IOC President Thomas Bach spoke at the Australian Olympic Committee's AGM in Sydney on Saturday, remembering the Olympic Games Sydney 2000 and looked to the future of the Olympic Movement.
Introduced by the President of the AOC and IOC Member John Coates, President Bach praised Coates, who is also chair of the Coordination Commission for Tokyo 2020. He added, “I cannot remember any Organising Committee being this advanced at this stage of the preparation for the Olympic Games."
The first IOC President to address the AOC AGM, President Bach backed John Coates' call for autonomy for the Olympic Movement and the need for political neutrality,
"The only way that the IOC can realise this mission to bring the world together in peace, solidarity and respect, is through a strict commitment to political neutrality. This principle of political neutrality allows sport to stand above and beyond political differences," he said.
"If this political neutrality and the autonomy of sport is not respected, then the Olympic Games become divisive rather than unifying, and would finally become obsolete," added the President.
And he recalled his own disappointment on not being able to defend his fencing gold medal at the Olympic Games Moscow 1980, because of a boycott.
"While I was unable to do anything at the time, this often humiliating experience of seeing the mission of the Olympic Games being misused for political ends was a turning point for me. Without this experience I would not be standing here in front of you today," he added.
After his speech, President Bach also took questions from the floor and was asked about the prospects for a candidature by Brisbane for the Olympic Games 2032. He said, "It is at a pretty early stage but from what I have seen of the feasibility study it looks pretty impressive. They have taken account of the reforms of Olympic Agenda 2020 with no need for any large infrastructure projects and the use of many already existing venues." But," he said, "what is crucial is that the people must want the Games and must want to welcome teams from around the world from the 206 National Olympic Committees."