Presentation of the Pierre de Coubertin Awards
Olympian and Acting President, Queensland Olympic Council, Mr Paul Gonzalez; Australian Olympians past and present; 2018 award recipients; ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. Thank you for the warm welcome you have extended to me on this special day.
As Governor and Chief Patron of the Queensland Olympic Council, it gives me great pleasure to join you for the 2018 Pierre de Coubertin Awards Ceremony.
Sports play a vital role in the lives of many young Queenslanders and that is for a very good reason: apart from the countless health benefits of regular physical activity, sports give you a sense of camaraderie and the opportunity to make friends for life.
It doesn’t matter what sports you play or at which level – participation is more important than winning. That is the Olympic spirit.
When Pierre de Coubertin developed the idea of reviving the Olympic Games in the late 19th century, he envisaged sports as a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind.
Pierre de Coubertin placed sports at the service of the harmonious development of humanity, with a view to building a peaceful society and a better world at large by educating youth through sport practiced without discrimination of any kind.
Friendship, solidarity and fair play. It is these values that continue to be at the heart of the Olympic movement and it is these same values that are so marvellously embodied by today’s award winners.
The Pierre de Coubertin Award recognises secondary school students who demonstrate values that are consistent with the Olympic movement through participating in sporting activities.
More than 16,500 young Australians have received the award since its inception in 1993.
Some, including our fellow Queenslanders Bronte Barratt, Alicia Coutts, Cedric Dubler, Brittany Elmslie, Sally Kehoe, Cameron McEvoy, Evania Pelite and Cristina Sheehan, have become acclaimed athletes and competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Much like Gold Coast Commonwealth Games medallists Matt Denny and Katrin Garfoot – two of tonight’s special guests who you will hear from very soon – previous award winners have made us incredibly proud. And boys and girls, so have you.
The Olympic spirit – your Olympic spirit – will serve you well should you ultimately represent Australia at an international level. You have already proven to be exemplary role models for your peers.
I thank your school communities who nominated you for the award, as well as the Australian Olympic Committee, the Queensland Olympic Council and Education Queensland for their effective stewardship.
And I commend you for your fantastic achievement. There is a wonderful future ahead of you.
Well done, indeed!