Media Release by Senator the Hon Jan McLucas

Special Olympics World Summer Games come to a close

Joint Media Release with:

  • Senator Mark Arbib, Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development, Minister for Sport, Minister for Social Housing and Homelessness

Minister for Sport Mark Arbib and Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers Senator Jan McLucas today congratulated the Australian Special Olympics team on their superb efforts as the World Summer Games came to a close in Athens.

More than 7500 athletes from 185 countries, including Australia’s largest ever contingent of 131 participants, took part in a celebratory Closing Ceremony in the Greek capital, topping off a remarkable 10 days of competition at the 13th Special Olympics World Summer Games.

Senator Arbib praised the Australian team for their athleticism and sportsmanship which saw them take home 46 gold, 43 silver, and 32 bronze medals, and finish eighth on the medal tally1.

“The Special Olympics World Summer Games has been one of the biggest international sporting events this year,” Senator Arbib said.

“Our athletes proudly represented Australia on the world stage in aquatics, athletics, basketball, bocce, bowling, football, golf, gymnastics, sailing, softball and tennis.

“While winning a medal is an incredible achievement, all of our athletes are winners. Their performance in Athens showed Australia and the world they are committed athletes and ambassadors to Australia.”

Senator McLucas, who supported the team in Athens, said the Special Olympics World Summer Games were an opportunity for people with intellectual disability to overcome prejudices and demonstrate what they could achieve when given the opportunity.

“The achievements of our Australian team are an inspiration to all,” Senator McLucas said.

“Our athletes have achieved a number of personal best performances and a host of medals across a range of sports, but above all, the courage and commitment shown by our team has been inspirational. Australia should be very proud.

“Our athletes have all proven that disability is no barrier to achieving.”

Senator Arbib and Senator McLucas both paid tribute to Special Olympics Australia for their outstanding effort.

“Congratulations to Special Olympics Australia and their army of volunteers who have worked hard to support our athletes in reaching the World Games.”

Special Olympics Australia is a not-for-profit organisation which supports around 4000 athletes in over 250 sports clubs across Australia.

The Gillard Government is committed to increasing participation in Special Olympic sports, with Senator Arbib recently announcing an additional $100,000 to the Special Olympics in ongoing annual funding.

The additional funding brings the support the Gillard Government provides to the Special Olympics to more than $500,000 a year.

To read more about Australia’s achievements at the Special Olympics, visit

1Official medal tally to be released by Special Olympics International