The full Beijing team was launched by a new Prime Minister at Parliament House

The full Australian team for the 2008 Beijing Paralympics was launched at Parliament House in Canberra by the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. The launch was attended by more than 40 federal members of parliament from all parties, the Chinese Ambassador to Australia and a range of invited guests, and representative athletes from every sport. In addition to receiving wide media coverage, the launch helped cement support from federal parliamentarians. Right to left in this photo: Kate Ellis (Minister for Sport), Greg Hartung (APC President), Kevin Rudd (Prime Minister), Therese Rein (wife of the Prime Minister and daughter of pioneer Australian 1957 Stoke Mandeville Games competitor John Rein), Wayne Swann (Federal Treasurer), Zhang Junsai (Chinese Ambassador to Australia), Bill Shorten (Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services).

The Prime Minister announced the largest ever funding increase for Paralympic sport

In the lead-up to the 2007 federal election, Prime Minister John Howard announced that the Federal Government would significantly increase funding to the Australian Paralympic Committee by $3.45m a year, commencing in 2007/08, plus a one-off grant of $1m to assist in televising the 2008 Beijing Games. Howard made the announcement in Sydney on Saturday 20 October, joined by members of the men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams (including Tina McKenzie, left, and Katie Hill, rear) and a large media contingent. The funding increase was in line with a submission made by the APC to the major parties well before the election was called. In total, it represented almost a doubling of federal funding and enabled the APC to invest in targetting new opportunities in medal sports, the creation of a mainstreaming fund, the integration of Paralympic programs within the Australian Institute of Sport and an expanded role for the APC in sports science, sport medicine and athlete services. It also ensured the most comprehensive TV coverage ever of an away Games by the ABC in Beijing. Although Howard’s government lost the election on 24 November, the incoming government honoured the commitment.

A new tagline for an awareness campaign leading to Beijing

The then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) commissioned Woolcott Research to conduct research into community awareness about Paralympic sport and the APC after the 2004 summer Paralympics and the 2006 winter Paralympics. The research showed that the APC had a low profile within Australia, there was little awareness about what it actually did, who funded the organisation and what Paralympic sport actually is. One outcome was that donations to the APC were low and budget allocation from the Federal Government reflected the low level of awareness of Australians generally. In 2007, a plan was created to raise the profile of the Paralympic movement in Australia and increase income through fundraising and government support. Publicis Mojo, the advertising agency used by APC sponsor Toyota, worked with the APC to create the ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ tagline for Australia’s Paralympians and a series of radio, print and TV ads. The APC would use ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ until after the 2008 Games. It was the first of several taglines used by the APC.

An education program would create a base of understanding and support

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, an extensive program in Australian schools created awareness of the Games, Paralympic sport and Australia’s Paralympians. One outcome was that more than 400,000 schoolchildren attended the Sydney Games. After 2000, the Australian Paralympic Committee had the rights to the program but did not have the resources to continue it. In 2007 the APC launched the Telstra Paralympic Education Program to raise awareness among primary school children of Paralympic sport, athletes and values. Key elements were that the program was matched to curriculum requirements in every state and territory and that it was largely delivered online. The program was supported by the Australian Sports Commission and APC sponsor Telstra. By the start of the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, 1,816 primary schools – 22 percent of Australia’s total – had joined the program, with those schools reporting that 282,975 children were involved.

The APC took responsibility for a coordinated approach to classification

Classification is the basis of all Paralympic sport. It is the process whereby athletes are put into classes so that in competition they are competing against others whose impairments have a similar influence on their performance potential. Until the 2004 summer and 2006 winter Paralympics, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) had a policy that the classification of athletes was their personal responsibility and the responsibility of their sport program. In practical terms, this meant that athletes went to the Paralympics and other competitions with uncertain classifications which could be changed before they competed and could see them either classified out – they could not compete at all – or reclassified into a different class. This approach had unfortunate consequences over the years, such as the traumatic Games for the wheelchair rugby team in 2004 and an athlete at the FESPIC Games in 2002 being unable to compete at all. In July 2006, Jenni Cole commenced as the APC’s National Classification Manager and a program was put in place to increase the number of classifiers across all sports in Australia and to ensure that every athlete going to a Games had the most secure possible level of classification. The program was a world first.

Key sponsors and supporters got a firsthand experience of the Games

For the 2000 Sydney Paralympics and since, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) sought to engage key sponsors and other supporters with the Australian team during the Games, to promote an understanding of the Games themselves and of the Australian team and its athletes. At the Torino winter Paralympics the sponsors and supporters group stayed near the Games’ venues in Sestriere and had a number of opportunities to interact with the athletes and team staff. The group included Ron Finneran and Steve Gibb from the APC’s program partner Disabled Wintersport Australia, Peter and Marion Evans (Toyota), Ross Cunningham (Star City), Kim and Judith Clifford (Thredbo Resorts), Belinda Green and Steve Mason (Desert Duel fundraiser organisers), John and Susie Croll (Media Monitors), Anthony Fanning (Healthe) and promotional competition winners Brian and Samuel Hardaker. The group was led by APC Board members Joyce Parzsos, Steve Loader and Justin Holdforth. Most of the group had been or were to become long term supporters of the APC and the Paralympic movement.

After Athens the APC went looking for talent (and found it)

After the Athens Paralympics, it was obvious that the pool of talent required to maintain Australia’s Paralympic standing would not keep replenishing itself. As sports were ‘mainstreamed’ and became the responsibility of national federations, there were calls, especially from athletics head coach Scott Goodman, for the Australian Paralympic Committee to use its expertise and experience to coordinate a national talent identification program. The APC’s ‘Talent Search’ program commenced with a ‘come and try’ day in March 2005 in Newcastle, NSW, at the University of Newcastle conducted by Paralympian Amy Winters and program manager Kellie Puxty. Amazingly, one of the attendees at that day, Kath Proudfoot, went on to become the first athlete identified through the program to win a Paralympic medal when she won a silver medal in the discus at the Beijing summer Paralympics. By the Beijing Games, 72 Talent Search activities had been conducted, with 1,008 participants. Of these, 127 were identified at ‘tier one’ athletes (future elite potential within two years) and 395 as ‘tier two’ athletes (elite potential within four years). Fifty-three Talent Search athletes were part of the Paralympic Preparation Program in the year leading into the Beijing Games, with 27 Talent Search athletes being selected in the Australian Paralympic Team and 15 of these winning medals at their first Paralympic Games. The program had been a success and over the years continued to contribute an increasing number of athletes to Australian teams.

To help create identity, the Australian Team would have its own logo

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, the then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) saw the need to create a strong team identity and culture for the Australian team. After all, the recent 1996 summer Paralympics had been the first Games where the team was not composed of a number of ‘teams within the team’ based on disability grouping. One element of the team building process was the creation of a logo for the 2000 Australian Paralympic team, which was based on the APC logo that had been created the year before. The logo was used extensively in the lead-up to the Games and featured on elements of the team uniform.

And a visit from the APF President

The President of the Australian Paralympic Federation, Bob McCullough, is joined by Team staff during a visit to the Games Village at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games. McCullough was a controversial figure who was overseeing a revolution in the structure and management of Paralympic sport in Australia that had been brought about by the dire financial position of the APF, then the awarding of the 2000 Olympics and Paralympics to Sydney and the subsequent boost in funding and support. Left to right: Peter Kelly (team Media Director), Paul Bird (Assistant Chef de Mission, Administration), Bob McCullough and an unknown Team liaison officer.

The full Beijing team was launched by a new Prime Minister at Parliament House

The full Australian team for the 2008 Beijing Paralympics was launched at Parliament House in Canberra by the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. The launch was attended by more than 40 federal members of parliament from all parties, the Chinese Ambassador to Australia and a range of invited guests, and representative athletes from every sport. In addition to receiving wide media coverage, the launch helped cement support from federal parliamentarians. Right to left in this photo: Kate Ellis (Minister for Sport), Greg Hartung (APC President), Kevin Rudd (Prime Minister), Therese Rein (wife of the Prime Minister and daughter of pioneer Australian 1957 Stoke Mandeville Games competitor John Rein), Wayne Swann (Federal Treasurer), Zhang Junsai (Chinese Ambassador to Australia), Bill Shorten (Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services).

The Prime Minister announced the largest ever funding increase for Paralympic sport

In the lead-up to the 2007 federal election, Prime Minister John Howard announced that the Federal Government would significantly increase funding to the Australian Paralympic Committee by $3.45m a year, commencing in 2007/08, plus a one-off grant of $1m to assist in televising the 2008 Beijing Games. Howard made the announcement in Sydney on Saturday 20 October, joined by members of the men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams (including Tina McKenzie, left, and Katie Hill, rear) and a large media contingent. The funding increase was in line with a submission made by the APC to the major parties well before the election was called. In total, it represented almost a doubling of federal funding and enabled the APC to invest in targetting new opportunities in medal sports, the creation of a mainstreaming fund, the integration of Paralympic programs within the Australian Institute of Sport and an expanded role for the APC in sports science, sport medicine and athlete services. It also ensured the most comprehensive TV coverage ever of an away Games by the ABC in Beijing. Although Howard’s government lost the election on 24 November, the incoming government honoured the commitment.

A new tagline for an awareness campaign leading to Beijing

The then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) commissioned Woolcott Research to conduct research into community awareness about Paralympic sport and the APC after the 2004 summer Paralympics and the 2006 winter Paralympics. The research showed that the APC had a low profile within Australia, there was little awareness about what it actually did, who funded the organisation and what Paralympic sport actually is. One outcome was that donations to the APC were low and budget allocation from the Federal Government reflected the low level of awareness of Australians generally. In 2007, a plan was created to raise the profile of the Paralympic movement in Australia and increase income through fundraising and government support. Publicis Mojo, the advertising agency used by APC sponsor Toyota, worked with the APC to create the ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ tagline for Australia’s Paralympians and a series of radio, print and TV ads. The APC would use ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ until after the 2008 Games. It was the first of several taglines used by the APC.

