IOC ready for challenges: incoming VP Coates

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IOC ready for challenges: incoming VP Coates

International Olympic Commitee (IOC) newly elected President Thomas Bach (R) is greeted by Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) president John Coates after Coates was elected as the new IOC vice-president in Buenos Aires, Sept 10, 2013.

The newly-elected Vice-President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) John Coates said he is expecting testing times ahead as major issues overshadow preparations for the Sochi and Rio Games.

Australian John Coates, 63, becomes only the second Australian to hold the position after Syria's Sami Moudallah withdrew from the race at the 125th Session of the IOC in Buenos Aires, Argentina last Tuesday.

Thomas Bach of Germany won the election from six candidates earlier in the day to become the new IOC president and succeed Jacques Rogge in the most powerful position in world sport.

Coates told The Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday that immediate challenges for the IOC include the Russian government's position on homosexuality in the lead-up to Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games and of the public unrest in Brazil over feared construction delays, congestion and the country's financial investment in the 2016 Rio Summer Games.

He vowed the IOC "will tread carefully" on the Sochi issue and will "respect the sovereignty of the Russians".

Coates, a Sydney lawyer, also identified anti-doping as an area where progress was being made, but as much through investigative work as drug testing.

"We have learned that testing itself is not enough," he said. "(Lance) Armstrong and Marion Jones showed us the benefit of cooperating with other government agencies to acquire information and evidence."

"It is something I've been pushing for a long time in Australia, legislation that ASADA (Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority) gets more power,"he said.

Coates, who will remain the president of the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) and Court of Arbitration for Sport, joined the IOC in 2001 after playing a key role in winning and then staging the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

He has been a member of the IOC Executive Board since 2009 and sits on the Juridical Commission and the TV Rights and New Media Commission.

He also served on the Coordination Commission for the 2012 London Olympics assisting Lord Sebastian Coe and the Chairman of the British Olympic Association, Lord Colin Moyinhan.

Coates made his mark in the sport of rowing, starting as a coxswain at Homebush High School in Sydney, before becoming an administrator and Rowing Manager at the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games.

He then became AOC President and Chef de Mission of the Australian Olympic Team at six Olympic Games from 1988 to 2008.

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