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Celebrating the achievements of Australia’s Olympic athletes

The Morrison Government today congratulates Australia’s record-breaking 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games team.

Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck
Former Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services
Former Minister for Sport

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Minister for Sport Richard Colbeck said Team Australia had inspired the nation.

“On behalf of all Australians, I would like to congratulate our Olympians for their outstanding success and achievements,” Minister Colbeck said.

“You have allowed us to cheer from the sidelines and had us on the edge of our seats, uniting us as a nation at a time when we have never need it more.”

Australian athletes were responsible for an equal all-time gold medal haul of 17, with seven silver and 22 bronze.

Minister Colbeck said the Australian team provided plenty of highlights.

This included the astonishing performance of swimmer Emma McKeon whose seven medals in the pool – four gold and three bronze – equalled the most by any woman across all sports at any Olympics.

“It doesn’t happen without hard work, long hours training and sacrifice – but Emma’s Olympic feat is now etched in the pages of Australian sporting history,” Minister Colbeck said.

Other incredible Olympic stories included Jess Fox’s gold in the canoe slalom, Ariarne Titmus edging out Katie Ledecky in the 400 metre freestyle, Andrew Hoy becoming the country’s oldest medallist with silver and bronze in equestrian and 800m runner Peter Bol delivering a stirring performance on the track.

Keegan Palmer will also go down in history for winning the first men’s park skateboarding gold, while Cedric Dubler’s extraordinary act of sportsmanship in the men’s decathlon - running beside team mate Ash Moloney, urging him to a bronze medal - is one of the moments of the Games.

Then on the second-last day of the Games, an inspirational Patty Mills led the way with the Boomers to secure a bronze – the first Olympic medal in Australia’s men’s basketball history.
The team’s emotion in winning the medal for generations of Australian basketballers will forever be remembered.

“I pay tribute to all of our athletes and also recognise the enormous efforts of their coaches, support staff, family and friends who assisted them in getting to Tokyo,” Minister Colbeck said.

“To hear that the team spirit in the Olympic Village was perhaps the strongest ever, is a tribute to AOC Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman and all team officials, coaches and athletes – if only we could bottle that for future Games.

Minister Colbeck said that the Games went ahead under such difficult circumstances was also significant.

“We pay tribute to the people of Tokyo and Japan for keeping their commitment to the athletes of the world to host what has been without question one of the most extraordinary Games ever. Thank you, Tokyo and Japan.”

The lead up to the event was also marked by the successful Australian bid to host the 2032 Olympic Games. South East Queensland and Australia secured the global event after a joint campaign by federal, state and local governments. “There are now big things to come - preparations for the event will trigger considerable growth and investment,” Minister Colbeck said. “We will see Brisbane and Queensland deliver an Olympic and Paralympic Games which are affordable, beneficial and sustainable for Queensland and Australia.”

Minister Colbeck said the Morrison Government is maintaining record levels of investment in sport, including support for our high performance athletes and coaches as well as community sport.

“Since our election in 2013 our Government has provided more than $3.8 billion for sport and recreation activities,” he said.

“This financial year alone we will spend more than $500 million on sport and recreation and in the 2021-22 Budget we announced an additional $245.8 million for sport over and above our regular sports funding commitments.”

The funding includes an additional $136.3 million to support Australia’s high performance sport system and programs supporting our athletes to compete and succeed at major sporting events, including:

  • An additional $50.6 million over two years (2022-23 and 23-24) for high performance grants to national sporting organisations;
  • $82.2 million over three years for an extension of the Athlete Performance Pathways and Wellbeing programs to support the development and specialised wellbeing needs of athletes, and;
  • $3.5 million for increased operational costs for the Australian Paralympic Team’s participation in the Tokyo Paralympic Games due to the impact of COVID-19.

In June 2020, the Government announced an additional investment of $50.6 million over two years as part of the 2020-21 Budget to support high performance programs, particularly for Tokyo athletes and those working toward the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Minister Colbeck said this funding also offered security for athletes vying to make their mark as far ahead as the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“Providing opportunities for athletes to compete at the highest level is an integral part of our nation’s identity and invaluable in inspiring participation,” Minister Colbeck said.

“To all our Olympians, thank you for your hard work and the dedication of your coaches, families and friends in helping play a part in Australian sporting history.

“We now look forward to the Tokyo Paralympic Games which begin on 24 August. I know our Australian Paralympic team is well prepared and will continue to inspire Australians young and old.”


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