Wednesday, 12 October 2022

It is Rod’s and my great pleasure to welcome you to Government House for the presentation of the Australian Sports Medals to our South Australian Commonwealth Games team.

We also send our warmest wishes to those who could not join us this afternoon because of training commitments. We wish them well in preparations for their upcoming endeavours.

The 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham enthralled us all, with many of us glued to the television, marveling at the sporting achievements and the spectacle of the opening and closing ceremonies.

The Games were a magnificent display of sporting excellence shaped through grit, determination and courage, especially in the face of the challenges posed in recent years by the pandemic.

In evidence too was sports diplomacy in action, forged by nations coming together in friendly rivalry through the bond that is the Commonwealth and the strength through diversity it represents.

Grit, determination and courage lie at the very heart of sportsmanship and represent the power of sport.

You all made Australia proud and I am sure I speak for all Australians in sharing the excitement that came from Australia topping the medal tally.

Day 10 of the Birmingham Games will long be talked about as the day when Australia not only won its 1,000th Commonwealth Games medal, but when our cricketers claimed an historic gold – the first time Women’s T20 cricket was represented at a Commonwealth Games.

You all know, perhaps better than most, that success is never achieved alone. Behind our athletes are coaches, sports scientists, office holders, and those who maintain sporting facilities and services, to name but a few.

The significance of the Australian Sport Medal is that it recognises not only the athletes who represent their country in declared international events, but also the efforts of a range of people who are behind our international sporting achievements.

Rod and I also thank the family and friends who also are there to support your quest for excellence.

Even now, at a distance of many years, I recognise that my time at the University of Adelaide Boat Club, representing my club and my state helped me understand leadership and teamwork and develop a determination to be the best that I could be on and off the water.

I know that it takes extensive and intensive training, commitment and sacrifice to compete in sport at the international level. I admire your tenacity and determination.

You are shining examples of how young people can find their strengths through participation in all levels of sport, whether at community and school level, or at elite level.

Whether you are thinking about retiring or continuing to a new goal, such as the 2024 Paris Olympics, or the 2026 Commonwealth Games in Australia in regional Victoria, Rod and I wish you all the best.