Speaking at the Special Olympics Australia Winter Games Opening Ceremony 2019
It was a huge honour to speak at the Special Olympics Australia Opening Ceremony to all the amazing athletes who took part in the Winter Games this year. It is a night I'll carry with me forever and this video makes it easy to see why. Their joy for life and for supporting one another is something I think we can all learn from. I may have been there to inspire them, but truly, I am the one who left a better person for the experience.
Here are the words that I shared with them…
I am truly honoured to be here with you all tonight. This is probably one of the most meaningful speeches I’ve given - second only to the day I stood up at my sister’s memorial on 2nd November 2012. That day I stood as a broken little sister, but also an incredibly proud one. Because whilst Nicole may not have not been THE best dancer in the world or THE best journalist, she gave every one of her dreams the very best of her - she showed up, she put in the hard work, she overcame rejection, learned from her failures, pushed outside her comfort zone and never listened to anyone who tried to tell her that her dreams weren’t possible. She’d just smile and say ‘’maybe, but life is too short to not find out’’.So while she left this world too soon at 24 years old, she left winning at life.
Because Nicole defined winning not as being the best but giving your best and that is why we proudly established a Foundation in her honour where we give grants to performers and athletes – some of which who are here tonight - who embody this spirit of chasing their goals with undying passion, courage and commitment regardless of the outcome. And I absolutely love that that is also the spirit of the Special Olympics and something I hope you each commit to keeping alive within you right throughout these Winter Games.
Because whilst you can’t all win medals of gold you can all create moments of gold within your own heart and the hearts of others. You can do this by reaching down and helping up a friend who’s stacked it in the snow or by showing up at that starting line even when you’re feeling nervous. You can create a moment of gold by enjoying a laugh with your friend over a big hot chocolate that leaves you with a milk moustache or by hi-fiving your coach and hugging your mum or dad as you get over the finish line and prove to yourself that you CAN do hard things.
You can create a golden moment by going over and sitting with a fellow athlete you see nervous in the corner and ask if they’re okay. And when they say they can’t do it, you remind them that they can. You can create a moment of gold by taking a big pic of you all in your snow gear and ensure that no one’s left out. And most especially you can create moments of gold by cheering on all of your fellow athletes as they come down the slopes and being at the finish line to greet them with a big congratulations – because no matter what they placed; for giving their best effort, they crossed over the line a winner and in you celebrating that with them, makes you a winner too.
These are golden moments; because they are moments that don’t just highlight your talents but your bravery, your kindness and your compassion. These are our greatest qualities as humans and when we are choosing to act in ways where these qualities shine through that’s when we’re creating moments of gold for ourselves and for those around us.
And the best news is, is that choosing to act in this golden way - with bravery and kindness - is a choice we get to make every minute of every day, and tonight I want to inspire in you all the courage to choose to fill these winter games with as many of these golden moments as possible. That’s what will make it a rich experience where every single one of you leaves these games in the same way my sister left this earth - a winner at what truly matters most in life.