Phil Coles played an important role in Australia’s Olympic history, first as an athlete and later as an administrator.
Phil competed in Canoe Sprint at the 1960 Rome, 1964 Tokyo and 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games. He was team captain at two Games and went on to become the canoe/kayak section manager at the 1972 Munich Olympics and Chef de Mission at the 1980 Moscow Olympics.
Phil was a member of the Executive Board of the Australian Olympic Committee since 1973, Secretary General from 1985 to 1993 and Director of International Relations from 1993 to 1999.
He was a member of the Board of the Sydney Olympics 2000 Bid Limited and was Vice President and Director of the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG) from 1993 to 1999.
Phil was a member of the International Olympic Committee from 1982 to 2011 and became an honorary member from 2012.
Phil was a foundation member and member of the Executive Board of the Oceania National Olympic Committee since 1981 and was a board member of the Australian Sports Drug Agency from 1996 to 1998. He was also a Board member of the Australian Sports Commission from 1984 to 1987 and from 1989 to 1991. Phil had been Chairman of the New South Wales Institute of Sport from 1995 and was the Honorary Secretary for the NSW Olympic Council from 1973 to 1985.
In 1981, Phil was awarded with life membership of the Australian Canoe Federation.
In 1983, Phil was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his services to sport.