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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 10 Hansard (22 September) . . Page.. 4383..


The organisers of the Olympic volunteer 10-year reunion, led by Alan Lee, were Cindy Young, Graham Gittins, Stephen McIntyre and John Smith. I would like to thank them for their hard work and contribution to what turned out to be a great night of celebration and reminiscing, of rekindling friendships that the 10-year gap had not diminished. Thanks also to Neale Guthrie, the General Manager of the Canberra Stadium, Paul Smailes, the catering manager, and Bill Poulos from Coca-Cola for their generous contributions to the volunteers reunion. Special guests were the President of the ACT Olympic Council, Mr Robin Poke, and Brendan Lynch, who was head of the SOCOG national volunteer program in Sydney for the Sydney 2000 games.

The Olympic journey for Canberra really began on 20 December 1996. The Canberra Times carried a front-page story headed "ACT to host Olympic soccer". That headline was the tip of the iceberg for the enormous planning and the effort of the ACT government—and, it has to be said, the vision of then Chief Minister Kate Carnell. In paying tribute to the ACT Olympic volunteers, I would like to recognise the efforts of Kate Carnell—her vision, to see the possibilities; her constant determination to succeed for Canberra; and her courage to stand by her vision, a vision that afforded all of us in Canberra the opportunity to experience one of the greatest sporting events in our history, Olympic Games participation here in Canberra at the magnificent new Bruce stadium.

During those heady days from 13 to 24 September, we experienced firsthand the involvement, the honour and the privilege of Olympic participation when packed ACTION buses carried the thousands of spectators to Bruce, where, despite doomsayers' predictions, the security was superb. The crowd gained speedy entry to the stadium because of the involvement of the volunteers with the police and security colleagues. Our 650 ACT Olympic volunteers participated with unbelievable energy and enthusiasm that motivated and energised the Canberra community and also the government agencies. We all worked together to promote our city and our Olympic participation.

Interstate and international visitors were amazed by the friendliness of our so-called soulless city. We all worked as one and the Olympic spirit was in evidence, not only at the stadium but throughout Canberra. Who will forget the way the Olympic Games football in Canberra galvanised the whole Canberra community and instilled into each of us a great sense of pride and achievement?

Over 100,000 spectators attended the six nights of Olympic football tournament at Bruce, while an estimated 400 million households in China, Brazil, Germany, Japan, the United States, South Africa, Cameroon, Nigeria, Norway, the Czech Republic and Slovakia watched it on television. In other words, we had the opportunity to showcase Canberra to the world as never before. In the process, we not only witnessed a football spectacle but shared in the unique Olympic experience. Our international visitors were all very much impressed with the Bruce stadium as a superb Olympic venue, Canberra as a beautiful modern city and the friendship and hospitality shown to them by the Canberra community.


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