This Sunday, 5 September at 6.30pm (AEST), in recognition of the achievements of the Olympic and Paralympic athletes, the NSW Government in conjunction with the Australian Olympic Committee and Paralympics Australia will light up the Sydney Opera House with the faces of all 665 athletes that have represented Australia at the two Games in Tokyo.
Each Olympic and Paralympic athlete will be individually projected on to the iconic Opera House sails for approximately 30 seconds, resulting in a show that will last over five and a half hours, which can be watched from home.
A NSW Government photographer will capture the projection of each athlete. These photographs will then be offered as gifts to the athletes for representing Australia at the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Previously, the NSW Government has welcomed the athletes’ home with a parade through the city, but this year with COVID restrictions in place the parade is not possible. This unique event will be in place of a parade and will be streamed live online in its entirety. Sydney residents are encouraged to watch our athletes from home, as spectators will not be permitted.
AOC CEO Matt Carroll AM thanked the Premier and NSW Government for this unique and historic way of honouring this diverse and remarkable Olympic and Paralympic Teams.
“This Olympic Team is not only one of the most successful Teams to leave Australia but one that inspired the nation over the 16 days of the Games. A Team that faced down the adversity of the pandemic and represented Australia with true sportsmanship and modesty. A truly diverse team with the highest participation of women and the most Indigenous athletes ever selected.
“Inspiring athletes like 5-time gold medallist Emma McKeon, flag bearer Patty Mills, Peter Bol’s uplifting race and Cedric Dubler looking after his mate. These stories opened the hearts and minds of Australians showing us that sport can bring us all closer together and celebrate what is great about this nation.”
“I would like to thank the NSW Government for giving us this historic opportunity to showcase our extraordinary Team on one of Australia’s most iconic landmarks. This is a really great tribute to a Team Australians will celebrate for decades to come.”
Newly crowned Olympic gold medallist, NSW resident and Canoe Slalom athlete Jess Fox was excited by the news about the prospect of being honoured on the Sydney Opera House.
“I was so excited to hear about this, I’m currently in Spain on the World Cup tour and not able to be at home for any of the celebrations.”
“It’s so great to be included in this way and to have this real connection to the entire Team and the opportunity to witness it live from Europe.”
“This is just such an amazing honour and a wonderful tribute for our Aussie Olympic and Paralympic athletes to be projected onto an Australian Icon!”
Tokyo Olympian, gold medallist and rower from the regional town of Nyngan Jack Hargreaves, was also excited to hear about the honour.
“Coming from a regional town it wouldn’t be easy for friends and family to make it down to Sydney for a welcome home. This is great way to enjoy the celebrations and one that everyone at home will appreciate.”
“I’m truly honoured that the NSW Government is taking this opportunity and I can’t wait to see the Team on the sails tonight.”
Minister for Sport Natalie Ward said the virtual tribute was a fitting way to mark the athletes’ success, with welcome home receptions, ceremonies and ticker tape parades unable to be held due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“This year’s Olympics and Paralympics gave us all a much-needed lift and so much joy during these difficult times. Every athlete, coach and official should be incredibly proud of their efforts.
“Just as we were all able to watch their fantastic efforts from our living rooms, we can now pay tribute to our Aussie athletes from the safety of our homes.”
Minister for the Arts Don Harwin encouraged every Australian to watch the livestream from home, and pay tribute to the 665 Australian athletes who showed incredible skills at the global competition in difficult COVID circumstances.
“Not only do we thank each athlete, but we thank Japan for putting on an incredible Olympic and Paralympic Games. Thank you Tokyo, for showing the true Olympic spirit. Australia’s landmark building will shine for all of you,” Mr Harwin said.
NSW residents are reminded not to visit the Opera House, but to celebrate from home. The live show will be available below at 6.30pm (AEST).