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Chiller left in the cold as Australia name new Olympic chef de mission

Kitty Chiller has been replaced as Australia's Olympic chef de mission (EPA/MARCELO SAYAO)
24th August, 2017
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Australia’s chef de mission for the 2020 Olympics will take a hands-off approach as he attempts to improve on a ruinous Rio 2016 campaign.

Long-time Olympic identity Ian Chesterman was appointed Kitty Chiller’s successor on Thursday.

Chesterman has been a member of the AOC’s executive board since 2001, and chef de mission of Australian teams at winter Olympics since 1998.

The 58-year-old paid tribute to Chiller, who this month told the AOC she did not want the gig in Tokyo, noting he would be “mad not to” draw on her experience.

Australia’s return of 29 medals in Rio, only eight of which were gold, represented the nation’s lowest Olympic tally since 1992.

“You’re playing sport, you want success. Every team wants success,” Chesterman said.

“My style is very much to work with the national federations, to give them an environment where they can do their best. They’re running the sports.

“Our job as an Olympic committee is to try and make sure everything is in order when athletes get there, allow them to operate at their best.

“We don’t put too many extra layers on top of them. Try to make it as simple as possible.”

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Chesterman pointed to funding problems and also took a swipe at Rio’s shambolic organisation.

“Starting afresh and going to a place like Japan, which will be well organised and have all the welcome mats out and showers running, will be very helpful,” he said.

“We can’t underestimate just how tough a Games that was. I’ve been involved in a lot of organising committees and a lot of Games, they all have their difficulties, but Rio was exceptional.

“Everybody (from every nation) had a pretty torrid time.”

Asked if he would follow Chiller’s hardline stance on athlete behaviour, which was highlighted in her a public tit-for-tat with Nick Kyrgios, Chesterman was non-committal.

“We try and be inclusive in everything that we do. I will hopefully be able to work with all our national federations and our athletes to have our best athletes in place,” Chesterman said.

“But we do have Olympic ideals and values, and we do want them to be expressed in Tokyo.”