Tokyo Olympics: Australian Olympic Committee president demands Queensland premier attend Games opening ceremony

Several minutes of awkwardness have ensued after Brisbane was awarded hosting rights for the 2032 Olympic Games.

Delegation members from the Australian bid were speaking at a press conference in front of the world's media on Thursday (NZ time) when an exchange between Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates and Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk got tetchy.

Palaszczuk had previously said she would not attend the opening ceremony on Friday, due in part to ongoing pandemic concerns back home.

But Coates played his executive pass on Thursday, issuing a stern rebuke to the Premier sitting beside him.

"You are going to the opening ceremony," Coates said. "I am still the deputy chair of the candidature leadership group [for the 2032 bid]. 

"So far as I understand, there will be an opening and a closing ceremony in 2032, and all of you have got to get along there and understand the traditional parts of that, what's involved in an opening ceremony.

"None of you are staying behind hiding in your rooms, alright?"

After a period of excruciating silence, Palaszczuk attempted to laugh off Coates' comments, replying: "I don't want to offend anybody."

Coates doubled down on his stance, reaffirming his desire for Palaszczuk to attend.

"You've never been to the opening ceremony of an Olympics have you?" he went on.

"You don't know the protocols. I think it's a very important lesson for everyone here. The opening ceremonies cost in the order of $75-100m – it’s a major exercise for any organising committee, it puts the stamp on the Games, it’s very important to the broadcasters that follow.

"It’s my very strong recommendation that the premier, lord mayor and minister be there and understand it."

Palaszczuk is part of a Queensland delegation that includes the lord mayor of Brisbane and the federal sports minister.

The trip has been the subject of criticism in Australia with the delegation receiving travel exemptions when thousands of Australians are stuck abroad wanting to get home. 

Coates is considered a major player in the world of international sport, with the New York Times describing him as the second most powerful figure in Olympic sport behind IOC president Thomas Bach.