Bach meets Prime Minister and tours Sydney Olympic Park
29 April 2015
AOC: IOC President Thomas Bach has had a busy day in Australia meeting with the most powerful man in the country Prime Minister Tony Abbott and talking about a potential future Olympic bid and the legacy of Sydney 2000 with other important dignitaries.
After arriving in Australia late on Tuesday evening, Wednesday started with a meeting in the Prime Minister’s Office at 8.30 am in the capital Canberra. Prime Minister Abbott and Federal Sports Minister Sussan Ley hosted Bach, AOC President John Coates and Australian rowing legend and IOC Member James Tomkins.
President Bach presented Mr Abbott with a special Olympic medal for heads of state to start the meeting. Abbott is one of the first world leaders to receive the medal that was designed by the founder of the modern Olympic Games, Pierre de Coubertin.
The meeting discussed the merits of a future Olympic bid in Australia. Bach and Coates will meet with the Mayors of South-East Queensland on Thursday morning in Sydney to discuss a potential bid for a 2028 bid centred around Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
Following the meeting in Canberra, the IOC/AOC delegation took the short flight to Sydney to see Sydney Olympic Park 15 years on from what then IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch described as ‘the best Games ever’.
State Premier Mike Baird and NSW Sport Minister Stuart Ayres met Bach and Coates at the Sydney Opera House to travel by boat to Sydney Olympic Park.
Sydney Olympic gold medallist and former IOC Member Susie O’Neill and former Olympics minister Michael Knight joined the delegation with media waiting in the centre of the Olympic Stadium. Once inside the crown of the Sydney 2000 venues the historic performance of Cathy Freeman winning 400m gold was replayed on the big screens.
The delegation then were driven past other sporting venues that are in continual use before stopping at the Munich Memorial on Olympic boulevard. Each Games is represented by a lighting tower around the Stadium and there is a special tribute at the Munich 1972 tower to commemorate those who lost their lives with the terrorist attack at those Games.
The delegation then walked to where the Olympic cauldron sits at Cathy Freeman Park and it was re-lit and the water fountain spectacle turned on.
The legacy of Sydney Olympic Park was talked about with 13 million visitors a year coming to the park for sporting events, conferences, concerts, festivals and it is not also a business hub. There is over $5 million AUD a year in revenue generated from the precinct.
Australia’s brightest young fencing talent then met fencing gold medallist from Montreal 1976, who went on to become the leader of the Olympic Movement. .
The delegation then raced back to the Sydney CBD via the harbour for a large media gathering, in the same building as the Australian Olympic Committee office.
IOC Director General Christophe De Kepper, Head of the Executive Office for the President Jochen Farber, Director of National Olympic Committee Relations Pere Miro and Director of Communications Mark Adams made up the full IOC delegation at the meeting with the Prime Minister and in Sydney.
More updates to follow