An education program would create a base of understanding and support

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, an extensive program in Australian schools created awareness of the Games, Paralympic sport and Australia’s Paralympians. One outcome was that more than 400,000 schoolchildren attended the Sydney Games. After 2000, the Australian Paralympic Committee had the rights to the program but did not have the resources to continue it. In 2007 the APC launched the Telstra Paralympic Education Program to raise awareness among primary school children of Paralympic sport, athletes and values. Key elements were that the program was matched to curriculum requirements in every state and territory and that it was largely delivered online. The program was supported by the Australian Sports Commission and APC sponsor Telstra. By the start of the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, 1,816 primary schools – 22 percent of Australia’s total – had joined the program, with those schools reporting that 282,975 children were involved.

The APC took responsibility for a coordinated approach to classification

Classification is the basis of all Paralympic sport. It is the process whereby athletes are put into classes so that in competition they are competing against others whose impairments have a similar influence on their performance potential. Until the 2004 summer and 2006 winter Paralympics, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) had a policy that the classification of athletes was their personal responsibility and the responsibility of their sport program. In practical terms, this meant that athletes went to the Paralympics and other competitions with uncertain classifications which could be changed before they competed and could see them either classified out – they could not compete at all – or reclassified into a different class. This approach had unfortunate consequences over the years, such as the traumatic Games for the wheelchair rugby team in 2004 and an athlete at the FESPIC Games in 2002 being unable to compete at all. In July 2006, Jenni Cole commenced as the APC’s National Classification Manager and a program was put in place to increase the number of classifiers across all sports in Australia and to ensure that every athlete going to a Games had the most secure possible level of classification. The program was a world first.

Key sponsors and supporters got a firsthand experience of the Games

For the 2000 Sydney Paralympics and since, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) sought to engage key sponsors and other supporters with the Australian team during the Games, to promote an understanding of the Games themselves and of the Australian team and its athletes. At the Torino winter Paralympics the sponsors and supporters group stayed near the Games’ venues in Sestriere and had a number of opportunities to interact with the athletes and team staff. The group included Ron Finneran and Steve Gibb from the APC’s program partner Disabled Wintersport Australia, Peter and Marion Evans (Toyota), Ross Cunningham (Star City), Kim and Judith Clifford (Thredbo Resorts), Belinda Green and Steve Mason (Desert Duel fundraiser organisers), John and Susie Croll (Media Monitors), Anthony Fanning (Healthe) and promotional competition winners Brian and Samuel Hardaker. The group was led by APC Board members Joyce Parzsos, Steve Loader and Justin Holdforth. Most of the group had been or were to become long term supporters of the APC and the Paralympic movement.

After Athens the APC went looking for talent (and found it)

After the Athens Paralympics, it was obvious that the pool of talent required to maintain Australia’s Paralympic standing would not keep replenishing itself. As sports were ‘mainstreamed’ and became the responsibility of national federations, there were calls, especially from athletics head coach Scott Goodman, for the Australian Paralympic Committee to use its expertise and experience to coordinate a national talent identification program. The APC’s ‘Talent Search’ program commenced with a ‘come and try’ day in March 2005 in Newcastle, NSW, at the University of Newcastle conducted by Paralympian Amy Winters and program manager Kellie Puxty. Amazingly, one of the attendees at that day, Kath Proudfoot, went on to become the first athlete identified through the program to win a Paralympic medal when she won a silver medal in the discus at the Beijing summer Paralympics. By the Beijing Games, 72 Talent Search activities had been conducted, with 1,008 participants. Of these, 127 were identified at ‘tier one’ athletes (future elite potential within two years) and 395 as ‘tier two’ athletes (elite potential within four years). Fifty-three Talent Search athletes were part of the Paralympic Preparation Program in the year leading into the Beijing Games, with 27 Talent Search athletes being selected in the Australian Paralympic Team and 15 of these winning medals at their first Paralympic Games. The program had been a success and over the years continued to contribute an increasing number of athletes to Australian teams.

To help create identity, the Australian Team would have its own logo

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, the then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) saw the need to create a strong team identity and culture for the Australian team. After all, the recent 1996 summer Paralympics had been the first Games where the team was not composed of a number of ‘teams within the team’ based on disability grouping. One element of the team building process was the creation of a logo for the 2000 Australian Paralympic team, which was based on the APC logo that had been created the year before. The logo was used extensively in the lead-up to the Games and featured on elements of the team uniform.

And a visit from the APF President

The President of the Australian Paralympic Federation, Bob McCullough, is joined by Team staff during a visit to the Games Village at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games. McCullough was a controversial figure who was overseeing a revolution in the structure and management of Paralympic sport in Australia that had been brought about by the dire financial position of the APF, then the awarding of the 2000 Olympics and Paralympics to Sydney and the subsequent boost in funding and support. Left to right: Peter Kelly (team Media Director), Paul Bird (Assistant Chef de Mission, Administration), Bob McCullough and an unknown Team liaison officer.

The full Beijing team was launched by a new Prime Minister at Parliament House

The full Australian team for the 2008 Beijing Paralympics was launched at Parliament House in Canberra by the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. The launch was attended by more than 40 federal members of parliament from all parties, the Chinese Ambassador to Australia and a range of invited guests, and representative athletes from every sport. In addition to receiving wide media coverage, the launch helped cement support from federal parliamentarians. Right to left in this photo: Kate Ellis (Minister for Sport), Greg Hartung (APC President), Kevin Rudd (Prime Minister), Therese Rein (wife of the Prime Minister and daughter of pioneer Australian 1957 Stoke Mandeville Games competitor John Rein), Wayne Swann (Federal Treasurer), Zhang Junsai (Chinese Ambassador to Australia), Bill Shorten (Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services).

The Prime Minister announced the largest ever funding increase for Paralympic sport

In the lead-up to the 2007 federal election, Prime Minister John Howard announced that the Federal Government would significantly increase funding to the Australian Paralympic Committee by $3.45m a year, commencing in 2007/08, plus a one-off grant of $1m to assist in televising the 2008 Beijing Games. Howard made the announcement in Sydney on Saturday 20 October, joined by members of the men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams (including Tina McKenzie, left, and Katie Hill, rear) and a large media contingent. The funding increase was in line with a submission made by the APC to the major parties well before the election was called. In total, it represented almost a doubling of federal funding and enabled the APC to invest in targetting new opportunities in medal sports, the creation of a mainstreaming fund, the integration of Paralympic programs within the Australian Institute of Sport and an expanded role for the APC in sports science, sport medicine and athlete services. It also ensured the most comprehensive TV coverage ever of an away Games by the ABC in Beijing. Although Howard’s government lost the election on 24 November, the incoming government honoured the commitment.

A new tagline for an awareness campaign leading to Beijing

The then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) commissioned Woolcott Research to conduct research into community awareness about Paralympic sport and the APC after the 2004 summer Paralympics and the 2006 winter Paralympics. The research showed that the APC had a low profile within Australia, there was little awareness about what it actually did, who funded the organisation and what Paralympic sport actually is. One outcome was that donations to the APC were low and budget allocation from the Federal Government reflected the low level of awareness of Australians generally. In 2007, a plan was created to raise the profile of the Paralympic movement in Australia and increase income through fundraising and government support. Publicis Mojo, the advertising agency used by APC sponsor Toyota, worked with the APC to create the ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ tagline for Australia’s Paralympians and a series of radio, print and TV ads. The APC would use ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ until after the 2008 Games. It was the first of several taglines used by the APC.

An education program would create a base of understanding and support

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, an extensive program in Australian schools created awareness of the Games, Paralympic sport and Australia’s Paralympians. One outcome was that more than 400,000 schoolchildren attended the Sydney Games. After 2000, the Australian Paralympic Committee had the rights to the program but did not have the resources to continue it. In 2007 the APC launched the Telstra Paralympic Education Program to raise awareness among primary school children of Paralympic sport, athletes and values. Key elements were that the program was matched to curriculum requirements in every state and territory and that it was largely delivered online. The program was supported by the Australian Sports Commission and APC sponsor Telstra. By the start of the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, 1,816 primary schools – 22 percent of Australia’s total – had joined the program, with those schools reporting that 282,975 children were involved.

The APC took responsibility for a coordinated approach to classification

Classification is the basis of all Paralympic sport. It is the process whereby athletes are put into classes so that in competition they are competing against others whose impairments have a similar influence on their performance potential. Until the 2004 summer and 2006 winter Paralympics, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) had a policy that the classification of athletes was their personal responsibility and the responsibility of their sport program. In practical terms, this meant that athletes went to the Paralympics and other competitions with uncertain classifications which could be changed before they competed and could see them either classified out – they could not compete at all – or reclassified into a different class. This approach had unfortunate consequences over the years, such as the traumatic Games for the wheelchair rugby team in 2004 and an athlete at the FESPIC Games in 2002 being unable to compete at all. In July 2006, Jenni Cole commenced as the APC’s National Classification Manager and a program was put in place to increase the number of classifiers across all sports in Australia and to ensure that every athlete going to a Games had the most secure possible level of classification. The program was a world first.

Key sponsors and supporters got a firsthand experience of the Games

For the 2000 Sydney Paralympics and since, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) sought to engage key sponsors and other supporters with the Australian team during the Games, to promote an understanding of the Games themselves and of the Australian team and its athletes. At the Torino winter Paralympics the sponsors and supporters group stayed near the Games’ venues in Sestriere and had a number of opportunities to interact with the athletes and team staff. The group included Ron Finneran and Steve Gibb from the APC’s program partner Disabled Wintersport Australia, Peter and Marion Evans (Toyota), Ross Cunningham (Star City), Kim and Judith Clifford (Thredbo Resorts), Belinda Green and Steve Mason (Desert Duel fundraiser organisers), John and Susie Croll (Media Monitors), Anthony Fanning (Healthe) and promotional competition winners Brian and Samuel Hardaker. The group was led by APC Board members Joyce Parzsos, Steve Loader and Justin Holdforth. Most of the group had been or were to become long term supporters of the APC and the Paralympic movement.

