John Coates: Tokyo could be the greatest Olympics ever

Coates, who oversees planning for the 2021 Olympics for the IOC, hopes Tokyo would supplant Sydney as the best-ever games.

John Coates is the Australian Olympic Committee president and the leader of the IOC’s coordination commission for the Tokyo Olympics.   -  AP

Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates has predicted that next year’s coronavirus-delayed Tokyo Games may ultimately be among the great games ever, if not the greatest. The Sydney-born Coates, who oversees planning for the Tokyo Olympics for the International Olympic Committee, told the AOC’s annual general meeting on Saturday that he would put aside any of his parochialism while hoping that Tokyo would supplant Sydney as the best ever.

At the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Games, then IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch described the Australian event as the best Olympic Games ever during the closing ceremony. The best-ever claims for Tokyo by Coates, who did not go into further details, come despite spiralling costs for the Japan games, which will now begin on June 23, 2021.

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Japan is officially spending USD 12.6 billion to organise the Olympics, but a government audit report last year said it was at least twice that much.

It’s all public money except for USD 5.6 billion in a privately funded operating budget, and it will likely rise more with the 12-month delay, costs that will have to be borne by the Japanese government and taxpayers.

Estimates in Japan range from USD 2 billion to USD 6 billion for the delay. Japan is bound by the terms of the Host City Contract signed in 2013 to pay most of the bills.

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