Rio de Janeiro desperately needs to hasten its preparations for the 2016 Olympics, according to Australian John Coates, the newly-elected International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice president.

Coates is alarmed at the lack of progress in Rio towards hosting the 2016 Games.

"There is a little over two years to go and there is still so much work to be done," Coates said in a statement released by the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC).

"We are all concerned.

"It is not impossible but they desperately need a more concerted effort with some of the infrastructure projects and venues."

Coates said there was "huge concern" about the 2016 Games.

"The money is there in Brazil," he told the ABC.

"It's a wealthy economy. The plan is right.

"But there just doesn't, or we haven't seen yet, too much or enough coordination between the three levels of government when it comes to the big construction projects.

"They are running now with delays in commencement of some venues and some projects (are) right up against and will go past, I fear, some of the test events that are held one year out.

"And they (test events) are just so important for the success of the Games."

Coates will serve a four-year term as IOC vice president after being elected unopposed to the position overnight at an IOC session in Argentina.

He will continue as the Australian Olympic Committee president and also remain president of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Coates is the second Australian to be an IOC vice president, following Kevan Gosper, who was awarded the Olympic Order in silver for his contribution to the Olympic movement over a 36-year period.

Gosper will turn 80 in December, the IOC's retirement age for members, but he will become an honorary member and "will remain active, but quietly".

"This is a perfect baton exchange," Gosper said in a statement released by the AOC.

"The day I go is the day he (Coates) becomes vice president, it is extraordinary.

"What really struck me today was how Australia has reached such great heights as an Olympic committee."