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Closing Ceremony, 2022 Special Olympics, Australia National Games, Launceston, Tasmania


I would like to begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we meet and pay my respects to their Elders, past and present, emerging leaders and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders gathered here today.

Good afternoon, athletes! Good afternoon, carers, coaches, families, friends and volunteers!

You’ve done it — you have all made it to the finish line of the 2022 Special Olympics, Australia National Games.
Congratulations. It is an outstanding achievement.

What an absolute thrill it is for Linda and me to be here at the Closing Ceremony.

The ceremony is a grand occasion — a celebration of all that has occurred during the Games, since Monday’s Opening Ceremony: of ‘having a go’, of achievement, of friendship, of connections, and of inclusion.

To the athletes — you have done exceptionally well and done yourselves, your families and your communities proud.

The Special Olympics is about participating.

Sure, it’s nice to win. But the real thrill is challenging yourself, of striving to do your best, and in being part of an event like the Special Olympics.

That is an achievement in itself and you should be very proud.

As Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of the Special Olympics, said: ‘Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.’

Well done. You have inspired us all.

There are a few groups of people here today who deserve our collective thanks and praise.

Those responsible for preparing the athletes for competition.

Those who ensured they arrived for their events on time.

The people who ensured that the events ran smoothly and according to the rules.

Those behind the scenes who made the Special Olympics happen.

I’m talking about the wonderful carers, coaches, families, volunteers and staff, partners and supporters of Special Olympics Australia.

All have done an outstanding job and, together, made the Games a resounding success.

A short time ago, the Special Olympics Flag was lowered, signifying the end of competition.

But I say to the athletes in particular: the journey of self-discovery, of challenging yourself through sport and realising what you are capable of, continues.

Remember this day, remember this week — channel what you were able to achieve at these Games into your next challenge.

Go well, well done, and all the best in your future endeavours.