A page is turning in Australian sport. John Coates returned the keys to his office as President of the National Olympic Committee (AOC) on Saturday April 30. An office of which he knew every corner with his eyes closed. He occupied the space for 32 years. A record.
To replace him, the delegates of the Australian sports movement did not really hesitate. Two men showed up to put on the costume of John Coates: Ian Chesterman, already in place as vice-president, seven times chef de mission of the delegation to the Olympic Games; and Mark Stockwell, a former triple medalist swimmer at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles, also known as the husband of Tracy Caulkins, one of the legends of American swimming.
The battle promised to be indecisive. She was not. Ian Chesterman was elected president of the AOC with 67 votes, against only 26 votes in favor of Mark Stockwell.
A page turns, therefore. Ian Chesterman will lead the Australian Olympic movement at the dawn of a decade that promises to be historic for the country, until the Summer Games in Brisbane in 2032. His victory was hailed by Thomas Bach, who came to attend Sydney in guest of honor at the handover.
The IOC President made a personal tribute, but intended for the old rather than the new. “In the Olympic movement, we know many unique personalities, suggested Thomas Bach to evoke John Coates. You may not have the grace and elegance of Cathy Freeman, you may not have the dynamism of Dawn Fraser, but you are truly an exceptional person. You changed the face of the Olympic movement in Australia. You are a champion, my friend.”
Very lively, Thomas Bach did not reserve his praise only for John Coates. The German leader also shared his enthusiasm at the prospect of working with the Australians for the Brisbane Games in 2032. With more than ten years to go, the work has not really started yet, the organizing committee having only held a single meeting. But Thomas Bach is formal: the Australians are right.
“We are not only satisfied, we are impressed and happyinsisted Thomas Bach. We are off to a truly wonderful start. We at the IOC are extremely impressed with the quality of the Organizing Committee Board, its diversity and the focus on athletes and inclusiveness with the presence of two indigenous people on the Board. . This honeymoon won’t last forever, as we know from experience. Like any marriage, it will have its ups and downs, but mutual respect and enthusiasm will allow us to overcome some unexpected obstacles.”
Soon to be 72 years old (he was born on May 7, 1950), John Coates can prepare himself to live very closely the honeymoon and the years of marriage evoked by Thomas Bach in front of the Australian Olympic movement. The IOC reminds us in a press release: he will remain honorary president of the national Olympic committee and vice-president of the organizing committee for the Brisbane 2032 Games.
The information is revealed by the Guardian : John Coates himself prepared his presence at the forefront of preparations for the Brisbane 2032 Games. The British daily explains that he wrote his own letter of recommendation, in April 2021, to sit on the committee of organization of the Olympic and Paralympic event.
His presence on the board of directors of Brisbane 2032 was indeed not acquired once he abandoned his position as president of the national Olympic committee. John Coates knew it. According to Guardianthe Australian took the lead in having a seat reserved for him in his capacity as Honorary President of the AOC.
Sent to Matt Carroll, the general manager of the AOC, the letter prepared by John Coates assured that he would be “hard to imagine someone better qualified in the world of sport” to be appointed to the Organizing Committee for the 2032 Olympic Games in Brisbane.
John Coates is said to have requested that the letter be signed by Matt Carroll, then sent to Peter Sheehan and Mark Cushing, two experts from BDO Consultancy, an accounting firm responsible for helping to set up the organizing committee for the Brisbane Games.
The mail continues: “Accordingly, you are requested to include a position of Honorary Life President of the AOC within the OCOG (the Brisbane 2032 Organizing Committee) from the end of his term of office as an IOC member.“The request has not received the slightest opposition.