AOC Thanks Athletes for a Gre... | Australian Olympic Committee

AOC Thanks Athletes for a Great Games

Author imageAOC08 Aug 2021
Australain Olympic Team in Olympic Village

The AOC has thanked the 486 athletes who have created their own special history at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Australia's tally of 17 Gold medals equals the previous high mark achieved in Athens 2004 and the total medal tally of 46 to date is the third highest of all time.

A total of 99 members of the Australian Team took home a medal from 15 sports and 20 disciplines.

"Australians will remember this Team for decades to come. They have made a real and very personal connection with everyone back home. It's been really tough in many communities and the athletes have been very conscious of that over here.

"Their performances and the way they conducted themselves on and off the field of play has been superb. I am very proud of this group of young people. We talk about resilience and determination. These Olympic athletes have those qualities in spades.

"Australians have taken this group into their hearts because they recognised both their personal stories and their endeavour, be that a medal, a personal best, displays of bravery or those moments of emotion in victory or disappointment.

"While the medal tally was exceptional, the personal bests, the new national records and the many results that saw Australians finish just out of the medals, further demonstrated that this was a high performing Team.

"Even though these Games were so different from any other, the way athletes from all sports supported each other made this Olympics a memorable experience for everyone in the Australian Olympic Team.

"I really thank each and every athlete, and pay tribute to their family, friends and support network that helped them to become an Olympian. You gave your best and you did us proud. You represented your country with distinction and gave great joy to so many at home enduring a difficult time."

High Performance Environment

Mr Chesterman said the approach going into these Games had been targeted to contribute to the Team's success.

"Most important was our philosophy of empowering sports to run their own program to the benefit of their athletes.

"Our sports, their high performance and coaching staff did a magnificent job.

"This has been underpinned by creating an innovative set-up within the Village to make the athletes, coaches and support staff feel comfortable and provide them the best possible nutrition and recovery services. Without doubt our allotment was the envy of all the nations here.


"Our athlete and sport focus was supported by incredibly committed staff who were always there with a smile, but most importantly to smooth the way when logistical challenges appeared.

"From the outset of our planning we sought to provide the best possible high performance environment to allow our Team to focus on achieving their goals. That we all achieved that, in spite of the huge curveball delivered by the arrival of COVID into our lives, is very satisfying to all involved.

Keeping the Team Safe

"The second objective was to ensure we could get our athletes safely to the Games, keep them safe while they were here and then get them home safely to their families and communities. We had zero COVID cases throughout these Games.

Mr Chesterman said complying with the requirements of the Japanese authorities was a significant requirement taken very seriously by the AOC and Team management. The Australian Team also put in place an additional layer of safety protocols to ensure our athletes could achieve their Olympic goals.

"This was a major burden on these athletes, but one they gladly were prepared to bear in order to compete here and achieve their Olympic dreams. It impacted on every aspect of their journey to the Games, competition and return home and we are very proud of the way the athletes responded."

Team Culture

Mr Chesterman said the feedback from the athletes has painted a picture of great unity and cohesion in the cohort across the 33 sports contested by Australians at these Tokyo Games.

"We empowered athletes to maintain their own identity, such as being a Dolphin or a Kookaburra, while also embracing their place in the overall Australian team.

"When they arrived, they witnessed first-hand the performance focus and realised we were all there to achieve the same objectives and they delighted in being part of the bigger team, and in supporting others.

"The Village environment certainly added to this feel that we were all in this together. The common spaces, the barista, the outdoor TV lounge, the performance pantry food services all gave spaces and opportunities to engage with people from different sports.

"The incorporation of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait island aspects into our Village decoration and layout was another unifying factor. The work of our Olympian Services team, which included Olympian and First Nations athlete, Kyle Vander Kuyp, did a wonderful job making all team members feel very welcome.

"There is also no doubt that the rough ride of enduring a postponement and the ongoing uncertainty if the Games would take place certainly created a shared sense of purpose for our athletes and support staff. The great mutual respect this group had for each other shone through every day.

"While focused on achieving their personal goals, you could feel the collective purpose in the Village. Success breeds success and everybody rode the wave of our early results.

Australia's Sporting Future

The performance of the Australian Team at the Tokyo Games has laid the perfect foundation to drive the Australian Olympic Committee's 10+10 sport investment plan.

The Team's results and inspiration have turbo charged our strategy of utilising the power of sport to get more kids playing sport to head off obesity, mental health issues and inspire the next generation of Olympians.

"With this momentum, now is the time to reset the partnership between the sports, governments and other sectors who will benefit from the 10 year green and gold runway to Brisbane 2032 as we build a sustainable system that serves us for the 10 years after those Games.

"In saying this, I thank the Federal and State Governments for their investment in the athletes and the sports who have competed at these Games. I pay particular tribute to the Australian Institute of Sport and the network of sport institutes in each state.

"That investment has been returned in spades and with just a bit more in the right places, these Olympians and their sports will deliver so much more for Australia over the next ten years plus ten."

How Australians Watched

Australia's Olympic campaign shattered viewing records for broadcaster Channel Seven on both its main channel and 7plus.

Up until the final session on Friday 6 August, Australians had watched more than 4.3 billion minutes on 7plus, making it the biggest digital event in Australian history.

Since the Opening Ceremony on Friday 23 July, 19.95 million Australians have watched Seven's coverage of Tokyo 2020 – with 40% also watching on 7plus.

Across first 14 days, average full day Olympic broadcast audience is up 76% in the capital cities on Rio 2016 and up 67% nationally, and for the first time ever the audience share grew in the second week. The Opening Ceremony is the most-watched TV program of 2021, with a total audience of 3.85 million viewers nationally, including time-shift and BVOD audiences.

The AOC's digital figures are our greatest ever with AUSOlympicTeam Instagram figures increasing by 112%, Twitter 55% and 145,000 followers on our new TikTok account, with more than 8 million web page views recorded.

Thank You Japan

Mr Chesterman paid tribute to the Japanese people for making the Games possible for the Australian Team and for the warm treatment the Team received through its stay in Japan.

"To the Japanese people, we say thank you. You achieved what many thought was impossible. We were treated with great courtesy and helpfulness at all times by those we came into contact with, in the Village and the venues. And we congratulate the Japanese Olympic Team which performed so magnificently at their home Games."

Mr Chesterman also paid tribute to the support of the Deputy Chefs de Mission Evelyn Halls, Susie O'Neill and Kenny Wallace.

"All are Olympians, they were dedicated to creating the right environment for performance and were an enormous support to me. Their presence around the Village and at multiple venues throughout the Games was really appreciated by the athletes."

"Our national federations were our true partners. They, too, had to overcome so many obstacles on the road to Tokyo. Their dedication created the opportunity for the athletes to be here and their high performance staff planned meticulously for success.

"Without doubt the greatest contributor to our success was the incredible work of coaches and support staff along with our amazing and inspiring athletes.

"My thanks also go to the many volunteers who lent their expertise across a range of critical functions and absolutely provided a critical edge. They worked in operations, medical, performance services and media, their enthusiasm never faltered and our Olympians greatly appreciated their support.

"Finally I thank Matt Carroll, our CEO, and his incredible staff at the AOC. Getting a team to an Olympics in the middle of a global pandemic was a huge undertaking. They never wavered.

Then on the ground here they created an exceptional environment and worked to support our sports and our athletes while those back in Australia worked to welcome them home and celebrate the successes," Mr Chesterman concluded.

The Games in numbers can be found here.

Top Stories