After Athens the APC went looking for talent (and found it)

After the Athens Paralympics, it was obvious that the pool of talent required to maintain Australia’s Paralympic standing would not keep replenishing itself. As sports were ‘mainstreamed’ and became the responsibility of national federations, there were calls, especially from athletics head coach Scott Goodman, for the Australian Paralympic Committee to use its expertise and experience to coordinate a national talent identification program. The APC’s ‘Talent Search’ program commenced with a ‘come and try’ day in March 2005 in Newcastle, NSW, at the University of Newcastle conducted by Paralympian Amy Winters and program manager Kellie Puxty. Amazingly, one of the attendees at that day, Kath Proudfoot, went on to become the first athlete identified through the program to win a Paralympic medal when she won a silver medal in the discus at the Beijing summer Paralympics. By the Beijing Games, 72 Talent Search activities had been conducted, with 1,008 participants. Of these, 127 were identified at ‘tier one’ athletes (future elite potential within two years) and 395 as ‘tier two’ athletes (elite potential within four years). Fifty-three Talent Search athletes were part of the Paralympic Preparation Program in the year leading into the Beijing Games, with 27 Talent Search athletes being selected in the Australian Paralympic Team and 15 of these winning medals at their first Paralympic Games. The program had been a success and over the years continued to contribute an increasing number of athletes to Australian teams.

To help create identity, the Australian Team would have its own logo

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, the then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) saw the need to create a strong team identity and culture for the Australian team. After all, the recent 1996 summer Paralympics had been the first Games where the team was not composed of a number of ‘teams within the team’ based on disability grouping. One element of the team building process was the creation of a logo for the 2000 Australian Paralympic team, which was based on the APC logo that had been created the year before. The logo was used extensively in the lead-up to the Games and featured on elements of the team uniform.

And a visit from the APF President

The President of the Australian Paralympic Federation, Bob McCullough, is joined by Team staff during a visit to the Games Village at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games. McCullough was a controversial figure who was overseeing a revolution in the structure and management of Paralympic sport in Australia that had been brought about by the dire financial position of the APF, then the awarding of the 2000 Olympics and Paralympics to Sydney and the subsequent boost in funding and support. Left to right: Peter Kelly (team Media Director), Paul Bird (Assistant Chef de Mission, Administration), Bob McCullough and an unknown Team liaison officer.

The full Beijing team was launched by a new Prime Minister at Parliament House

The full Australian team for the 2008 Beijing Paralympics was launched at Parliament House in Canberra by the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. The launch was attended by more than 40 federal members of parliament from all parties, the Chinese Ambassador to Australia and a range of invited guests, and representative athletes from every sport. In addition to receiving wide media coverage, the launch helped cement support from federal parliamentarians. Right to left in this photo: Kate Ellis (Minister for Sport), Greg Hartung (APC President), Kevin Rudd (Prime Minister), Therese Rein (wife of the Prime Minister and daughter of pioneer Australian 1957 Stoke Mandeville Games competitor John Rein), Wayne Swann (Federal Treasurer), Zhang Junsai (Chinese Ambassador to Australia), Bill Shorten (Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services).

The Prime Minister announced the largest ever funding increase for Paralympic sport

In the lead-up to the 2007 federal election, Prime Minister John Howard announced that the Federal Government would significantly increase funding to the Australian Paralympic Committee by $3.45m a year, commencing in 2007/08, plus a one-off grant of $1m to assist in televising the 2008 Beijing Games. Howard made the announcement in Sydney on Saturday 20 October, joined by members of the men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams (including Tina McKenzie, left, and Katie Hill, rear) and a large media contingent. The funding increase was in line with a submission made by the APC to the major parties well before the election was called. In total, it represented almost a doubling of federal funding and enabled the APC to invest in targetting new opportunities in medal sports, the creation of a mainstreaming fund, the integration of Paralympic programs within the Australian Institute of Sport and an expanded role for the APC in sports science, sport medicine and athlete services. It also ensured the most comprehensive TV coverage ever of an away Games by the ABC in Beijing. Although Howard’s government lost the election on 24 November, the incoming government honoured the commitment.

A new tagline for an awareness campaign leading to Beijing

The then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) commissioned Woolcott Research to conduct research into community awareness about Paralympic sport and the APC after the 2004 summer Paralympics and the 2006 winter Paralympics. The research showed that the APC had a low profile within Australia, there was little awareness about what it actually did, who funded the organisation and what Paralympic sport actually is. One outcome was that donations to the APC were low and budget allocation from the Federal Government reflected the low level of awareness of Australians generally. In 2007, a plan was created to raise the profile of the Paralympic movement in Australia and increase income through fundraising and government support. Publicis Mojo, the advertising agency used by APC sponsor Toyota, worked with the APC to create the ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ tagline for Australia’s Paralympians and a series of radio, print and TV ads. The APC would use ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ until after the 2008 Games. It was the first of several taglines used by the APC.

An education program would create a base of understanding and support

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, an extensive program in Australian schools created awareness of the Games, Paralympic sport and Australia’s Paralympians. One outcome was that more than 400,000 schoolchildren attended the Sydney Games. After 2000, the Australian Paralympic Committee had the rights to the program but did not have the resources to continue it. In 2007 the APC launched the Telstra Paralympic Education Program to raise awareness among primary school children of Paralympic sport, athletes and values. Key elements were that the program was matched to curriculum requirements in every state and territory and that it was largely delivered online. The program was supported by the Australian Sports Commission and APC sponsor Telstra. By the start of the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, 1,816 primary schools – 22 percent of Australia’s total – had joined the program, with those schools reporting that 282,975 children were involved.

The APC took responsibility for a coordinated approach to classification

Classification is the basis of all Paralympic sport. It is the process whereby athletes are put into classes so that in competition they are competing against others whose impairments have a similar influence on their performance potential. Until the 2004 summer and 2006 winter Paralympics, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) had a policy that the classification of athletes was their personal responsibility and the responsibility of their sport program. In practical terms, this meant that athletes went to the Paralympics and other competitions with uncertain classifications which could be changed before they competed and could see them either classified out – they could not compete at all – or reclassified into a different class. This approach had unfortunate consequences over the years, such as the traumatic Games for the wheelchair rugby team in 2004 and an athlete at the FESPIC Games in 2002 being unable to compete at all. In July 2006, Jenni Cole commenced as the APC’s National Classification Manager and a program was put in place to increase the number of classifiers across all sports in Australia and to ensure that every athlete going to a Games had the most secure possible level of classification. The program was a world first.

Key sponsors and supporters got a firsthand experience of the Games

For the 2000 Sydney Paralympics and since, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) sought to engage key sponsors and other supporters with the Australian team during the Games, to promote an understanding of the Games themselves and of the Australian team and its athletes. At the Torino winter Paralympics the sponsors and supporters group stayed near the Games’ venues in Sestriere and had a number of opportunities to interact with the athletes and team staff. The group included Ron Finneran and Steve Gibb from the APC’s program partner Disabled Wintersport Australia, Peter and Marion Evans (Toyota), Ross Cunningham (Star City), Kim and Judith Clifford (Thredbo Resorts), Belinda Green and Steve Mason (Desert Duel fundraiser organisers), John and Susie Croll (Media Monitors), Anthony Fanning (Healthe) and promotional competition winners Brian and Samuel Hardaker. The group was led by APC Board members Joyce Parzsos, Steve Loader and Justin Holdforth. Most of the group had been or were to become long term supporters of the APC and the Paralympic movement.

After Athens the APC went looking for talent (and found it)

After the Athens Paralympics, it was obvious that the pool of talent required to maintain Australia’s Paralympic standing would not keep replenishing itself. As sports were ‘mainstreamed’ and became the responsibility of national federations, there were calls, especially from athletics head coach Scott Goodman, for the Australian Paralympic Committee to use its expertise and experience to coordinate a national talent identification program. The APC’s ‘Talent Search’ program commenced with a ‘come and try’ day in March 2005 in Newcastle, NSW, at the University of Newcastle conducted by Paralympian Amy Winters and program manager Kellie Puxty. Amazingly, one of the attendees at that day, Kath Proudfoot, went on to become the first athlete identified through the program to win a Paralympic medal when she won a silver medal in the discus at the Beijing summer Paralympics. By the Beijing Games, 72 Talent Search activities had been conducted, with 1,008 participants. Of these, 127 were identified at ‘tier one’ athletes (future elite potential within two years) and 395 as ‘tier two’ athletes (elite potential within four years). Fifty-three Talent Search athletes were part of the Paralympic Preparation Program in the year leading into the Beijing Games, with 27 Talent Search athletes being selected in the Australian Paralympic Team and 15 of these winning medals at their first Paralympic Games. The program had been a success and over the years continued to contribute an increasing number of athletes to Australian teams.

To help create identity, the Australian Team would have its own logo

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, the then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) saw the need to create a strong team identity and culture for the Australian team. After all, the recent 1996 summer Paralympics had been the first Games where the team was not composed of a number of ‘teams within the team’ based on disability grouping. One element of the team building process was the creation of a logo for the 2000 Australian Paralympic team, which was based on the APC logo that had been created the year before. The logo was used extensively in the lead-up to the Games and featured on elements of the team uniform.

And a visit from the APF President

The President of the Australian Paralympic Federation, Bob McCullough, is joined by Team staff during a visit to the Games Village at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games. McCullough was a controversial figure who was overseeing a revolution in the structure and management of Paralympic sport in Australia that had been brought about by the dire financial position of the APF, then the awarding of the 2000 Olympics and Paralympics to Sydney and the subsequent boost in funding and support. Left to right: Peter Kelly (team Media Director), Paul Bird (Assistant Chef de Mission, Administration), Bob McCullough and an unknown Team liaison officer.

