The sails of the Opera House will be lit with projections of the faces of Australia’s Olympic and Paralympic champions this weekend.
The tribute, which will be livestreamed for people at home from 6.30pm on Sunday, comes as the Paralympics Closing Ceremony draws to a close on Sunday.
NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian said that the projection 5½ hour event was a ‘fitting tribute’ for the 665 Australian athletes who represented the country at this years’ games in Tokyo, Japan.
“Our athletes have done us all proud on the global stage and their achievements have inspired us all in these challenging times,” Berejiklian said.
“All 665 athletes will be projected onto the Sydney Opera House so they can each have their moment on the famous sails.”
In the absence of a glorious welcome home parade, as is the custom after most Olympic Games, NSW sport minister Natalie Ward said lighting the Opera House sails with the faces of the champions was the next best thing.
“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,” Ward said.
“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,” she added.
Alister Henskens, the state’s minister for disability services, said that Australia’s Paralympians in particular ‘show us the best of the human spirit’.
“This is a moment for every Australian to show gratitude and support to all our Olympians and Paralympians,” Henskens said.
Arts minister Don Harwin encouraged people to tune-in for the Opera House display on Sunday, as a mark of respect for athletes who showed ‘the true Olympic spirit’ during the difficult circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“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,” Harwin said.