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Bach ‘very satisfied’ with ‘emotional’ day in Australia

29 April 2015

AOC: IOC President Thomas Bach had not been to Australia since the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and it took no time at all to ‘really feel at home again amongst friends’.

When he spoke to media late in the afternoon his hectic travel schedule meant he was not 100 per cent clear on what day it was, but he was ‘very satisfied and happy’. Wednesday started in the capital Canberra meeting the Prime Minister and then on to Sydney for an emotional reunion at Sydney Olympic Park.

There was a lot of talk of a future Australian Olympic bid from the meeting at Parliament House right through to the media conference, following a visit to the centrepiece of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

“It was a very emotional visit I must say for very different reasons,” Bash said. “First of all it was emotional coming back after 15 years and seeing the Olympic Park and having very good memories.

“There was also some very special moments when we saw the video of Cathy Freeman’s win in the 400m. And I was at the Stadium at the time and the video today still gives you goosebumps.

“When you remember the roar in the stadium and how this tension exploded in joy after she crossed the finish line. I guess this is the most glorious moment in Australian sport and one of the most glorious in all Olympic sports. And it was more than winning the race or lighting the cauldron it was a major step for reconciliation of Australia with the indigenous people.”

The delegation then visited the Munich memorial outside of the Olympic Stadium for a sombre moment of the tour.

“Later to pay tribute to the victims who lost their live in the terrorist attack on the 1972 Olympic Games. This shows the extremes of what the Olympic Games means and the significance of the Games on society and you know this very well in Sydney and Australia.”

GALLERY from Bach in Sydney>>>

After some brief speeches and Sydney 2000 swimming gold medallist Susie O’Neill joking why they weren’t going to the Aquatics Centre to watch her magic replay, Bach enjoyed meeting a group of young Australian fencers who were targeting the Tokyo Games in 2020.

“We had it all today. We had the past, we had the present - with this unique legacy of Olympic Park to which I can only congratulate everybody involved, this is a benchmark for Olympic organisers what you can see here.

“This is a great reason for not only the Sydneysiders but all Australians to be very proud of this Olympic legacy. And we had the future with talk of a potential bid for future Olympic Games and meeting young athletes who are very passionate and enthusiastic about their sports.”

Much of the pre-visit hype and questioning from media was in regards to a possible future Olympic bid from Australia.

Bach explained that when he met at Parliament House with Prime Minister Abbott and Sports Minister Sussan Ley, Mr Abbott asked how he sees Australia’s chances for hosting the Games in the future.

“I explained to him that thanks to the worldwide famous love of Australians for sport and athletes and their great organisational skills, that a bid from Australia would enjoy a lot of sympathy and in fact have very good chance to win.

“But this is for ’28 so this is a bit premature to talk of winning and I told the Prime Minister I would do whatever I can to ensure Australia is not alone in the bidding and it would be a tough competition which is what Australians always love.”

Bach did not divulge what would be discussed when he meets with the Mayors of South-East Queensland on Thursday morning before heading to Fiji for the Oceania meetings. A feasibility study will take place, backed by the Australian Olympic Committee, into a bid centred on Brisbane and incorporating the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and other regions close by.

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.

Bach reminded people that his predecessor Juan Antonio Samaranch had labelled the Sydney 2000 Games as the ‘best Games ever’. However this was something that the audience and all Australians will remember clearly.

Andrew Reid

Other articles from the visit>>>

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