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Motion - the Tasmanians Competing in the Tokyo Olympic Games

Tuesday 24 August 2021

[11.40 a.m.]

Ms HOWLETT (Prosser - Minister for Sport and Recreation) - Mr President, I move that the Legislative Council -

1. Acknowledges our Tasmanian athletes who represented Australia at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

2. Pays tribute to their dedication and hard work in realising their Olympic dream.

3. Congratulates them all on a successful Olympic campaign with seven Olympic medals being won by Tasmanian athletes across a range of sports; and

4. Recognises them as inspirational role models for our young Tasmanian athletes.

[3.18 p.m.]

Ms ARMITAGE (Launceston) - Mr President, what a thrill it is to be able to get up and speak on a motion as universally loved as this one. There is so much we can say about these inspirational Tasmanians, but I will also keep my comments brief. Nine Tasmanians were selected to represent Australia at the 2021 Tokyo Olympic games, as has been mentioned, Stewart McSweyn for athletics, Daniel Watkins for the canoe slalom, Georgia Baker and Richard Porte for cycling, Jacob Birtwhistle for the triathlon, Eddie Ockendon for hockey, Sarah Hawe for rowing, Ariarne Titmus for swimming and Nathaniel Atkinson for football. In addition to this, Ciona Wilson and Josh Beltz were selected as travelling reserves for the rowing and hockey events respectively. Tasmanian-born Chris Goulding was selected for the Australian Boomers basketball team.

I have earlier this morning spoken about the incredible achievements of Ariarne Titmus and her performance in the pool at the Tokyo Olympics and the work that had gone into her career beforehand. What all the Tasmanians have in common is the hard work that goes on behind the scenes and the endless amounts of support they receive from their friends, family, coaches, sports therapists and team mates. Achieving wins and winning medals are of course, the ultimate goals of competing in Olympic events, the Commonwealth Games or any other competition. Mental fortitude is just as needed as physical skill. While we laud our winners, I want to ensure that no matter whether you come home from the Olympics with a medal or not, merely being there and performing at a world-class level is, in and of itself, an absolute inspiration. The long hours of training, of doing tasks over and over again to build strength and skill, to get better and become the best, is a characteristic which I feel can be overlooked.

Performance at the Olympics is just the tip of the iceberg of the hard work and endless time that goes on into honing their athletic skill.

I note that the Australian Olympic team also had the highest percentage of female athletes to compete in the Tokyo Games with 53 per cent. To this end, I pay tribute to our own sports minister, Jane Howlett, who does a stellar job at promoting sports, recreation and wellbeing in Tasmania.

Of course, we are so proud of the achievements of our Olympians, each and every one of them. As was mentioned I think by the member for Hobart initially, whether you were in this Olympics or previous Olympics - and I must admit while I have no particular sporting skills, my niece Donna MacFarlane, is an Olympian and has been to the Olympics. Unfortunately, she did not come back with a medal but was a very talented hurdler and I know the time and effort put in by Donna, all the work and effort to actually get to that achievement.

Who would have thought that we would have such incredible high-flyers competing on the world stage or from little old Tasmania? I look forward to the Paralympics. Looking at the competitors from Tasmania we have Alexandra Viney, as was mentioned from rowing; Todd Hodgetts, athletics. They join Deon Kenzie, athletics, as the three Tasmanian athletes selected.

The Paralympics have already started and, as mentioned by the member for Prosser - I was thinking Howlett and I am thinking 'no'. Looking at the member I was remembering her surname and forgetting the actual area. But I do look forward to another motion coming forward where we can go over and we can look over all the wonderful achievements of the Paralympics. I am quite sure that many people will be glued to the screens just as we have been with the more able-bodied Olympians, to actually watch those who have been selected. It is a wonderful achievement to be selected to any Olympics, the Paralympics as well, so I am certainly looking forward to those and I certainly note the motion before us.

Motion agreed to.


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