The Australian Olympic Committee Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Sydney was a milestone event as Rowing Australia Life Member John Coates AC stepped down as AOC President and was acknowledged for his tremendously successful and historic 32-year tenure.
Seven-time Chef de Mission of Australian Olympic Teams Ian Chesterman AM was elected the seventh President of the AOC, receiving 67 votes ahead of Olympian Mark Stockwell with 26 votes.
Mr Chesterman was first elected to the AOC Executive in 2001, becoming Vice President in 2016. He was made an AOC Life Member in 2018.
He was Chef de Mission for the Australian Winter Olympic Teams at Nagano 1998, Salt Lake City 2002, Torino 2006, Vancouver 2010, Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018.
In 2021, Mr Chesterman was Chef de Mission of the Australian Team at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games.
IOC President Mr Thomas Bach was in attendance at the AGM and he presented Mr Coates with the IOC President’s Trophy for his contribution to the Olympic movement. Previous winners include former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Olympic champion sprinter Usain Bolt.
After his introduction to rowing at Homebush High, Coates, a coxswain, joined Sydney Rowing Club and then became President of the Australian Rowing Council and was the Australian Rowing Manager at the Montreal Olympics in 1976. Montreal was the start of his long journey with the Olympic Movement which included the role of Chef de Mission of Australian Olympic Teams in Seoul, Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, Athens and Beijing.
Mr Coates remains a Vice President of the International Olympic Committee, President of the International Court of Arbitration for Sport and is a Vice President for the Brisbane Organising Committee for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Rowing Australia takes this opportunity to congratulate John Coates for a lifetime of leadership in sports administration on the global stage and for his contribution to the Olympic community over more than 40 years. We also welcome and congratulate Ian Chesterman on being elected to the role of President. Rowing Australia is looking forward to working with you in the lead up to future Olympics’ and on the runway to Brisbane 2032.
Key Outcomes of the Australian Olympic Committee AGM
The Annual General Meeting also elected Evelyn Halls and Matt Allen AM as new Vice-Presidents succeeding Helen Brownlee AM and Ian Chesterman in those roles.
The delegates elected a new AOC Executive which includes new members Alisa Camplin-Warner & Elizabeth Scott.
- Mark Arbib
- Alisa Camplin-Warner AM
- Craig Carracher
- Kitty Chiller AM
- Cath Fettell
- Michael Murphy
- Elizabeth Scott OAM
The 93 voting delegates were comprised of two delegates of each of the member National Federations on the programs of the next summer and winter Olympic Games, members of the AOC Executive, Chair and Deputy Chair of the Athletes’ Commission, Chair and Deputy Chair of the Indigenous Advisory Committee and any members of the IOC who are Australian citizens.
In his final speech as AOC President, John Coates announced that the Executive has approved an AOC contribution of AUD$141,000 to the International Olympic Committee’s Solidarity Fund which has been established to support Ukrainian athletes currently competing around the world while their country is defending itself from a Russian invasion.
Mr Coates reiterated the AOC’s strong support for sanctions and bans imposed by the Australian Government and the IOC’s lead in urging all International Sports Federations to relocate or cancel sports events planned for Russia and Belarus as well as measures to prevent athletes and sports officials from Russia and Belarus competing under the name of Russia and Belarus.
“We are part of an international sporting movement raising its powerful voice. We will continue to use it until this crisis is over,” Mr Coates said.
In his address, IOC President Thomas Bach told the meeting the war has created unique challenges for the Olympic movement.
“As long as the war is ongoing, we will have to live with this dilemma. But we also need to prepare ourselves for a day when peace will prevail. There will come a time when the world will need to rebuild bridges. When that moment comes, then we in the Olympic movement need to be ready to let the unifying power of sport unfold again.”
Mr Bach also presented Helen Brownlee AM with an Australian Olympic Change Maker medal and the AOC’s Cecil Healy Award to decathlete Cedric Dubler for his outstanding sportsmanship at the Tokyo 2020 Games.
The presentation to Helen Brownlee reflected her 30 year membership of the AOC and her pioneering role as the first woman to be elected an AOC Vice President, committee work for the AOC and advancing the cause of women in Pacific sport as Chair of the Oceania National Olympic Committees’ Women and Sport Commission.
The Annual General Meeting also approved changes to the AOC Constitution to reflect the merging of state Olympians Clubs into a single national organisation, the Australian Olympians Association.
A further change reflected “Recognised Organisation” status by the AOC be extended to sports who may have had representation on Australian Teams attending Youth Olympic Games and Regional Games.
The constitutional changes can be found the AGM Agenda document located here.