John Coates retains presidency in AOC vote

Elias Hubbard
Мая 8, 2017

John Coates has said he will easily fix a divided Olympic family after retaining his mantle as Australian sport's most important figure.

Danni Roche waves as she arrives with fellow delegates for the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) annual general meeting where she will contest for the position of AOC President with current President and International Olympic Committee (IOC) Vice President John Coates in Sydney, Australia, May 6, 2017.

The 66-year-old's tenure as president will now stretch to three decades with Coates previously signalling he will step aside after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

An Australian Biathlon spokesman (they're based in Mt Hotham and train during the summer on roller skis, don't you know?) wouldn't be drawn on how his sport meant to vote on Saturday, beyond saying they would be represented by one of their party at the AOC HQ in Sydney, that they had recently met with Roche and had had representations from Team Coates too and were prepared to say only that "Coates is a doer and Roche comes across very well - make of that what you will".

Ms Roche, an Olympic hockey gold medallist, gained traction by campaigning to lower the AOC's running costs and divert more funds to athletes.

He could have lost his International Olympic Committee vice presidency and his Tokyo duties if he had been defeated by Roche.

Danni Roche at the AOC meeting.

Lawyer Coates played a key role in securing the 2000 Sydney Olympics, while shoring up the AOC's financial independence by retaining the Games' marketing rights before selling them back to the New South Wales government for A$90 million in 2001.

"Election campaigns are going to be rigorous".

"I've got the experience and what I want to do, whether it's 2028 or 2032 is to champion that, both in Australia and internationally". "The election is over", he said.

"From the beginning of this campaign I said that change was needed", she said.

But whatever the outcome, the 46-year-old hoped it signalled change within an organisation beset by bullying claims.

A three-person independent tribunal will rule within a month.

Coates described the allegations as part of a "malicious" smear campaign and a number of prominent former athletes leapt to his defense.

Coates supporters Ian Chesterman and Helen Brownlee were also elected as the two Vice Presidents at the AGM ahead of Andrew Plympton, Coates' chief critic on the AOC board.

Coates said he was "quietly confident" of getting the numbers in the high-stakes vote. It was an election.

"There is a desire for the AOC to place a greater focus on providing their sports and athletes and for it to have a more collaborative relationship with the national federations and the Australian Sports Commission (ASC)".

But its support, which it said was not unanimous, came with strong recommendations for change, including the president's salary.

His deputy on the commission, rowing gold medallist Kim Brennan, said change was now expected.

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