Aussies cast off woes with national lap of honour

 29 Aug 2016 - 10:21

 Aussies cast off woes with national lap of honour
Australian Olympians pose for pictures during official welcome home celebrations at the Sydney Opera House on August 29, 2016. (AFP / SAEED KHAN)

 

Sydney: Australian Olympic athletes cast off their Rio woes as they embarked on a nationwide "Welcome home" tour on Monday, starting with a samba-themed appearance at the Sydney Opera House.

Australia returned with their smallest haul of Olympic medals since Barcelona 1992, a result which has sparked recriminations among sports officials.

But Governor-General Peter Cosgrove praised team members, wearing their green and gold tracksuits, at a special reception before they headed to the Opera House.

"We've celebrated your successes jumping around the lounge room at home, exchanging high fives at the office with people we'd otherwise barely speak to," he said.

He added: "Be in no doubt that all the medals awarded to you as champions in your sports are symbolic for all Australians."

A troupe of Brazilian dancers and drummers joined New South Wales state Premier Mike Baird and Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore in helping celebrate the athletes' efforts at Rio.

At the end of the Games, Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates criticised the policy of picking businessmen to head Olympic sports, and also hit out at funding arrangements for Australian sports bodies.

Australia finished 10th on the Rio medals table -- down from eighth in 2012 -- with eight golds and 29 medals overall, the lowest total since they won 27 at Barcelona 1992.

AFP