Welcome Home to Our Olympic Heroes Sat 25 August 2012 Michelle O'Byrne Minister for Sport and Recreation Damon Thomas Lord Mayor of Hobart Download hi-res version The Minister for Sport and Recreation, Michelle O'Byrne, and the Lord Mayor of Hobart, Damon Thomas, today welcomed home 25 of Australia's Olympic athletes and four Tasmanian Olympic officials at a public event in Hobart. Ms O'Byrne congratulated them all for representing Australia with such distinction. "As Olympic athletes they are the best of the best and their success in reaching the pinnacle of their chosen sport is the result of extraordinary commitment and hard work," Ms O'Byrne said. "They have trained long and hard, competed fiercely and sacrificed much to achieve their Olympic dream. "By competing in London they have much to be proud of, including the inspiration and motivation they provide for us all." Ms O'Byrne also paid tribute to the Tasmanian athletes, 11 of whom were at the reception today. "They were part of a record number of 15 Tasmanian Olympians in London and they did their state and country proud. "I would personally like to thank Paul Austen and his team at the Tasmanian Institute of Sport for their tireless efforts throughout this journey." Ms O'Byrne said it is important to strive for and celebrate sporting excellence. "Sport is one of our society's great connectors. "It brings people together. It provides hope, inspiration and support to people. "And it teaches us important life skills such as cooperation, teamwork, trust and how to win and lose with dignity and grace." Alderman Thomas said being in London for the 2012 London Games as a father to watch his son's performance was an awesome experience. "While sitting in the massive stadium of 80,000 people and surrounded by a sea of Union Jacks with perhaps just 10 Australian flags was quite humbling, it was wonderful to see the green and gold performing so well," he said. "It is vitally important for us to recognise the blood, sweat and tears of our returning Olympians who have given of their best, not just for themselves but for our state and our country."Alderman Thomas said he wanted to acknowledge and congratulate all the Tasmanians who attended the Games as athletes, team officials and coaches.