House debates

Wednesday, 11 August 2021


Tokyo Olympic Games

7:35 pm

Photo of Bert Van ManenBert Van Manen (Forde, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

Mr Deputy Speaker, it's in celebration of the Australian team's magnificent efforts in the Olympics. On Sunday we celebrated the closure of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. I think the Olympics is something special and something that the Australian people and the Australian sports fraternity are passionate about. The lockdowns were a great opportunity for people to be able to watch the Olympics, probably more than they would ordinarily. Also, being so close to our time zone, it was a great opportunity for Australians to actually see, in much greater detail, the colour, the flavour and the atmosphere of the Olympics, even without the crowds. Athletes not only from Australia but from around the world did an outstanding job of honouring the Olympic mottos and traditions.

The member for Moreton is also going to be speaking about this, as my co-chair on the Parliamentary Friends of the Olympic Movement in Australia. I know how passionate he is about this as well. Equally, we're excited about the fact that the Olympic Games will be coming to Brisbane in 2032.

Sport unites all Australians and helps us to build long-lasting relationships and stronger communities. This year the Forde electorate was lucky enough to have three athletes competing in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Skye Nicolson made her Olympic debut in the boxing featherweight division, Dina Aspandiyarova completed her fourth Olympic Games in the 10-metre air pistol event, and Tameka Yallop competed alongside her fellow Matildas in her second Olympics. These three athletes have a remarkable history in their individual sports that deserves to be celebrated.

Skye followed in the amazing footsteps of her brother Jamie, who sadly passed away, but did compete in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. Skye also won boxing gold in the Commonwealth Games in 2018 on the Gold Coast. Skye was focused on a gold medal but fell short, and I know this was heartbreaking for her. Who can forget the media interviews after that? But this is just the start of her Olympic career, and I wish her every success for the future. Dina was selected to compete in the Tokyo Olympics after winning the four lead-up events at the trials in the Australian season, with a season-high qualifying score of 575 to lock in her fourth games appearance. Tameka Yallop has been with the Matildas since 2007, and this was her second Olympic Games, following competing at Rio in 2016. I want to thank all three for their tremendous efforts. But I would like to congratulate all of our Olympians for their outstanding success and achievements. Their hard work and determination paid off, with Australia finishing sixth, with 46 medals, including 17 gold medals, which equals the record in Athens. This year we had our biggest team, and our second-biggest team behind the Sydney 2000 games.

The Olympic creed says:

The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.

I can say very safely that all of our athletes upheld that motto to the highest degree. To the AOC president, John Coates; chef de mission, Ian Chesterman; and CEO, Matt Carroll: thank you for your magnificent work. To all the coaches, all the administrators and all the support staff: thank you for the terrific work you did in very difficult circumstances in this COVID environment. Also, we can't forget the Tokyo organising committee for the tremendous work that they did to ensure the games proceeded.

We get to enjoy this again in a couple of weeks, with the Paralympic Games starting on 24 August. I wish everybody in our Paralympics team every success—in particular, Natalie Smith, who will represent Australia in shooting in Tokyo. Natalie, who lives in the electorate of Forde, has previously competed at Rio in 2016 and London in 2012. To everybody involved, I wish you the best success. Thank you for your efforts in doing our country proud.


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