Despite calls for change from within various Australian sporting bodies, including Swimming Australia Limited (SAL), John Coates has been reelected as President of the Australian Olympic Committee. Taking the AOC vote in a final tally of 58-35 over rival candidate Danni Roche at the organization’s Annual General Meeting, Coates will now enter his 28th year in the AOC President role.
Roche, an Olympic medalist in women’s hocky, will maintain her role on the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) board, committed to her desire to change mentalities within Australian sport. Said Roche after the result was announced, “Although the AOC’s members did not vote for a change in president, the past six weeks marks a pivotal moment in Australian sport.
“Congratulations to John Coates on his re-election as AOC President. I wish the entire @AUSOlympicTeam every success in the future,” she commented.
This 2017 election marks the first time in 27 years that Coates had faced a challenger to his position. With his win, Coates will remain as a Vice President of the International Olympic Committee, a role in which he has been in since 2013.
With the reported tension between the AOC and SAL, it remains to be seen what impact Coates’ presence will have on the two organizations’ relationship ongoing. SAL publicly backed Roche for the AOC Presidency, with President John Bertrand committing to change in a lengthy editorial to The Australian this week.
Within his argument for Roche, Bertrand wrote, “If we are to become competitive again on the world stage, a much higher level of focus and collaboration among all of those involved in the Olympic movement is required, particularly between our two peak bodies, the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) which supplies the majority of funding to the Olympic sports, and the AOC. To achieve this, we need a major refresh in leadership: new ideas, more innovation, and much more collaboration.”