Melbourne is positioned stupendously to host an Olympic Games on short notice. Indeed, the only major piece of infrastructure absent from the city's illustrious portfolio of sports venues is a major aquatics arena. Virtually every sport on the Olympic programme could already be accommodated by existing infrastructure, as exemplified by the following hypothetical plan:
If Melbourne were to bid, undoubtedly the constituent cluster used for the Games would be the Melbourne Sports and Entertainment Precinct, situated directly south-east of the city's central grid. The venue plan for this vast precinct may look something like this:
· Melbourne Cricket Ground, existing, capacity of 100,000: Hosts Ceremonies, Rugby 7's, Athletics, start/finish of the Marathons and the Men's Football Final
· Rod Laver Arena (within National Tennis Centre), existing, 15,000: Artistic Gymnastics, Trampolining and Basketball Finals
· Hisense Arena (within National Tennis Centre), existing, 10,500: Basketball preliminaries, Tennis (week 2, centre court for last 6 days of competition)
· Margaret Court Arena (within National Tennis Centre), existing, 7,500: Tennis (week 2, centre court for first 3 days of competition), Rhythmic Gymnastics
· Other show-courts (within National Tennis Centre), existing: Tennis
· New outdoor show-court (part of further hypothetical expansions of National Tennis Centre), 7-10,000, Beach Volleyball
· Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, existing, 32,000: Hockey
· Re-acquisition of an AFL oval within the Olympic Park precinct for the temporary training track
· The roads surrounding the nearby Royal Botanical Gardens precinct (opposite side of the river to the sports precinct) could host the Road Cycling Races
The Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre consists of the largest pillarless floor space in the Southern Hemisphere (with albeit halted plans for further expansion), making it conducive to hosting multiple Olympic disciplines simultaneously (which it did at the Commonwealth Games). It is located directly opposite the city's central grid on the south side of the river.
· Temporary Hall 1: Wrestling and Judo
· Temporary Hall 2: Handball
· Temporary Hall 3: Boxing
· Plenary Hall: Weightlifting
To the immediate west of the city's central grid is Docklands, a vast area which has undergone urban renewal for the past 20 years. Development will continue in the nearby areas of Fisherman's Bend and the E-Gate precinct.
· Docklands Stadium, existing, 56,000: Football. (This stadium will need to be the primary venue for the AFL season, so it may not be suitable even for Football (playing surface)).
· The E-Gate precinct is a vast unused space to the immediate north-west of the city’s central grid that is slated for redevelopment in the coming decade. The current plan is to transform it into a medium-high density suburb accommdating10,000 residents. Sports facilities (recreational) are likely to be constructed within the precinct. The area is 10 minute walk from the city’s central grid and adequately serviced by public transport connections due to its proximity to North Melbourne Station (key hub). For an Olympic bid in the near future, it would be logical to use this possible residential area as the Athlete’s Village immediately after completion. A major recreational sports centre could be established within the site to service the north-western suburbs (MSAC is relatively difficult to access from the north of the Yarra), as the growth of Melbourne may lead to demand for such a facility. It could consist of an aquatic hall with temporary seating for 15,000-20,000, to host Swimming, Water Polo Finals and Diving.
· New permanent velodrome to replace the part-time arrangement at Hisense Arena. The venue could be situated within the E-Gate precinct or Fisherman's Bend. Track Cycling
The World Heritage listed Royal Exhibition Building in the Carlton Gardens is located immediately north of the city's central grid. The building was used during the 1956 Olympics
· Fencing, Taekwondo
The Melbourne Sports and Aquatics Centre is a large recreational and training facility located in Albert Park (home to the Australian F1 GP racing circuit) around 25 minutes walk south of the city. An Olympics would likely attract investment to this facility, with perhaps a new indoor arena redeveloped (replacing the existing arena which is undersized).
· Outdoor roofed pool, existing, 3,000 (capacity can be increased to 12,000): Water Polo preliminaries, Synchronized Swimming and Modern Pentathlon (swimming component)
· Table Tennis Hall, existing (with temporary seating): Table Tennis and Modern Pentathlon (Fencing component)
· Badminton Hall, existing (with temporary seating): Badminton
· Indoor arena, new, 10,000 (reduced to say 5,000 post Games): Indoor Volleyball
· Lakeside Stadium (neighbouring venue), existing, 12,000: Archery and Modern Pentathlon (running component)
· F1 racing track (through picturesque parkland): Road Walks
St Kilda is a historic suburb located by Port Phillip Bay, 10-15 minute drive south of the city’s central grid. This area would likely be used as a hub for outdoor “free” events.
· Start/Finish Road Cycling Time Trials (route south along Beach Rd)
Around 10-15 minute drive north of the city’s central grid is a precinct of world class facilities suitable to host the equestrian events.
· Flemington Racecourse, 130,000, existing: Eventing
· Royal Melbourne Showgrounds Main Arena, 4,300 (easily expandable with temporary seating): Show-jumping, Eventing and Modern Pentathlon (show-jumping component)
Other sports would need to be hosted in outer suburbs or regional areas.
· Melbourne International Shooting Club (Port Melbourne), existing: Pistol and Air Rifle Shooting and Modern Pentathlon (shooting component)
· Melbourne Gun Club (Lilydale), existing: Clay Target Shooting
· Royal Melbourne Golf Club (Black Rock), existing (ranked in the top 10 golf courses in the world): Golf
· Lysterfield Park (Dandenong), existing: Mountain Cycling
· Werribee Park National Equestrian Centre (Werribee): Dressage
With only minor redevelopments to existing infrastructure (some of which are likely to occur in the coming decades anyway (further expansions to the National Tennis Centre)) and the addition of temporary seating to halls and exhibition spaces, this plan accommodates almost every discipline on the Olympic programme. It does, however, necessitate the construction of three major sports venues: a new velodrome (the capacity at Hisense Arena is insufficient for an Olympics), an additional aquatic centre (the capacity at MSAC is insufficient for an Olympics) and a rowing and canoeing centre.