SYDNEY, 23 JANUARY 2017 (INSIDETHEGAMES) — The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has said whoever is appointed as its new chief executive will play a pivotal role in a possible bid for the 2028 Olympic Games.

Fiona de Jong resigned as chief executive of the AOC in October and subsequently stepped down from the role at the end of last year.


In a job advert seeking her replacement, the AOC describes the opportunity as an exciting one for a “talented, strategic and respected leader to oversee and drive all day to day management of the AOC, playing a pivotal role in guiding the AOC through its challenging upcoming programmes and the possible bid for the 2028 Olympics”.

A bid from Brisbane for the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games moved a step closer in September after the South East Queensland Council of Mayors agreed to go ahead with a feasibility study.

The move has been given the support of the AOC, with President John Coates declaring in a statement that they “welcomed” the decision.

The study, which will explore whether a bid from the region would be possible, is set to cost around AUS$2.5 million (US$1.9 million), according to reports in Australia.

Both Gold Coast and Logan City Councils have voted against contributing funds to the study, which is due to be completed before a formal bid needs to be submitted in 2019.

It does not necessarily mean Brisbane will launch an attempt at bringing the Olympic and Paralympic Games to the country for the first time since Sydney hosted the event in 2000, but the feasibility study getting the green light was described as the “first step” in the process by Coates.

Speculation mounted recently that there may not be a bid process at all for the 2028 Games with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) actively investigating the possibility of awarding Paris the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics and Los Angeles the 2028 Games.

IOC President Thomas Bach admitted after an Executive Board meeting in Lausanne last month that “informal discussions” are underway about changing a bidding process in which there are “too many losers”.

Paris and Los Angeles have since declared they are only interested in the 2024 edition.

De Jong, Deputy Chef de Mission of the Australian team at Rio 2016, had been with the AOC for 12 years and worked on 10 Olympic campaigns.

In her previous role as director of sport, she oversaw Australia’s preparations for Turin 2006, Beijing 2008, Vancouver 2010, London 2012 and Sochi 2014, as well as three editions of the Youth Olympics – Singapore 2010, Innsbruck 2012 and Nanjing 2014.

De Jong was forced to deal with a number of controversies involving Australian athletes at Rio 2016, including when criminal proceedings were brought against nine athletes from the country after they gained access to a basketball semi-final with alleged tampered accreditation.

An AOC Disciplinary Committee has since called on Brazilian authorities to remove the criminal records against cyclists Ashlee Ankudinoff and Melissa Hoskins, rugby sevens player Ed Jenkins, archers Alec Potts and Ryan Tyack, rowers Olympia Aldersey, Fiona Albert and Lucy Stephan and hockey player Simon Orchard.

The closing date for applications to become De Jong’s successor is January 31…. PACNEWS [/restrict]