Senior international Olympics official John Coates said the delayed Tokyo Olympics could end up being the greatest Games ever, coming next year.
John Coates, Australia’s Olympic chief and head of the International Olympic Committee’s inspectorate for the Games, cited the examples of positive Summer Games that followed the two world wars of the 20th century.
Due to the coronavirus, the Tokyo Games are postponed for a year to 2021.
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Coates said he thought Tokyo could surpass even the reputation of the 2000 Sydney Games. which he helped organise and were described by then IOC chief Juan Antonio Samaranch as “the best Olympic Games ever”.
“Because we all must wait longer than the already-long wait for an Olympics, the Games of Tokyo will gently but perceptibly echo the sheer joy and relief of the other delayed Olympics of Antwerp in 1930 and London in 1948,” Coates told the annual general meeting of the Australian Olympic Committee.
“I believe the Tokyo Olympics may ultimately be among the greatest Games ever, if not the greatest. And putting the parochialism of a proud Sydney boy aside… I certainly hope Tokyo will be.”
Coates told the meeting, which was held online, that the proposal for Australia to host the Summer Olympics for the third time in 2032 was turning to future “opportunity”.
Coates said an Olympics could provide an economic catalyst to help Queensland and Australia out of the expected post-coronavirus recession.
“I have always believed in making necessity a virtue. There is already a need for jobs and growth in the Queensland economy arising from the impact of Covid-19,” Coates told his online audience.
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“Our (government partners) recognise a potential 2032… Games as a critical part of the state and nation’s economic recovery in the short term, quite apart from all of the long-term health, well-being, economic and sporting legacies.”
The decision over which city could host the 2032 Olympics could be made as early as 2022, he added.
Coates who has been president of the AOC since 1990, also said he was confident the body was financially in “good order” to come through “this time of some chaos” after a raft of cost-cutting measures.