The full Beijing team was launched by a new Prime Minister at Parliament House

The full Australian team for the 2008 Beijing Paralympics was launched at Parliament House in Canberra by the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. The launch was attended by more than 40 federal members of parliament from all parties, the Chinese Ambassador to Australia and a range of invited guests, and representative athletes from every sport. In addition to receiving wide media coverage, the launch helped cement support from federal parliamentarians. Right to left in this photo: Kate Ellis (Minister for Sport), Greg Hartung (APC President), Kevin Rudd (Prime Minister), Therese Rein (wife of the Prime Minister and daughter of pioneer Australian 1957 Stoke Mandeville Games competitor John Rein), Wayne Swann (Federal Treasurer), Zhang Junsai (Chinese Ambassador to Australia), Bill Shorten (Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services).

The Prime Minister announced the largest ever funding increase for Paralympic sport

In the lead-up to the 2007 federal election, Prime Minister John Howard announced that the Federal Government would significantly increase funding to the Australian Paralympic Committee by $3.45m a year, commencing in 2007/08, plus a one-off grant of $1m to assist in televising the 2008 Beijing Games. Howard made the announcement in Sydney on Saturday 20 October, joined by members of the men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams (including Tina McKenzie, left, and Katie Hill, rear) and a large media contingent. The funding increase was in line with a submission made by the APC to the major parties well before the election was called. In total, it represented almost a doubling of federal funding and enabled the APC to invest in targetting new opportunities in medal sports, the creation of a mainstreaming fund, the integration of Paralympic programs within the Australian Institute of Sport and an expanded role for the APC in sports science, sport medicine and athlete services. It also ensured the most comprehensive TV coverage ever of an away Games by the ABC in Beijing. Although Howard’s government lost the election on 24 November, the incoming government honoured the commitment.

A new tagline for an awareness campaign leading to Beijing

The then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) commissioned Woolcott Research to conduct research into community awareness about Paralympic sport and the APC after the 2004 summer Paralympics and the 2006 winter Paralympics. The research showed that the APC had a low profile within Australia, there was little awareness about what it actually did, who funded the organisation and what Paralympic sport actually is. One outcome was that donations to the APC were low and budget allocation from the Federal Government reflected the low level of awareness of Australians generally. In 2007, a plan was created to raise the profile of the Paralympic movement in Australia and increase income through fundraising and government support. Publicis Mojo, the advertising agency used by APC sponsor Toyota, worked with the APC to create the ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ tagline for Australia’s Paralympians and a series of radio, print and TV ads. The APC would use ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ until after the 2008 Games. It was the first of several taglines used by the APC.

An education program would create a base of understanding and support

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, an extensive program in Australian schools created awareness of the Games, Paralympic sport and Australia’s Paralympians. One outcome was that more than 400,000 schoolchildren attended the Sydney Games. After 2000, the Australian Paralympic Committee had the rights to the program but did not have the resources to continue it. In 2007 the APC launched the Telstra Paralympic Education Program to raise awareness among primary school children of Paralympic sport, athletes and values. Key elements were that the program was matched to curriculum requirements in every state and territory and that it was largely delivered online. The program was supported by the Australian Sports Commission and APC sponsor Telstra. By the start of the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, 1,816 primary schools – 22 percent of Australia’s total – had joined the program, with those schools reporting that 282,975 children were involved.

The APC took responsibility for a coordinated approach to classification

Classification is the basis of all Paralympic sport. It is the process whereby athletes are put into classes so that in competition they are competing against others whose impairments have a similar influence on their performance potential. Until the 2004 summer and 2006 winter Paralympics, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) had a policy that the classification of athletes was their personal responsibility and the responsibility of their sport program. In practical terms, this meant that athletes went to the Paralympics and other competitions with uncertain classifications which could be changed before they competed and could see them either classified out – they could not compete at all – or reclassified into a different class. This approach had unfortunate consequences over the years, such as the traumatic Games for the wheelchair rugby team in 2004 and an athlete at the FESPIC Games in 2002 being unable to compete at all. In July 2006, Jenni Cole commenced as the APC’s National Classification Manager and a program was put in place to increase the number of classifiers across all sports in Australia and to ensure that every athlete going to a Games had the most secure possible level of classification. The program was a world first.

Key sponsors and supporters got a firsthand experience of the Games

For the 2000 Sydney Paralympics and since, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) sought to engage key sponsors and other supporters with the Australian team during the Games, to promote an understanding of the Games themselves and of the Australian team and its athletes. At the Torino winter Paralympics the sponsors and supporters group stayed near the Games’ venues in Sestriere and had a number of opportunities to interact with the athletes and team staff. The group included Ron Finneran and Steve Gibb from the APC’s program partner Disabled Wintersport Australia, Peter and Marion Evans (Toyota), Ross Cunningham (Star City), Kim and Judith Clifford (Thredbo Resorts), Belinda Green and Steve Mason (Desert Duel fundraiser organisers), John and Susie Croll (Media Monitors), Anthony Fanning (Healthe) and promotional competition winners Brian and Samuel Hardaker. The group was led by APC Board members Joyce Parzsos, Steve Loader and Justin Holdforth. Most of the group had been or were to become long term supporters of the APC and the Paralympic movement.

After Athens the APC went looking for talent (and found it)

After the Athens Paralympics, it was obvious that the pool of talent required to maintain Australia’s Paralympic standing would not keep replenishing itself. As sports were ‘mainstreamed’ and became the responsibility of national federations, there were calls, especially from athletics head coach Scott Goodman, for the Australian Paralympic Committee to use its expertise and experience to coordinate a national talent identification program. The APC’s ‘Talent Search’ program commenced with a ‘come and try’ day in March 2005 in Newcastle, NSW, at the University of Newcastle conducted by Paralympian Amy Winters and program manager Kellie Puxty. Amazingly, one of the attendees at that day, Kath Proudfoot, went on to become the first athlete identified through the program to win a Paralympic medal when she won a silver medal in the discus at the Beijing summer Paralympics. By the Beijing Games, 72 Talent Search activities had been conducted, with 1,008 participants. Of these, 127 were identified at ‘tier one’ athletes (future elite potential within two years) and 395 as ‘tier two’ athletes (elite potential within four years). Fifty-three Talent Search athletes were part of the Paralympic Preparation Program in the year leading into the Beijing Games, with 27 Talent Search athletes being selected in the Australian Paralympic Team and 15 of these winning medals at their first Paralympic Games. The program had been a success and over the years continued to contribute an increasing number of athletes to Australian teams.

To help create identity, the Australian Team would have its own logo

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, the then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) saw the need to create a strong team identity and culture for the Australian team. After all, the recent 1996 summer Paralympics had been the first Games where the team was not composed of a number of ‘teams within the team’ based on disability grouping. One element of the team building process was the creation of a logo for the 2000 Australian Paralympic team, which was based on the APC logo that had been created the year before. The logo was used extensively in the lead-up to the Games and featured on elements of the team uniform.

And a visit from the APF President

The President of the Australian Paralympic Federation, Bob McCullough, is joined by Team staff during a visit to the Games Village at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games. McCullough was a controversial figure who was overseeing a revolution in the structure and management of Paralympic sport in Australia that had been brought about by the dire financial position of the APF, then the awarding of the 2000 Olympics and Paralympics to Sydney and the subsequent boost in funding and support. Left to right: Peter Kelly (team Media Director), Paul Bird (Assistant Chef de Mission, Administration), Bob McCullough and an unknown Team liaison officer.

The full Beijing team was launched by a new Prime Minister at Parliament House

The full Australian team for the 2008 Beijing Paralympics was launched at Parliament House in Canberra by the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. The launch was attended by more than 40 federal members of parliament from all parties, the Chinese Ambassador to Australia and a range of invited guests, and representative athletes from every sport. In addition to receiving wide media coverage, the launch helped cement support from federal parliamentarians. Right to left in this photo: Kate Ellis (Minister for Sport), Greg Hartung (APC President), Kevin Rudd (Prime Minister), Therese Rein (wife of the Prime Minister and daughter of pioneer Australian 1957 Stoke Mandeville Games competitor John Rein), Wayne Swann (Federal Treasurer), Zhang Junsai (Chinese Ambassador to Australia), Bill Shorten (Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services).

The Prime Minister announced the largest ever funding increase for Paralympic sport

In the lead-up to the 2007 federal election, Prime Minister John Howard announced that the Federal Government would significantly increase funding to the Australian Paralympic Committee by $3.45m a year, commencing in 2007/08, plus a one-off grant of $1m to assist in televising the 2008 Beijing Games. Howard made the announcement in Sydney on Saturday 20 October, joined by members of the men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams (including Tina McKenzie, left, and Katie Hill, rear) and a large media contingent. The funding increase was in line with a submission made by the APC to the major parties well before the election was called. In total, it represented almost a doubling of federal funding and enabled the APC to invest in targetting new opportunities in medal sports, the creation of a mainstreaming fund, the integration of Paralympic programs within the Australian Institute of Sport and an expanded role for the APC in sports science, sport medicine and athlete services. It also ensured the most comprehensive TV coverage ever of an away Games by the ABC in Beijing. Although Howard’s government lost the election on 24 November, the incoming government honoured the commitment.

A new tagline for an awareness campaign leading to Beijing

The then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) commissioned Woolcott Research to conduct research into community awareness about Paralympic sport and the APC after the 2004 summer Paralympics and the 2006 winter Paralympics. The research showed that the APC had a low profile within Australia, there was little awareness about what it actually did, who funded the organisation and what Paralympic sport actually is. One outcome was that donations to the APC were low and budget allocation from the Federal Government reflected the low level of awareness of Australians generally. In 2007, a plan was created to raise the profile of the Paralympic movement in Australia and increase income through fundraising and government support. Publicis Mojo, the advertising agency used by APC sponsor Toyota, worked with the APC to create the ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ tagline for Australia’s Paralympians and a series of radio, print and TV ads. The APC would use ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ until after the 2008 Games. It was the first of several taglines used by the APC.

