We finish these Games in an exciting place for the future. This is the best performed Australian team at an OWG by many measures.
We didn’t produce gold that’s true, but if you look a little closer you’ll see why I am so pleased with our results at these Games.
We’ve matched the number of medals previously won, but demonstrated a depth of elite results that we have not seen before. We have for the first time 3 new medal winners at one Games.
We have more top six results than ever before – seven - all who made finals. Our medallists are 22, 23 and 23 – and we can expect all to be back in Beijing in 2022.
We had more opportunities than ever before, and I think that depth is the biggest change in the last four years.
The overall results demonstrate the program success we are having in moguls, SBX and HP.
Not only did Matt Graham win silver, we saw Jakara Anthony, just 19, finish 4th and Britt Cox 5th.
Matt was beaten by the greatest mogul skier of all time in Mikal Kingsbury.
In the top six in men and women for moguls, Australia had three athletes. Canada had four and no other country had more than one. We also had a 14 and a 20th.
So it was a highly successful moguls group with so much promise for the future.
Our snowboard cross athletes performed superbly. Three men in one semi final, two in the final, a result of 2nd, 6th and 10th, indicates that this program works.
I particularly congratulate Jarryd and I’m delighted that he will carry the flag for Australia into the Closing Ceremony.
Half pipe also produced two top ten results including the medal for Scotty James. The men’s final was one of the feature events at the Games. In the end Scotty couldn’t beat the greatest of all time in Shaun White, but demonstrated that he is a prodigious talent with an incredible future ahead.
Laura Peel was top five in woman’s aerials and Sami Kennedy Sim’s eighth was a strong result for the Ski Cross team, and could have easily been even better.
Greta Small had the best Alpine result ever by an Australian woman, our cross country had best ever results including a 12 from 21 result in the teams event. Our sliding sports – Luge, Skeleton and Bob – all did us proud.
Our figure skaters inspired us and looked completely at home on the Olympic stage. Harley Windsor created history by becoming our first indigenous Winter Olympian.
Our ice racers gave their all and kept the dream of Olympic representation alive for their sports.
I would also like to record my thanks to one athlete, Lydia Lassila, for her outstanding career over five Olympic Games and for the legacy that she leaves.
Injuries took their toll.
Tess Coady’s unfortunate end remains the low point of the Games for me. An immensely talented 17 year-old was denied her chance to perform in events that were dominated by teenagers. Who knows what might have been.
Russ Henshaw, Brodie Summer and Belle Brockhoff were all handicapped by pre-Games issues, as was Jess Rich, who still managed to finish just one spot out of the finals in Big Air.
Our aerial skiers, so long the back bone of our team at the Winters, missed out on a medal for the first time since 2002. Laura Peel made the final to finish a highly credible 5th. Thanks to Dave Morris for another stellar performance, unlucky to miss progressing through the finals but clearly establishing himself as a champion athlete and a champion person.
The rest of the world is catching up, has caught up, demonstrating the need for our own water ramp facility.
Our athletes are committed and excellent but we are struggling to provide an environment that matches those of their rivals.
Simply, we need a water ramp training venue. Not only will a water ramp be great for our athletes it will bring a major economic boost to the host region with our athletes and international teams visiting to train.
Building a half pipe is also essential and I thank the Federal Government and Sports Minister Bridget McKenzie, for their on-going commitment to these projects. Both are crying out for a home.
The performances both on and off the field of play has been exceptional.
Our team has been thrilled with the support they have received from home. It seems our sports and our athletes have captured the interest and hearts of Australians as never before. The decency of our athletes has been on show for all to see.
I thank all the media here and at home who have embraced our team and shared our stories. Every time an athlete has gone out to compete here in PyeongChang, the Aussie spirit of giving it a go has shone through, and you have provided a platform for our athletes to inspire many at home.
PyeongChang must be congratulated for putting on a wonderful Olympic Winter Games. Everything worked, the Koreans were so friendly and helpful, and the venues were superb.
I thank the AOC staff and team staff who have worked so hard to plan and operate this team.
Let me conclude by saying that I’ve been with our winter team since in Lillehammer in 1994, and it is the best team I have ever been involved in.