Olympics chief praises Brisbane 2032 after ‘honeymoon’ meeting

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Sydney (AFP) – Brisbane is making impressive preparations to host the 2032 Games, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said on Sunday after an initial “honeymoon” meeting with organisers.

But Bach warned that, as in any marriage, there were likely to be surprises causing problems in the relationship.

“We’re not just happy. I’ve said it before, we’re impressed and happy,” Bach said during a visit to Sydney to meet members of the Brisbane 2032 organizing committee.

Bach also bid farewell to powerbroker John Coates, who stepped down on Saturday after 32 years as chairman of the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC).

“It was like a honeymoon reunion,” Bach said after meeting organizers of the Brisbane 2032 Olympics, including Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

“This honeymoon won’t last forever. As we know from experience, like any marriage, there will be ups and downs,” he added.

“But mutual respect and enthusiasm, I think, will ensure that we may also overcome unexpected obstacles.”

Asked whether cricket or surf lifesaving could be included in the 2032 Games, which were awarded to the Australian east coast city last July, Bach said only that the IOC was looking to include sports that inspired the younger generations.

Kirsty Coventry, chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, said it was probably too early to decide the sports for 2032.

Coventry, a former Olympic swimmer and world record holder from Zimbabwe, stressed that she comes from a cricketing country.

“We have to take it step by step,” she said, assessing how different sports fit into the Olympic movement and also their influence on young people.

Although he has left his position as president of the AOC, Coates remains vice-president of the International Olympic Committee until the 2024 Games in Paris and is still president of the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Ian Chesterman, chef de mission for Australia’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games team, has been elected as Coates’ successor at the AOC.

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