NRW Prime Minister Armin Laschet, application manager Michael Mronz at a press conference in Düsseldorf
Photo: FEDERICO GAMBARINI / AFP
There is an old saying that if you discover you are riding a dead horse, dismount.
The application of North Rhine-Westphalia for the Olympic Games 2032 has been such a dead horse since Wednesday, and NRW Prime Minister Armin Laschet and the head of the application, Michael Mronz, faced the question on Friday: dismount or ride the dead horse.
They decided to continue riding.
Even if more at a trot than at a gallop.
On Wednesday, the IOC was very clear in favor of the favorite Brisbane as the host of the 2032 Summer Games and caught Rhine-Ruhr cold.
"This decision surprised us and made it to us," said Laschet, who had made the initiative his business right from the start.
Now it's all about saving face, and that includes making it seem like there's still some chance of alignment.
IOC boss Thomas Bach had "expressly encouraged" him in an interview to maintain the initiative for 2032, said Laschet, and in a video conference with the mayors of the participating cities he also stated that "the region has had a clear will to fight," the region has already experienced setbacks «.
Then Laschet listed again the names of the cities that want to take part: from Aachen, Laschet's homeland, in which the equestrian games are to take place, to Brühl and Düsseldorf to Pulheim and Recklinghausen.
There are a total of 14 municipalities.
Kiel also wants to participate
In addition, Kiel was bravely presented as the location of the sailing competitions at the press conference, Schleswig-Holstein's Prime Minister and Laschet's party friend Daniel Günther was shown via video, who beamed with joy and announced that "Kiel is THE place for sailing in the world".
Bach told him that the IOC considered Brisbane to be a suitable candidate, "I do not share this view," said Laschet tightly.
He also made no secret of where he saw the responsibility for the application disaster: "The German Olympic Sports Confederation apparently had no sense of what was happening in the IOC." That the DOSB, according to the IOC, showed no will in advance Mronz, however, had "no knowledge" of this, either to intensively promote the Rhine-Ruhr application to the IOC at the moment.
The application boss was visibly affected by how things went this week, his new strategy is: "We are not tied to a year." Although the 2032 logo is emblazoned everywhere on the initiative, both Laschet and Mronz expressly did not rule out a candidacy for the 2036 Games.
After all, it is a "decade project," according to Mronz.
And Laschet: "We are preparing for the games in the thirties."
Laschet has no problem with 2036
The fact that an application around 2036 would automatically trigger a broad and heated political debate about the Olympics in Germany, exactly 100 years after the Nazi Games in Berlin, leaves the Prime Minister and CDU Chairman cold: He has "no problem" with that, Laschet said: One could make it visible that "100 years later the world is different".
The year is ultimately irrelevant, so the impression made by both those responsible: "We could also host the 2024 Games," said Mronz, which, as is well known, take place in Paris.
After all, the sports facilities are largely available, and it was even decided which basketball games would be played in Bonn and which in Düsseldorf.
"We are ready for any moment, we could even get started tomorrow," Lachet added one more time.
Until then, however, the application remains as it is: »A private-sector initiative,« as Laschet emphasizes.
The public sector would not make its contribution until the Rhine-Ruhr region was awarded the IOC.
The 300 million euros that NRW has already pledged for popular sport will still be there "with or without the games".
This also applies to infrastructure measures in the federal state: "Everything that North Rhine-Westphalia modernizes will not be discontinued because there are no games."
As much as Laschet tried to remain statesmanlike, the anger over Wednesday's decision kept coming through.
In Germany one must have "the right to play such games."
After all, Munich was 60 years ago as the last German location in 2032, while the summer games were held in Australia in 2000.
The question is "whether you want to wait until the fourth or fifth Australian applicant".
In any case, he made it clear to the IOC President in a personal conversation that he had "not recognized the transparency that one would want from such an association" in the process.
This is where you could tell that Armin Laschet hadn't had much to do with the IOC.
Icon: The mirror