An education program would create a base of understanding and support

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, an extensive program in Australian schools created awareness of the Games, Paralympic sport and Australia’s Paralympians. One outcome was that more than 400,000 schoolchildren attended the Sydney Games. After 2000, the Australian Paralympic Committee had the rights to the program but did not have the resources to continue it. In 2007 the APC launched the Telstra Paralympic Education Program to raise awareness among primary school children of Paralympic sport, athletes and values. Key elements were that the program was matched to curriculum requirements in every state and territory and that it was largely delivered online. The program was supported by the Australian Sports Commission and APC sponsor Telstra. By the start of the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, 1,816 primary schools – 22 percent of Australia’s total – had joined the program, with those schools reporting that 282,975 children were involved.

The APC took responsibility for a coordinated approach to classification

Classification is the basis of all Paralympic sport. It is the process whereby athletes are put into classes so that in competition they are competing against others whose impairments have a similar influence on their performance potential. Until the 2004 summer and 2006 winter Paralympics, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) had a policy that the classification of athletes was their personal responsibility and the responsibility of their sport program. In practical terms, this meant that athletes went to the Paralympics and other competitions with uncertain classifications which could be changed before they competed and could see them either classified out – they could not compete at all – or reclassified into a different class. This approach had unfortunate consequences over the years, such as the traumatic Games for the wheelchair rugby team in 2004 and an athlete at the FESPIC Games in 2002 being unable to compete at all. In July 2006, Jenni Cole commenced as the APC’s National Classification Manager and a program was put in place to increase the number of classifiers across all sports in Australia and to ensure that every athlete going to a Games had the most secure possible level of classification. The program was a world first.

Key sponsors and supporters got a firsthand experience of the Games

For the 2000 Sydney Paralympics and since, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) sought to engage key sponsors and other supporters with the Australian team during the Games, to promote an understanding of the Games themselves and of the Australian team and its athletes. At the Torino winter Paralympics the sponsors and supporters group stayed near the Games’ venues in Sestriere and had a number of opportunities to interact with the athletes and team staff. The group included Ron Finneran and Steve Gibb from the APC’s program partner Disabled Wintersport Australia, Peter and Marion Evans (Toyota), Ross Cunningham (Star City), Kim and Judith Clifford (Thredbo Resorts), Belinda Green and Steve Mason (Desert Duel fundraiser organisers), John and Susie Croll (Media Monitors), Anthony Fanning (Healthe) and promotional competition winners Brian and Samuel Hardaker. The group was led by APC Board members Joyce Parzsos, Steve Loader and Justin Holdforth. Most of the group had been or were to become long term supporters of the APC and the Paralympic movement.

After Athens the APC went looking for talent (and found it)

After the Athens Paralympics, it was obvious that the pool of talent required to maintain Australia’s Paralympic standing would not keep replenishing itself. As sports were ‘mainstreamed’ and became the responsibility of national federations, there were calls, especially from athletics head coach Scott Goodman, for the Australian Paralympic Committee to use its expertise and experience to coordinate a national talent identification program. The APC’s ‘Talent Search’ program commenced with a ‘come and try’ day in March 2005 in Newcastle, NSW, at the University of Newcastle conducted by Paralympian Amy Winters and program manager Kellie Puxty. Amazingly, one of the attendees at that day, Kath Proudfoot, went on to become the first athlete identified through the program to win a Paralympic medal when she won a silver medal in the discus at the Beijing summer Paralympics. By the Beijing Games, 72 Talent Search activities had been conducted, with 1,008 participants. Of these, 127 were identified at ‘tier one’ athletes (future elite potential within two years) and 395 as ‘tier two’ athletes (elite potential within four years). Fifty-three Talent Search athletes were part of the Paralympic Preparation Program in the year leading into the Beijing Games, with 27 Talent Search athletes being selected in the Australian Paralympic Team and 15 of these winning medals at their first Paralympic Games. The program had been a success and over the years continued to contribute an increasing number of athletes to Australian teams.

To help create identity, the Australian Team would have its own logo

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, the then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) saw the need to create a strong team identity and culture for the Australian team. After all, the recent 1996 summer Paralympics had been the first Games where the team was not composed of a number of ‘teams within the team’ based on disability grouping. One element of the team building process was the creation of a logo for the 2000 Australian Paralympic team, which was based on the APC logo that had been created the year before. The logo was used extensively in the lead-up to the Games and featured on elements of the team uniform.

And a visit from the APF President

The President of the Australian Paralympic Federation, Bob McCullough, is joined by Team staff during a visit to the Games Village at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games. McCullough was a controversial figure who was overseeing a revolution in the structure and management of Paralympic sport in Australia that had been brought about by the dire financial position of the APF, then the awarding of the 2000 Olympics and Paralympics to Sydney and the subsequent boost in funding and support. Left to right: Peter Kelly (team Media Director), Paul Bird (Assistant Chef de Mission, Administration), Bob McCullough and an unknown Team liaison officer.

The full Beijing team was launched by a new Prime Minister at Parliament House

The full Australian team for the 2008 Beijing Paralympics was launched at Parliament House in Canberra by the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. The launch was attended by more than 40 federal members of parliament from all parties, the Chinese Ambassador to Australia and a range of invited guests, and representative athletes from every sport. In addition to receiving wide media coverage, the launch helped cement support from federal parliamentarians. Right to left in this photo: Kate Ellis (Minister for Sport), Greg Hartung (APC President), Kevin Rudd (Prime Minister), Therese Rein (wife of the Prime Minister and daughter of pioneer Australian 1957 Stoke Mandeville Games competitor John Rein), Wayne Swann (Federal Treasurer), Zhang Junsai (Chinese Ambassador to Australia), Bill Shorten (Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services).

The Prime Minister announced the largest ever funding increase for Paralympic sport

In the lead-up to the 2007 federal election, Prime Minister John Howard announced that the Federal Government would significantly increase funding to the Australian Paralympic Committee by $3.45m a year, commencing in 2007/08, plus a one-off grant of $1m to assist in televising the 2008 Beijing Games. Howard made the announcement in Sydney on Saturday 20 October, joined by members of the men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams (including Tina McKenzie, left, and Katie Hill, rear) and a large media contingent. The funding increase was in line with a submission made by the APC to the major parties well before the election was called. In total, it represented almost a doubling of federal funding and enabled the APC to invest in targetting new opportunities in medal sports, the creation of a mainstreaming fund, the integration of Paralympic programs within the Australian Institute of Sport and an expanded role for the APC in sports science, sport medicine and athlete services. It also ensured the most comprehensive TV coverage ever of an away Games by the ABC in Beijing. Although Howard’s government lost the election on 24 November, the incoming government honoured the commitment.

A new tagline for an awareness campaign leading to Beijing

The then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) commissioned Woolcott Research to conduct research into community awareness about Paralympic sport and the APC after the 2004 summer Paralympics and the 2006 winter Paralympics. The research showed that the APC had a low profile within Australia, there was little awareness about what it actually did, who funded the organisation and what Paralympic sport actually is. One outcome was that donations to the APC were low and budget allocation from the Federal Government reflected the low level of awareness of Australians generally. In 2007, a plan was created to raise the profile of the Paralympic movement in Australia and increase income through fundraising and government support. Publicis Mojo, the advertising agency used by APC sponsor Toyota, worked with the APC to create the ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ tagline for Australia’s Paralympians and a series of radio, print and TV ads. The APC would use ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ until after the 2008 Games. It was the first of several taglines used by the APC.

An education program would create a base of understanding and support

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, an extensive program in Australian schools created awareness of the Games, Paralympic sport and Australia’s Paralympians. One outcome was that more than 400,000 schoolchildren attended the Sydney Games. After 2000, the Australian Paralympic Committee had the rights to the program but did not have the resources to continue it. In 2007 the APC launched the Telstra Paralympic Education Program to raise awareness among primary school children of Paralympic sport, athletes and values. Key elements were that the program was matched to curriculum requirements in every state and territory and that it was largely delivered online. The program was supported by the Australian Sports Commission and APC sponsor Telstra. By the start of the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, 1,816 primary schools – 22 percent of Australia’s total – had joined the program, with those schools reporting that 282,975 children were involved.

The APC took responsibility for a coordinated approach to classification

Classification is the basis of all Paralympic sport. It is the process whereby athletes are put into classes so that in competition they are competing against others whose impairments have a similar influence on their performance potential. Until the 2004 summer and 2006 winter Paralympics, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) had a policy that the classification of athletes was their personal responsibility and the responsibility of their sport program. In practical terms, this meant that athletes went to the Paralympics and other competitions with uncertain classifications which could be changed before they competed and could see them either classified out – they could not compete at all – or reclassified into a different class. This approach had unfortunate consequences over the years, such as the traumatic Games for the wheelchair rugby team in 2004 and an athlete at the FESPIC Games in 2002 being unable to compete at all. In July 2006, Jenni Cole commenced as the APC’s National Classification Manager and a program was put in place to increase the number of classifiers across all sports in Australia and to ensure that every athlete going to a Games had the most secure possible level of classification. The program was a world first.

