for its active and sporty population. The city hosts an annual marathon and open water swimming competition each year and in 2011 hosted the World Road Cycling Championships. In July, a stage of the Tour de France will take place in Copenhagen. But with a population of just over 5 million, almost half of which surrounds the Copenhagen metropolitan area, Denmark has never hosted the Olympics.

Zenia Stampe, culture spokesperson for the Radikale party, said Berlingske “I thought it would be difficult, but now I can see that it could be done in a way to develop the urban space of Copenhagen and it could develop the way you organize the Olympics.

“A kind of moon landing – a goal on the horizon that can be used to create urban development.”

Stampe also agreed that the plans might not be realistic given the estimated costs of the next Games, including Paris in 2024, she said: “It’s refreshing to dream, and now we have to see if the dream can become reality”.

No specific plan has been proposed.

Marketing director Lars Ramme Nielsen of Dansk Erhverv, Denmark’s chamber of commerce, agrees with the approach of a scaled-down version of the Olympics, but he doesn’t think the proposal for Denmark will be successful.

“Fundamentally, at the moment, it’s not possible – if at all – to do that,” he said.

“There needs to be a crucial change in the approach of the IOC (International Olympic Committee) on how to organize the Olympics, if that is to be possible.”

After Paris, Los Angeles will host the Games in 2028 and Brisbane, Australia will host the event in 2032.

There are several places that have already discussed 2036 deals, including projects from Germany, India, Indonesia, Hungary, Qatar, and North and South Korea. London, Istanbul and several cities in Russia have also expressed interest in joining the race.

There is no fixed timeline for the 2036 Host City designation. The IOC maintains ongoing dialogues with potential candidates and will select the right partner for due diligence once a candidate is found. The last two hosts elected, Los Angeles and Brisbane, were named about 11 years before their opening ceremonies.

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