Australia owed Fahey a debt of gratitude for Sydney Games: AOC

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia owed former New South Wales Premier John Fahey, who has died aged 75, an “enormous debt of gratitude” for bringing the Summer Games to Sydney in 2000, prominent Olympics administrator John Coates said.

Fahey was NSW Premier from 1992-95 and oversaw the successful bid in 1993 before he moved into federal politics in 1996.

“His drive and commitment was absolutely crucial in Sydney winning the bid,” Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) President Coates said in a statement on Saturday. “Australia owes him an enormous debt of gratitude for that alone.”

Coates later told reporters that he remembers Fahey’s enthusiastic leap for joy when Sydney were awarded the Games at an International Olympic Committee meeting in Monte Carlo.

“It showed all the pent up anxiety we all had, and it just all came out,” Coates said.

“He was so very proud of being the leader of that bid.”

The Sydney Games were considered one of the most successful of the modern era and the AOC are preparing to commemorate the 20th anniversary of their opening next week.

“It is very sad to think he cannot mark that milestone with us,” Coates added.

Fahey also served as President of the World Anti-Doping Agency from 2008-2013.

Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Kim Coghill