Key sponsors and supporters got a firsthand experience of the Games

For the 2000 Sydney Paralympics and since, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) sought to engage key sponsors and other supporters with the Australian team during the Games, to promote an understanding of the Games themselves and of the Australian team and its athletes. At the Torino winter Paralympics the sponsors and supporters group stayed near the Games’ venues in Sestriere and had a number of opportunities to interact with the athletes and team staff. The group included Ron Finneran and Steve Gibb from the APC’s program partner Disabled Wintersport Australia, Peter and Marion Evans (Toyota), Ross Cunningham (Star City), Kim and Judith Clifford (Thredbo Resorts), Belinda Green and Steve Mason (Desert Duel fundraiser organisers), John and Susie Croll (Media Monitors), Anthony Fanning (Healthe) and promotional competition winners Brian and Samuel Hardaker. The group was led by APC Board members Joyce Parzsos, Steve Loader and Justin Holdforth. Most of the group had been or were to become long term supporters of the APC and the Paralympic movement.

After Athens the APC went looking for talent (and found it)

After the Athens Paralympics, it was obvious that the pool of talent required to maintain Australia’s Paralympic standing would not keep replenishing itself. As sports were ‘mainstreamed’ and became the responsibility of national federations, there were calls, especially from athletics head coach Scott Goodman, for the Australian Paralympic Committee to use its expertise and experience to coordinate a national talent identification program. The APC’s ‘Talent Search’ program commenced with a ‘come and try’ day in March 2005 in Newcastle, NSW, at the University of Newcastle conducted by Paralympian Amy Winters and program manager Kellie Puxty. Amazingly, one of the attendees at that day, Kath Proudfoot, went on to become the first athlete identified through the program to win a Paralympic medal when she won a silver medal in the discus at the Beijing summer Paralympics. By the Beijing Games, 72 Talent Search activities had been conducted, with 1,008 participants. Of these, 127 were identified at ‘tier one’ athletes (future elite potential within two years) and 395 as ‘tier two’ athletes (elite potential within four years). Fifty-three Talent Search athletes were part of the Paralympic Preparation Program in the year leading into the Beijing Games, with 27 Talent Search athletes being selected in the Australian Paralympic Team and 15 of these winning medals at their first Paralympic Games. The program had been a success and over the years continued to contribute an increasing number of athletes to Australian teams.

To help create identity, the Australian Team would have its own logo

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, the then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) saw the need to create a strong team identity and culture for the Australian team. After all, the recent 1996 summer Paralympics had been the first Games where the team was not composed of a number of ‘teams within the team’ based on disability grouping. One element of the team building process was the creation of a logo for the 2000 Australian Paralympic team, which was based on the APC logo that had been created the year before. The logo was used extensively in the lead-up to the Games and featured on elements of the team uniform.

And a visit from the APF President

The President of the Australian Paralympic Federation, Bob McCullough, is joined by Team staff during a visit to the Games Village at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games. McCullough was a controversial figure who was overseeing a revolution in the structure and management of Paralympic sport in Australia that had been brought about by the dire financial position of the APF, then the awarding of the 2000 Olympics and Paralympics to Sydney and the subsequent boost in funding and support. Left to right: Peter Kelly (team Media Director), Paul Bird (Assistant Chef de Mission, Administration), Bob McCullough and an unknown Team liaison officer.

The full Beijing team was launched by a new Prime Minister at Parliament House

The full Australian team for the 2008 Beijing Paralympics was launched at Parliament House in Canberra by the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. The launch was attended by more than 40 federal members of parliament from all parties, the Chinese Ambassador to Australia and a range of invited guests, and representative athletes from every sport. In addition to receiving wide media coverage, the launch helped cement support from federal parliamentarians. Right to left in this photo: Kate Ellis (Minister for Sport), Greg Hartung (APC President), Kevin Rudd (Prime Minister), Therese Rein (wife of the Prime Minister and daughter of pioneer Australian 1957 Stoke Mandeville Games competitor John Rein), Wayne Swann (Federal Treasurer), Zhang Junsai (Chinese Ambassador to Australia), Bill Shorten (Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services).

The Prime Minister announced the largest ever funding increase for Paralympic sport

In the lead-up to the 2007 federal election, Prime Minister John Howard announced that the Federal Government would significantly increase funding to the Australian Paralympic Committee by $3.45m a year, commencing in 2007/08, plus a one-off grant of $1m to assist in televising the 2008 Beijing Games. Howard made the announcement in Sydney on Saturday 20 October, joined by members of the men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams (including Tina McKenzie, left, and Katie Hill, rear) and a large media contingent. The funding increase was in line with a submission made by the APC to the major parties well before the election was called. In total, it represented almost a doubling of federal funding and enabled the APC to invest in targetting new opportunities in medal sports, the creation of a mainstreaming fund, the integration of Paralympic programs within the Australian Institute of Sport and an expanded role for the APC in sports science, sport medicine and athlete services. It also ensured the most comprehensive TV coverage ever of an away Games by the ABC in Beijing. Although Howard’s government lost the election on 24 November, the incoming government honoured the commitment.

A new tagline for an awareness campaign leading to Beijing

The then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) commissioned Woolcott Research to conduct research into community awareness about Paralympic sport and the APC after the 2004 summer Paralympics and the 2006 winter Paralympics. The research showed that the APC had a low profile within Australia, there was little awareness about what it actually did, who funded the organisation and what Paralympic sport actually is. One outcome was that donations to the APC were low and budget allocation from the Federal Government reflected the low level of awareness of Australians generally. In 2007, a plan was created to raise the profile of the Paralympic movement in Australia and increase income through fundraising and government support. Publicis Mojo, the advertising agency used by APC sponsor Toyota, worked with the APC to create the ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ tagline for Australia’s Paralympians and a series of radio, print and TV ads. The APC would use ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ until after the 2008 Games. It was the first of several taglines used by the APC.

An education program would create a base of understanding and support

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, an extensive program in Australian schools created awareness of the Games, Paralympic sport and Australia’s Paralympians. One outcome was that more than 400,000 schoolchildren attended the Sydney Games. After 2000, the Australian Paralympic Committee had the rights to the program but did not have the resources to continue it. In 2007 the APC launched the Telstra Paralympic Education Program to raise awareness among primary school children of Paralympic sport, athletes and values. Key elements were that the program was matched to curriculum requirements in every state and territory and that it was largely delivered online. The program was supported by the Australian Sports Commission and APC sponsor Telstra. By the start of the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, 1,816 primary schools – 22 percent of Australia’s total – had joined the program, with those schools reporting that 282,975 children were involved.

The APC took responsibility for a coordinated approach to classification

Classification is the basis of all Paralympic sport. It is the process whereby athletes are put into classes so that in competition they are competing against others whose impairments have a similar influence on their performance potential. Until the 2004 summer and 2006 winter Paralympics, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) had a policy that the classification of athletes was their personal responsibility and the responsibility of their sport program. In practical terms, this meant that athletes went to the Paralympics and other competitions with uncertain classifications which could be changed before they competed and could see them either classified out – they could not compete at all – or reclassified into a different class. This approach had unfortunate consequences over the years, such as the traumatic Games for the wheelchair rugby team in 2004 and an athlete at the FESPIC Games in 2002 being unable to compete at all. In July 2006, Jenni Cole commenced as the APC’s National Classification Manager and a program was put in place to increase the number of classifiers across all sports in Australia and to ensure that every athlete going to a Games had the most secure possible level of classification. The program was a world first.

Key sponsors and supporters got a firsthand experience of the Games

For the 2000 Sydney Paralympics and since, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) sought to engage key sponsors and other supporters with the Australian team during the Games, to promote an understanding of the Games themselves and of the Australian team and its athletes. At the Torino winter Paralympics the sponsors and supporters group stayed near the Games’ venues in Sestriere and had a number of opportunities to interact with the athletes and team staff. The group included Ron Finneran and Steve Gibb from the APC’s program partner Disabled Wintersport Australia, Peter and Marion Evans (Toyota), Ross Cunningham (Star City), Kim and Judith Clifford (Thredbo Resorts), Belinda Green and Steve Mason (Desert Duel fundraiser organisers), John and Susie Croll (Media Monitors), Anthony Fanning (Healthe) and promotional competition winners Brian and Samuel Hardaker. The group was led by APC Board members Joyce Parzsos, Steve Loader and Justin Holdforth. Most of the group had been or were to become long term supporters of the APC and the Paralympic movement.

After Athens the APC went looking for talent (and found it)

After the Athens Paralympics, it was obvious that the pool of talent required to maintain Australia’s Paralympic standing would not keep replenishing itself. As sports were ‘mainstreamed’ and became the responsibility of national federations, there were calls, especially from athletics head coach Scott Goodman, for the Australian Paralympic Committee to use its expertise and experience to coordinate a national talent identification program. The APC’s ‘Talent Search’ program commenced with a ‘come and try’ day in March 2005 in Newcastle, NSW, at the University of Newcastle conducted by Paralympian Amy Winters and program manager Kellie Puxty. Amazingly, one of the attendees at that day, Kath Proudfoot, went on to become the first athlete identified through the program to win a Paralympic medal when she won a silver medal in the discus at the Beijing summer Paralympics. By the Beijing Games, 72 Talent Search activities had been conducted, with 1,008 participants. Of these, 127 were identified at ‘tier one’ athletes (future elite potential within two years) and 395 as ‘tier two’ athletes (elite potential within four years). Fifty-three Talent Search athletes were part of the Paralympic Preparation Program in the year leading into the Beijing Games, with 27 Talent Search athletes being selected in the Australian Paralympic Team and 15 of these winning medals at their first Paralympic Games. The program had been a success and over the years continued to contribute an increasing number of athletes to Australian teams.

To help create identity, the Australian Team would have its own logo

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, the then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) saw the need to create a strong team identity and culture for the Australian team. After all, the recent 1996 summer Paralympics had been the first Games where the team was not composed of a number of ‘teams within the team’ based on disability grouping. One element of the team building process was the creation of a logo for the 2000 Australian Paralympic team, which was based on the APC logo that had been created the year before. The logo was used extensively in the lead-up to the Games and featured on elements of the team uniform.

