Three-time Sydney-Hobart winning skipper Matt Allen will be elected unopposed as a Vice-President of the Australian Olympic Committee at their Annual General Meeting on April 30. His elevation to that position is seen as welcome confirmation of the prominent status sailing has achieved in Australia as an Olympic sport.

News of the appointment came as Allen was racing to Coffs Harbour aboard his modified TP52 Ichi Ban.

In accepting the position he reflected that Australia’s place in the Olympics and its history have been an essential and evolving part of our national character.

“The next few years will allow the AOC to re-imagine what the landscape of sport can look like in Australia in conjunction with the sports and governments”, he said. “If we get it right, it will have long term and profound impact on sport for decades to come.”

Allen has had extensive involvement with the promotion and governance of sailing. He is a life member and former Commodore of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, a former President of Australian Sailing, and is now a Council Member for World Sailing while chairing its Oceanic and Offshore Committee.

In his dual roles as an AOC and World Sailing Committee member Allen, along with Stan Honey and Gary Jobson, was a co-founder of the concept of two-handed sailing as an Olympic discipline. (That initiative has now been deferred pending the resolution of some technical difficulties.)

Allen is a successful businessman who holds a wide range of directorships. He developed breakthrough financial management computer systems, pioneered an innovative approach to investment funding and is a former Managing Director and CEO of UBS Japan.

Veteran AOC boss John Coates will end his more than 30-year term as President of the AOC at the April AGM but has been appointed Honorary Life President.

Meanwhile, Allen is already looking a decade ahead to the Brisbane Olympics. “The Olympics inspire Australians and now we can bring that inspiration to our home soil for the third time. 2032 might seem like a long way off but hosting the Games is a massive undertaking.

“That work has already started. With the strong co-operation of the three levels of government and a talented and energetic Organising Committee I’m confident Brisbane will be a great success and match the triumph of Sydney 2000.”

Matt Allen photo by Phil Roger/NewsCorp