Australian Short Track Skating Relay Team Bronze Medal
AUSTRALIAN SHORT TRACK SKATING RELAY TEAM BRONZE MEDAL
Mr MOSS (Canterbury) [5.29]: My most pleasant task tonight is to pay tribute to the endeavours of four young Australians who since last weekend have been fondly called the bronzed Aussies. I am referring to the fantastic achievement at the Lillehammer Winter Olympics of Andrew Murther, Kieran Hansen, Richard Nizielski and Stephen Bradbury, who are known throughout Australia and worldwide as winners of the bronze medal in the
men's short track 5,000 metre skating relay. That achievement was most exciting for all Australians. The team made history - the first time Australia has won a medal at a Winter Olympics.
It was also exciting because at these Olympics Australia was up there with the other successful countries; in fact I think we came 22nd overall. On the one hand that might not sound all that good, but when you consider that 66 nations competed at the Winter Olympics, our 22nd placing put us in the top one-third of nations. That is a great achievement in the Winter Olympics for sunny Australia, and we have the men's relay team to thank for that achievement. My constituents and I were doubly pleased because a team of our local boys were successful. I say that because although these young men live in various cities - in fact two of the four skaters live interstate - all of them have trained at the Canterbury olympic rink at different times. In fact Andrew Murtha and Kieren Hansen still train at Canterbury, and Andrew Murtha is an employee of Canterbury Council.
I also want to congratulate the Canterbury rink on the part it has played in the Olympics and on its contribution to skating. The rink has been operating for more than 20 years now, and is currently being upgraded to international standard. It is successful because it is run by a co-operative that I believe is very dedicated to skating as a sport, as an art form and as a recreational activity. The rink caters for figure skating, speed skating and ice hockey. It has a skating club that accommodates all ages and stages of skating. It is a great venue for beginners, advanced skaters and, of course, highly skilled skaters. The rink's success is reflected in the composition of this skating team at the 1994 Olympics, with half of the team coming from the Canterbury ice rink. Steven and Danielle Carr, the brother and sister Australian figure skating pairs champions, also hail from the Canterbury ice rink, and of course the Carrs once again at these Olympics brought great credit to Australia.
All who represented Australia at the Lillehammer Games deserve the praise of this Parliament and I am sure my comments are endorsed by all members. But once again I want to single out the achievement of the men's relay team, who over the years have been very ably assisted by the staff, the coaches and the facilities at the Canterbury ice rink. The relay team has our applause for putting Australia on the map in terms of winter Olympic fame.
Mr CAUSLEY (Clarence - Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, and Minister for Mines) [5.32]: I join with the honourable member for Canterbury in congratulating the men's speed relay team, which did extremely well. I acknowledge also Kirstie Marshall, who went very close. I am sure that all of Australia was hoping that she could have succeeded in that final jump, after having performed well on her first attempt. For such a small country that does not have the facilities or the climate of some other countries, whose people are virtually born on the ice and spend most of their time on it, we did very well. Certainly members on this side of the House join with the honourable member for Canterbury in congratulating all those concerned.