Golden 25: #12 -- Expert Eye on Tokyo for IOC

(ATR) John Coates may be one of the most influential foreigners in Japan.

(ATR) The IOC’s expert for Tokyo 2020 is among the most experienced members in staging the Games.

John Coates was elected to the IOC in 2001, just after helping to lead Sydney 2000 as a vice president. As president of the Australian Olympic Committee for 28 years, Coates has also served as chef de mission at a number of Olympics.

His experience has led Coates to a series of assignments as a member of Olympic Games coordination commissions. Now chairman of Tokyo 2020, Coates has become one of the most influential foreigners involved in Japanese sport, business and politics, Carlos Ghosn aside. Coates regularly encounters top personalities from all those realms in his frequent trips to Tokyo. His opinions are always sought by Japanese as well as international media.

Coates is comfortable to sit at the same table with national and city government leaders to negotiate billions in budget cuts. And more cuts are likely to come in the last 18 months to the Games. Coates is on the front line of the IOC campaign to demonstrate the so-called New Norm means lower spending on the Olympic Games.

Coates, a lawyer by profession, is the chair of the IOC Legal Affairs Commission. The small panel reviews legal implications of IOC policy and decisions. In keeping with his juridical background, Coates also is the president of the International Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Regardless of his outsized influence, Coates will have to retire from the IOC in 2020. When he was elected in 2001, he became the first IOC member covered by the new retirement age of 70, previously 80.

Coates was first elected president of the AOC in 1990. He won a hard-fought re-election in 2017 for what he has promised to be a final term as AOC president. He may be the current longest-serving president among the 206 NOCs

The Around the Rings Golden 25 is the annual survey of individuals who will have the most influence for the Olympic Movement in the year ahead. First published in 1997, this is the 22nd edition.

Reported by Ed Hula.