Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 10 Hansard (4 September) . . Page.. 3071 ..
MR HIRD (4.01): Mr Speaker, I move:
That this Assembly congratulates the team of Australians, especially the representatives from the ACT, who competed so successfully at the recent Olympics and Paralympics held in Atlanta, and recognises the hard work and dedication that their success reflects.
Mr Speaker, as I indicated today in a question to the Minister for Sport, I understand that a welcome home parade is to be held to congratulate the Paralympians, who participated in the games in Atlanta earlier this year. The success of our Paralympians comes hot on the heels of the achievements of those Olympic athletes who were welcomed home by Canberrans last week. Twenty thousand Canberrans turned out to show their appreciation.
Canberra Paralympians have come home with 19 medals. Of the 11 Canberra representatives who went to Atlanta, nine won medals, and those who did not win turned in personal best performances, often in trying conditions. I should particularly mention Damien Burroughs of Macquarie, in my electorate, who, at only 17 years of age, set a world record in winning a gold medal in discus throwing. Gemma Dashwood of Weston recorded a remarkable achievement. She won three gold medals and two silver medals in swimming, to be one of Australia's most outstanding competitors. Canberrans should be extremely proud of these courageous athletes, who have made major contributions to the Australian team which, remarkably, finished second to the huge American team in the medal count. To win 42 gold medals in a tally of 106 medals was a remarkable achievement. This parliament should commend the entire team, and particularly the Canberra contingent, who won 19 medals.
While we have all been swept up in the emotion surrounding the courage and tenacity of our Paralympians, let us not forget that there were 22 Canberrans in the most successful Australian team ever to represent this country at an Olympic Games. I know that Canberrans generally had an opportunity to show their appreciation at last week's welcome home ceremony; but this is the first chance that we, as the representatives of the ACT, have had to acknowledge the achievements of these outstanding local athletes. Three of those Canberrans helped to make Olympic history by being members of teams which won medals for the first time. Sally McDermid and Joanne Brown were in the softball team which won bronze, and Fiona Robinson was a member of the women's basketball team which also won bronze for the first time. The most remarkable achievement, of course, was the effort of the Powell sisters - Lisa and Katrina - from Page, also in my electorate, in winning gold medals as members of the women's hockey team. This achievement by sisters must be some sort of a world record.
In terms of percentages, as was indicated by the Minister earlier, we sent from the ACT 8 per cent of the Australian team but won 25 per cent of the gold medals. This was certainly a great effort and by far the best result from any representatives from this area participating in the Olympic Games. To all Canberra members of this great team of young Australians we say, "Well done. Congratulations. Let us hope that you will be back to strive towards the Olympic Games in Sydney in the year 2000".