Years of training and sacrifice go into the dream of representing your country and today I was proud to meet some of the elite Australian athletes who will fulfill that dream when they compete in the London Paralympic Games.The City of Sydney is throwing our support behind these athletes as an official team sponsor.
Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) CEO Jason Hellwig spoke about the immense amount of preparation that has gone into getting the Australian team ready for the London 2012 Games, and I was joined on stage by goalballer Michelle Rzepecki and basketballers Kylie Gauci and Grant Mizens to talk about their preparations and aspirations.
Grant and fellow Australian gold medal-winning Paralympic athlete, swimmer Katrina Porter, are blogging for the City as they make their final preparations for the Games and throughout the competition in London.
More than 4200 Paralympic athletes from 160 countries will compete across 20 sports in London from 29 August to 9 September.
Australia will field a highly competitive team across 13 sports. We have competed in every Paralympics and the team has finished in the top five on the gold medal tally at every Games since Atlanta in 1996.
I know many people look back on the Sydney Olympic and Paralympic Games with pride. Our City was at its best and we want to ensure there is a continuing legacy from those incredible events.
The City will partner with the Australian Paralympic Committee to raise the profile of the athletes at London 2012 and their achievements during the Games, and we'll host a welcome home celebration in November.
Increasing awareness of the contribution and needs of people living with a disability is an important part of the City of Sydney's role in promoting social inclusion and diversity.
Please join me in wishing our Paralympians good luck in London.