Olympic Team Welcome Home Reception

(12.45pm 20 August 2012, Town Hall Steps)

Thank you, Tim Gilbert, MC. I'd like firstly to acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to their Elders. I also acknowledge the people of 200 nations who call our City home.

I'd like to acknowledge The Governor of NSW Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO and Sir Nicholas Shehadie; The Premier of NSW Barry O'Farrell MP and Rosemary O'Farrell; John Coates AC, President Australian Olympic Committee; Nick Green OAM, Chef De Mission 2012 Australian Olympic Team and distinguished guests.

And to our fantastic Olympians - well done, and welcome home!

While the modern Olympics make for an extraordinary global spectacle, the pressures on you have become much greater.

The predictions, the scrutiny, the post-mortems are relentless, and can't be easy to deal with.

Those 241 athletes who competed in the first modern Olympics in 1896 clearly had it much easier!

But if the Olympics, and the Olympic spirit, are to continue to have real meaning, then more than anything, it is the spirit in which you meet and compete that matters.

There were some breathtaking highs for those of us here, barracking for all of you. There were, also, inevitably, some heartbreaking disappointments. But make no mistake - Australia is proud of you all.

Proud of your achievements in reaching for your best, proud of your sportsmanship, proud of your spirit.

Any athlete chosen to represent Australia in an Olympics is already, by definition, an outstanding achiever.

So have your post-mortems if you must, but do it knowing that all of you were wonderful representatives for our country, and that you gave us a great showing.

So once again, well done, welcome home, and enjoy a well-deserved break!

Thank you.