And a visit from the APF President

The President of the Australian Paralympic Federation, Bob McCullough, is joined by Team staff during a visit to the Games Village at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games. McCullough was a controversial figure who was overseeing a revolution in the structure and management of Paralympic sport in Australia that had been brought about by the dire financial position of the APF, then the awarding of the 2000 Olympics and Paralympics to Sydney and the subsequent boost in funding and support. Left to right: Peter Kelly (team Media Director), Paul Bird (Assistant Chef de Mission, Administration), Bob McCullough and an unknown Team liaison officer.

The full Beijing team was launched by a new Prime Minister at Parliament House

The full Australian team for the 2008 Beijing Paralympics was launched at Parliament House in Canberra by the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. The launch was attended by more than 40 federal members of parliament from all parties, the Chinese Ambassador to Australia and a range of invited guests, and representative athletes from every sport. In addition to receiving wide media coverage, the launch helped cement support from federal parliamentarians. Right to left in this photo: Kate Ellis (Minister for Sport), Greg Hartung (APC President), Kevin Rudd (Prime Minister), Therese Rein (wife of the Prime Minister and daughter of pioneer Australian 1957 Stoke Mandeville Games competitor John Rein), Wayne Swann (Federal Treasurer), Zhang Junsai (Chinese Ambassador to Australia), Bill Shorten (Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services).

The Prime Minister announced the largest ever funding increase for Paralympic sport

In the lead-up to the 2007 federal election, Prime Minister John Howard announced that the Federal Government would significantly increase funding to the Australian Paralympic Committee by $3.45m a year, commencing in 2007/08, plus a one-off grant of $1m to assist in televising the 2008 Beijing Games. Howard made the announcement in Sydney on Saturday 20 October, joined by members of the men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams (including Tina McKenzie, left, and Katie Hill, rear) and a large media contingent. The funding increase was in line with a submission made by the APC to the major parties well before the election was called. In total, it represented almost a doubling of federal funding and enabled the APC to invest in targetting new opportunities in medal sports, the creation of a mainstreaming fund, the integration of Paralympic programs within the Australian Institute of Sport and an expanded role for the APC in sports science, sport medicine and athlete services. It also ensured the most comprehensive TV coverage ever of an away Games by the ABC in Beijing. Although Howard’s government lost the election on 24 November, the incoming government honoured the commitment.

A new tagline for an awareness campaign leading to Beijing

The then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) commissioned Woolcott Research to conduct research into community awareness about Paralympic sport and the APC after the 2004 summer Paralympics and the 2006 winter Paralympics. The research showed that the APC had a low profile within Australia, there was little awareness about what it actually did, who funded the organisation and what Paralympic sport actually is. One outcome was that donations to the APC were low and budget allocation from the Federal Government reflected the low level of awareness of Australians generally. In 2007, a plan was created to raise the profile of the Paralympic movement in Australia and increase income through fundraising and government support. Publicis Mojo, the advertising agency used by APC sponsor Toyota, worked with the APC to create the ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ tagline for Australia’s Paralympians and a series of radio, print and TV ads. The APC would use ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ until after the 2008 Games. It was the first of several taglines used by the APC.

An education program would create a base of understanding and support

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, an extensive program in Australian schools created awareness of the Games, Paralympic sport and Australia’s Paralympians. One outcome was that more than 400,000 schoolchildren attended the Sydney Games. After 2000, the Australian Paralympic Committee had the rights to the program but did not have the resources to continue it. In 2007 the APC launched the Telstra Paralympic Education Program to raise awareness among primary school children of Paralympic sport, athletes and values. Key elements were that the program was matched to curriculum requirements in every state and territory and that it was largely delivered online. The program was supported by the Australian Sports Commission and APC sponsor Telstra. By the start of the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, 1,816 primary schools – 22 percent of Australia’s total – had joined the program, with those schools reporting that 282,975 children were involved.

The APC took responsibility for a coordinated approach to classification

Classification is the basis of all Paralympic sport. It is the process whereby athletes are put into classes so that in competition they are competing against others whose impairments have a similar influence on their performance potential. Until the 2004 summer and 2006 winter Paralympics, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) had a policy that the classification of athletes was their personal responsibility and the responsibility of their sport program. In practical terms, this meant that athletes went to the Paralympics and other competitions with uncertain classifications which could be changed before they competed and could see them either classified out – they could not compete at all – or reclassified into a different class. This approach had unfortunate consequences over the years, such as the traumatic Games for the wheelchair rugby team in 2004 and an athlete at the FESPIC Games in 2002 being unable to compete at all. In July 2006, Jenni Cole commenced as the APC’s National Classification Manager and a program was put in place to increase the number of classifiers across all sports in Australia and to ensure that every athlete going to a Games had the most secure possible level of classification. The program was a world first.

Key sponsors and supporters got a firsthand experience of the Games

For the 2000 Sydney Paralympics and since, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) sought to engage key sponsors and other supporters with the Australian team during the Games, to promote an understanding of the Games themselves and of the Australian team and its athletes. At the Torino winter Paralympics the sponsors and supporters group stayed near the Games’ venues in Sestriere and had a number of opportunities to interact with the athletes and team staff. The group included Ron Finneran and Steve Gibb from the APC’s program partner Disabled Wintersport Australia, Peter and Marion Evans (Toyota), Ross Cunningham (Star City), Kim and Judith Clifford (Thredbo Resorts), Belinda Green and Steve Mason (Desert Duel fundraiser organisers), John and Susie Croll (Media Monitors), Anthony Fanning (Healthe) and promotional competition winners Brian and Samuel Hardaker. The group was led by APC Board members Joyce Parzsos, Steve Loader and Justin Holdforth. Most of the group had been or were to become long term supporters of the APC and the Paralympic movement.

After Athens the APC went looking for talent (and found it)

After the Athens Paralympics, it was obvious that the pool of talent required to maintain Australia’s Paralympic standing would not keep replenishing itself. As sports were ‘mainstreamed’ and became the responsibility of national federations, there were calls, especially from athletics head coach Scott Goodman, for the Australian Paralympic Committee to use its expertise and experience to coordinate a national talent identification program. The APC’s ‘Talent Search’ program commenced with a ‘come and try’ day in March 2005 in Newcastle, NSW, at the University of Newcastle conducted by Paralympian Amy Winters and program manager Kellie Puxty. Amazingly, one of the attendees at that day, Kath Proudfoot, went on to become the first athlete identified through the program to win a Paralympic medal when she won a silver medal in the discus at the Beijing summer Paralympics. By the Beijing Games, 72 Talent Search activities had been conducted, with 1,008 participants. Of these, 127 were identified at ‘tier one’ athletes (future elite potential within two years) and 395 as ‘tier two’ athletes (elite potential within four years). Fifty-three Talent Search athletes were part of the Paralympic Preparation Program in the year leading into the Beijing Games, with 27 Talent Search athletes being selected in the Australian Paralympic Team and 15 of these winning medals at their first Paralympic Games. The program had been a success and over the years continued to contribute an increasing number of athletes to Australian teams.

To help create identity, the Australian Team would have its own logo

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, the then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) saw the need to create a strong team identity and culture for the Australian team. After all, the recent 1996 summer Paralympics had been the first Games where the team was not composed of a number of ‘teams within the team’ based on disability grouping. One element of the team building process was the creation of a logo for the 2000 Australian Paralympic team, which was based on the APC logo that had been created the year before. The logo was used extensively in the lead-up to the Games and featured on elements of the team uniform.

And a visit from the APF President

The President of the Australian Paralympic Federation, Bob McCullough, is joined by Team staff during a visit to the Games Village at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games. McCullough was a controversial figure who was overseeing a revolution in the structure and management of Paralympic sport in Australia that had been brought about by the dire financial position of the APF, then the awarding of the 2000 Olympics and Paralympics to Sydney and the subsequent boost in funding and support. Left to right: Peter Kelly (team Media Director), Paul Bird (Assistant Chef de Mission, Administration), Bob McCullough and an unknown Team liaison officer.

The full Beijing team was launched by a new Prime Minister at Parliament House

The full Australian team for the 2008 Beijing Paralympics was launched at Parliament House in Canberra by the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. The launch was attended by more than 40 federal members of parliament from all parties, the Chinese Ambassador to Australia and a range of invited guests, and representative athletes from every sport. In addition to receiving wide media coverage, the launch helped cement support from federal parliamentarians. Right to left in this photo: Kate Ellis (Minister for Sport), Greg Hartung (APC President), Kevin Rudd (Prime Minister), Therese Rein (wife of the Prime Minister and daughter of pioneer Australian 1957 Stoke Mandeville Games competitor John Rein), Wayne Swann (Federal Treasurer), Zhang Junsai (Chinese Ambassador to Australia), Bill Shorten (Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services).

The Prime Minister announced the largest ever funding increase for Paralympic sport

In the lead-up to the 2007 federal election, Prime Minister John Howard announced that the Federal Government would significantly increase funding to the Australian Paralympic Committee by $3.45m a year, commencing in 2007/08, plus a one-off grant of $1m to assist in televising the 2008 Beijing Games. Howard made the announcement in Sydney on Saturday 20 October, joined by members of the men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams (including Tina McKenzie, left, and Katie Hill, rear) and a large media contingent. The funding increase was in line with a submission made by the APC to the major parties well before the election was called. In total, it represented almost a doubling of federal funding and enabled the APC to invest in targetting new opportunities in medal sports, the creation of a mainstreaming fund, the integration of Paralympic programs within the Australian Institute of Sport and an expanded role for the APC in sports science, sport medicine and athlete services. It also ensured the most comprehensive TV coverage ever of an away Games by the ABC in Beijing. Although Howard’s government lost the election on 24 November, the incoming government honoured the commitment.

