AOC’s John Coates: Tokyo could be the greatest Olympics ever

SYDNEY (AP) – Australian Olympic Committee chairman John Coates predicted that next year's coronavirus-delayed Tokyo Games "could be among the greatest games of all time, if not the best."

Sydney-born Coates, who oversees the planning of the Tokyo Olympics for the International Olympic Committee, said at the AOC annual general meeting on Saturday that he would put aside his parochialism while waiting for Tokyo to replace Sydney as the best ever.

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At the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Games, IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch described the Australian event as the "best Olympic Games of all time" during the closing ceremony.

The "best-ever" claims for Tokyo by Coates, who gave no further details, come despite the rising costs of Japan's games, which will now begin on June 23, 2021.

Japan is officially spending $ 12.6 billion to organize the Olympics, but a government audit report last year said it was at least double that. It is all public money, except $ 5.6 billion in a private operating budget, and is likely to increase further with the 12-month delay, costs that are expected to be borne by the government and Japanese taxpayers.

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Estimates in Japan range from $ 2 billion to $ 6 billion for the delay. Japan is bound by the terms of the host city contract signed in 2013 to pay most of the bills.

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