Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates to Step Down

By Caden Pearson
Caden Pearson
Caden Pearson
Writer
Caden Pearson is a journalist based in Australia. He has a background in screenwriting and documentary. Contact him on caden.pearson@epochtimes.com.au
April 29, 2022 Updated: April 29, 2022

Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) President John Coates, who helped deliver the Sydney 2000 and Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games, has announced that he is stepping down from the role after 32 years.

When asked by 2GB radio host Ben Fordham if he was having second thoughts about his decision, Coates said, with a laugh: “Not at all. I am ready for this, I can tell you.”

Coates will remain involved in the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and will continue to support the AOC as it prepares for the Brisbane 2032 Games.

“I think the AOC is in very good shape and I’m handing over to a very strong administration and that pleases me greatly,” he said.

Coates reflected on what it took to secure the IOC vote for Sydney in the early 1990s, saying he flew to around 30 countries as he the months leading up to the 1993 vote.

This comes days a day after the Brisbane Olympic organising committee board held its inaugural meeting on Thursday, where its president, Andrew Liveris, said appointing a chief executive for the 2032 games and securing sponsors is his first priority.

“There’s a lot of input to get the planning right for what is in fact 10 years away, so that of course means we’ve got to recruit a CEO,” he told reporters in Brisbane.

“And that’s very, very key, and that will be a topic here today.”

Liveris said he’s focussed on finding sponsorships for games that would either match or exceed contributions by the IOC, as there’s a commitment that the Olympics and Paralympics be cost neutral and not burden Australian or Queensland taxpayers.

“This is a very big number and we’re going to go to work on it,” Liveris said.

“I hope to bring my international connectivity to that. I’ve got some experience with talking to corporations and in fact being part of it, but of course I’ll lean a lot on my board.”

The Brisbane 2032 Olympics will be the first to hold events in regional centres outside of Brisbane and the Gold Coast, with events in the Sunshine Coast, Townsville, and Cairns.

Coates said all of Queensland would benefit from the events, financially and culturally.

He expects that international athletes, particularly from the region, will start training in Queensland four years before the games begin.

Caden Pearson
Caden Pearson is a journalist based in Australia. He has a background in screenwriting and documentary. Contact him on caden.pearson@epochtimes.com.au