Olympic leader John Coates left little doubt about the power of sport in Australian politics as he publicly ordered Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to attend the Tokyo opening ceremony after the IOC awarded Brisbane the 2032 Games.
With around 13 million people locked up in Australia due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Palaszczuk has been criticized by the national media for traveling to Tokyo this week as a representative of Brisbane’s bid for the 2032 Olympics.
She said she would not attend any events while in Tokyo, other than the presentation of the nomination team at the International Olympic Committee session on Wednesday, and that she would be confined to her hotel.
However, his resolve crumbled into an awkward exchange with Coates late Wednesday when the Australian Olympic Committee chairman made it clear.
“You’re going to the opening ceremony,” Coates said at a news conference.
“I am still the vice president of the leadership team of the candidacy.
“And as far as I understand, there is going to be an opening and a closing ceremony in 2032, and all of you have to get along and understand the traditional parts of that, what’s involved in an opening ceremony.
“So none of you will stay and hide in his rooms, okay.”
Palaszczuk replied: “I don’t want to offend anyone, so …”
Coates continued: “You’ve never been to an opening ceremony have you?
“You don’t know the protocols, I think it’s a very important lesson for everyone here.
“The opening ceremonies cost in the order of $ 75 million to $ 100 million, it is an important exercise for any organizing committee.
“It is my very strong recommendation that the premier, the mayor and the minister be there and understand this.”
Coates, one of the IOC’s most powerful executives, played a key role in securing the 2032 Games.
Appearing on an Australian breakfast TV show on Thursday, Palaszczuk was clear about her instructions.
“I’ll do whatever John Coates tells me to do,” he said.
“I have no intention of offending the International Olympic Committee now that the Games have been awarded to us.”
In a time of misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By signing up, you can help us get the right story.