As leader of an Australian state, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has much greater responsibilities than John Coates, the country's Olympics chief—but he didn't appear to think so during a press conference in Tokyo after Brisbane was awarded the 2032 Games. Coates was accused of patronizing Palaszczuk after he ordered her to attend Friday's opening ceremony, NPR reports. The premier, whose trip to Japan was controversial due to rising COVID numbers at home, had earlier promised she wouldn't attend any events in Tokyo after delivering the city's pitch, reports the Brisbane Times. "You are going to the opening ceremony," Coates told her. "I am still the deputy chair of the candidature leadership group ... none of you are staying behind hiding in your rooms, all right?"
Coates, 71, told Palaszczuk that she needed to understand the protocols of Olympic opening ceremonies, which he said can cost up to $100 million. Critics—who noted that Palaszczuk oversees a state with a $360 billion economy—accused Coates of "mansplaining" and called the exchange a "disgusting" example of the way women are treated in sports, the Guardian reports. "There is NO WAY he would have spoken down like that to a man who was leader of a government," tweeted Therese Rein, wife of former Australian PM Kevin Rudd. Both Coates and Palaszczuk later sought to play down the exchange. Coates said his remarks had been "completely misinterpreted," while Palaszczuk said she would attend the opening ceremony and praised Coates as "the driving force behind us securing the Olympics." (Read more Australia stories.)