Massive boost for Brisbane bid to host Olympics
Brisbane's chances of hosting the 2032 Olympics have been given a massive boost with the reappointment of John Coates to the powerful role of vice-president of the International Olympic Committee.
And in more good news for Australian Olympians still grappling with the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, the IOC has revealed that the competition schedule for next year will remain unchanged after it has secured all the venues required for the Games to go ahead.
Despite the ongoing uncertainty of COVID-19, Olympic officials are going full steam ahead with plans to make Tokyo 2021 a celebration of humanity the likes of which the world has rarely seen before.
Already one of the biggest players within the IOC, Coates' re-election to the second most important job on the executive board can only help bolster Southeast Queensland's already strong bid to host the Games.
Coates had previously served as an IOC vice-president from 2013-17 and will return to the influential position for another four years, until 2024, by which time the host city for 2032 will have been decided.
One of four vice-presidents on the executive board, the 70-year-old Coates was voted back onto the top table during a global virtual hook-up late on Friday night with Olympic members, who would have been meeting in person in Tokyo this week if the Olympics hadn't been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
As the chairman of the co-ordination commission for Tokyo, Coates delivered an upbeat report on the preparations for next year, saying things were progressing positively but with a blunt warning that no-one could be certain how the world will look in 2021.
"We don't know what is around the corner," Coates said.
"We don't know what the state of COVID-19 will be in a year's time, but we need to prepare for it now."
One of the biggest complications of the 12-month postponement was that a handful of the 42 venues - including the Athlete's Village and the international media centres - had already been reassigned but organisers confirmed they have now secured them all for 2021.
"The Olympic Village is the beating heart of the Olympic Games, while the venues are its soul," the IOC president Thomas Bach said.
"I am delighted that the village and the venues have been confirmed for next year.
"This means that the athletes will have this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
"Athletes from all around the world will live together under one roof in the Olympic Village, sharing meals together, celebrating together, discussing together and forming these unique Olympic communities."
In securing all the venues, the IOC was able to release the final competition schedule for 2021, which mirrors the planned program for 2020, with only a few small adjustments.
Australia will involved in the very first competitive event of the Games with the national women's softball to face the host-nation Japan in Fukushima on July 21, two days before the opening ceremony.
The opening session of swimming finals - featuring Australia's defending 400m freestyle champion Mack Horton and the Dolphins' world record holding women's 4x100m freestyle relay - will be held on Sunday July 25.
The closing ceremony will take place on August 8 while the Paralympics will run from August 24 to September 5.
"I believe that the moment when athletes around the world emerge from this long, dark tunnel to gather at the Games will be a moment of pure and priceless joy," Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori said.
"I have no doubt that people around the world will find this sight deeply moving. We will continue to give our utmost to ensure that the Tokyo Games are of special value as a symbol of unity and solidarity in overcoming the COVID-19 crisis."
Originally published as Massive boost for Brisbane bid to host Olympics