The Rt. Hon. Sir John Major KG CH

Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1990-1997

1992Prime Minister (1990-1997)

Mr Major’s Speech on Manchester Olympics – 16 December 1992

Below is the text of Mr Major’s speech on the Manchester Olympics, held at the Manchester Olympics Exhibition in Strasbourg on 16th December 1992. Parts of the speech were inaudible and are marked with ….


Christopher, I think one of the few things that … contribution in British politics is the support for the Manchester Olympic bid for the Olympics in the year 2000. Manchester has tried before, of course, to become the Olympic City. It failed. I do not wish to see it fail this time. We want Manchester to win, we want it to go for gold, we want the Olympics to be in the United Kingdom in the year 2000.

To that end I have indicated to Manchester, indicated to Bob [Scott], indicated to the whole of the Manchester Organising Committee, that they have the government’s complete support in organising this bid and preparing for the selection of the city that will host the Olympics in the year 2000. No-one should be in any doubt about it, the venue is Manchester but the bid is national.

Why Manchester? Where better? I think that makes sense. If one looks at the heart and centre of the United Kingdom you will find Manchester. If you look at the great sporting traditions of the United Kingdom, you can, if you have strong legs, within walking distance of Manchester walk to some of the greatest football and other stadia you will find anywhere in the world. Work has begun already on the provision of an Olympic site, on the provision of a velodrome.

Resources have been made available for that, the work is going ahead, sites have been identified for all the Olympic sports, the preparatory work is in hand, much of the transport infrastructure is already safely in the programme for developing in and around the Manchester area and a great deal would need to be provided, but would be provided, to ensure that Manchester is there to host what I believe would be one of the most remarkable sporting occasions the world has seen – the Millennium Olympics.

So there should be no doubt at all about my commitment, about the government’s commitment, I think about the national instinct in Britain as a commitment, to bring those Olympic Games to Manchester in the year 2000. There is a lot to be done, there is tough competition, there are other countries who feel very passionately, wrongly but passionately, that the Olympics perhaps ought to be somewhere else in the year 2000. It is our job to persuade them that that is not the case, that Manchester is the right place for the Olympics, that Manchester is the place that will produce the Olympics to the highest standard.

And there will in many other ways be … most convenient for the Olympics these days are international events, they are seen all the way round the world, the communications infrastructure, the timescale between one part of the world and another in terms of beaming those remarkable events we all watch on television to every corner of the world. All those are important components and upon all those I believe Manchester stands up as well as any other country anywhere in the world.

So no doubt about our commitment, no doubt about our intention, no doubt about our hope, and we will work with the leadership that Bob Scott has shown so magnificently over recent months very hard to make sure that we bring those Olympic Games to Manchester.

But that is a tough job, I have an easier job and it is just to unveil this plaque which in these days of extremely complex technology I believe is extremely simple, I will endeavour to do it without bringing the whole of the house down.

May I declare the exhibition open and Manchester moving just that touch nearer to the decision that will bring the Olympics to Great Britain.