A new tagline for an awareness campaign leading to Beijing

The then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) commissioned Woolcott Research to conduct research into community awareness about Paralympic sport and the APC after the 2004 summer Paralympics and the 2006 winter Paralympics. The research showed that the APC had a low profile within Australia, there was little awareness about what it actually did, who funded the organisation and what Paralympic sport actually is. One outcome was that donations to the APC were low and budget allocation from the Federal Government reflected the low level of awareness of Australians generally. In 2007, a plan was created to raise the profile of the Paralympic movement in Australia and increase income through fundraising and government support. Publicis Mojo, the advertising agency used by APC sponsor Toyota, worked with the APC to create the ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ tagline for Australia’s Paralympians and a series of radio, print and TV ads. The APC would use ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ until after the 2008 Games. It was the first of several taglines used by the APC.

An education program would create a base of understanding and support

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, an extensive program in Australian schools created awareness of the Games, Paralympic sport and Australia’s Paralympians. One outcome was that more than 400,000 schoolchildren attended the Sydney Games. After 2000, the Australian Paralympic Committee had the rights to the program but did not have the resources to continue it. In 2007 the APC launched the Telstra Paralympic Education Program to raise awareness among primary school children of Paralympic sport, athletes and values. Key elements were that the program was matched to curriculum requirements in every state and territory and that it was largely delivered online. The program was supported by the Australian Sports Commission and APC sponsor Telstra. By the start of the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, 1,816 primary schools – 22 percent of Australia’s total – had joined the program, with those schools reporting that 282,975 children were involved.

The APC took responsibility for a coordinated approach to classification

Classification is the basis of all Paralympic sport. It is the process whereby athletes are put into classes so that in competition they are competing against others whose impairments have a similar influence on their performance potential. Until the 2004 summer and 2006 winter Paralympics, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) had a policy that the classification of athletes was their personal responsibility and the responsibility of their sport program. In practical terms, this meant that athletes went to the Paralympics and other competitions with uncertain classifications which could be changed before they competed and could see them either classified out – they could not compete at all – or reclassified into a different class. This approach had unfortunate consequences over the years, such as the traumatic Games for the wheelchair rugby team in 2004 and an athlete at the FESPIC Games in 2002 being unable to compete at all. In July 2006, Jenni Cole commenced as the APC’s National Classification Manager and a program was put in place to increase the number of classifiers across all sports in Australia and to ensure that every athlete going to a Games had the most secure possible level of classification. The program was a world first.

Key sponsors and supporters got a firsthand experience of the Games

For the 2000 Sydney Paralympics and since, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) sought to engage key sponsors and other supporters with the Australian team during the Games, to promote an understanding of the Games themselves and of the Australian team and its athletes. At the Torino winter Paralympics the sponsors and supporters group stayed near the Games’ venues in Sestriere and had a number of opportunities to interact with the athletes and team staff. The group included Ron Finneran and Steve Gibb from the APC’s program partner Disabled Wintersport Australia, Peter and Marion Evans (Toyota), Ross Cunningham (Star City), Kim and Judith Clifford (Thredbo Resorts), Belinda Green and Steve Mason (Desert Duel fundraiser organisers), John and Susie Croll (Media Monitors), Anthony Fanning (Healthe) and promotional competition winners Brian and Samuel Hardaker. The group was led by APC Board members Joyce Parzsos, Steve Loader and Justin Holdforth. Most of the group had been or were to become long term supporters of the APC and the Paralympic movement.

After Athens the APC went looking for talent (and found it)

After the Athens Paralympics, it was obvious that the pool of talent required to maintain Australia’s Paralympic standing would not keep replenishing itself. As sports were ‘mainstreamed’ and became the responsibility of national federations, there were calls, especially from athletics head coach Scott Goodman, for the Australian Paralympic Committee to use its expertise and experience to coordinate a national talent identification program. The APC’s ‘Talent Search’ program commenced with a ‘come and try’ day in March 2005 in Newcastle, NSW, at the University of Newcastle conducted by Paralympian Amy Winters and program manager Kellie Puxty. Amazingly, one of the attendees at that day, Kath Proudfoot, went on to become the first athlete identified through the program to win a Paralympic medal when she won a silver medal in the discus at the Beijing summer Paralympics. By the Beijing Games, 72 Talent Search activities had been conducted, with 1,008 participants. Of these, 127 were identified at ‘tier one’ athletes (future elite potential within two years) and 395 as ‘tier two’ athletes (elite potential within four years). Fifty-three Talent Search athletes were part of the Paralympic Preparation Program in the year leading into the Beijing Games, with 27 Talent Search athletes being selected in the Australian Paralympic Team and 15 of these winning medals at their first Paralympic Games. The program had been a success and over the years continued to contribute an increasing number of athletes to Australian teams.

To help create identity, the Australian Team would have its own logo

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, the then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) saw the need to create a strong team identity and culture for the Australian team. After all, the recent 1996 summer Paralympics had been the first Games where the team was not composed of a number of ‘teams within the team’ based on disability grouping. One element of the team building process was the creation of a logo for the 2000 Australian Paralympic team, which was based on the APC logo that had been created the year before. The logo was used extensively in the lead-up to the Games and featured on elements of the team uniform.

And a visit from the APF President

The President of the Australian Paralympic Federation, Bob McCullough, is joined by Team staff during a visit to the Games Village at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games. McCullough was a controversial figure who was overseeing a revolution in the structure and management of Paralympic sport in Australia that had been brought about by the dire financial position of the APF, then the awarding of the 2000 Olympics and Paralympics to Sydney and the subsequent boost in funding and support. Left to right: Peter Kelly (team Media Director), Paul Bird (Assistant Chef de Mission, Administration), Bob McCullough and an unknown Team liaison officer.

The full Beijing team was launched by a new Prime Minister at Parliament House

The full Australian team for the 2008 Beijing Paralympics was launched at Parliament House in Canberra by the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. The launch was attended by more than 40 federal members of parliament from all parties, the Chinese Ambassador to Australia and a range of invited guests, and representative athletes from every sport. In addition to receiving wide media coverage, the launch helped cement support from federal parliamentarians. Right to left in this photo: Kate Ellis (Minister for Sport), Greg Hartung (APC President), Kevin Rudd (Prime Minister), Therese Rein (wife of the Prime Minister and daughter of pioneer Australian 1957 Stoke Mandeville Games competitor John Rein), Wayne Swann (Federal Treasurer), Zhang Junsai (Chinese Ambassador to Australia), Bill Shorten (Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services).

The Prime Minister announced the largest ever funding increase for Paralympic sport

In the lead-up to the 2007 federal election, Prime Minister John Howard announced that the Federal Government would significantly increase funding to the Australian Paralympic Committee by $3.45m a year, commencing in 2007/08, plus a one-off grant of $1m to assist in televising the 2008 Beijing Games. Howard made the announcement in Sydney on Saturday 20 October, joined by members of the men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams (including Tina McKenzie, left, and Katie Hill, rear) and a large media contingent. The funding increase was in line with a submission made by the APC to the major parties well before the election was called. In total, it represented almost a doubling of federal funding and enabled the APC to invest in targetting new opportunities in medal sports, the creation of a mainstreaming fund, the integration of Paralympic programs within the Australian Institute of Sport and an expanded role for the APC in sports science, sport medicine and athlete services. It also ensured the most comprehensive TV coverage ever of an away Games by the ABC in Beijing. Although Howard’s government lost the election on 24 November, the incoming government honoured the commitment.

A new tagline for an awareness campaign leading to Beijing

The then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) commissioned Woolcott Research to conduct research into community awareness about Paralympic sport and the APC after the 2004 summer Paralympics and the 2006 winter Paralympics. The research showed that the APC had a low profile within Australia, there was little awareness about what it actually did, who funded the organisation and what Paralympic sport actually is. One outcome was that donations to the APC were low and budget allocation from the Federal Government reflected the low level of awareness of Australians generally. In 2007, a plan was created to raise the profile of the Paralympic movement in Australia and increase income through fundraising and government support. Publicis Mojo, the advertising agency used by APC sponsor Toyota, worked with the APC to create the ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ tagline for Australia’s Paralympians and a series of radio, print and TV ads. The APC would use ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ until after the 2008 Games. It was the first of several taglines used by the APC.

An education program would create a base of understanding and support

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, an extensive program in Australian schools created awareness of the Games, Paralympic sport and Australia’s Paralympians. One outcome was that more than 400,000 schoolchildren attended the Sydney Games. After 2000, the Australian Paralympic Committee had the rights to the program but did not have the resources to continue it. In 2007 the APC launched the Telstra Paralympic Education Program to raise awareness among primary school children of Paralympic sport, athletes and values. Key elements were that the program was matched to curriculum requirements in every state and territory and that it was largely delivered online. The program was supported by the Australian Sports Commission and APC sponsor Telstra. By the start of the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, 1,816 primary schools – 22 percent of Australia’s total – had joined the program, with those schools reporting that 282,975 children were involved.

The APC took responsibility for a coordinated approach to classification

Classification is the basis of all Paralympic sport. It is the process whereby athletes are put into classes so that in competition they are competing against others whose impairments have a similar influence on their performance potential. Until the 2004 summer and 2006 winter Paralympics, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) had a policy that the classification of athletes was their personal responsibility and the responsibility of their sport program. In practical terms, this meant that athletes went to the Paralympics and other competitions with uncertain classifications which could be changed before they competed and could see them either classified out – they could not compete at all – or reclassified into a different class. This approach had unfortunate consequences over the years, such as the traumatic Games for the wheelchair rugby team in 2004 and an athlete at the FESPIC Games in 2002 being unable to compete at all. In July 2006, Jenni Cole commenced as the APC’s National Classification Manager and a program was put in place to increase the number of classifiers across all sports in Australia and to ensure that every athlete going to a Games had the most secure possible level of classification. The program was a world first.

Key sponsors and supporters got a firsthand experience of the Games

For the 2000 Sydney Paralympics and since, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) sought to engage key sponsors and other supporters with the Australian team during the Games, to promote an understanding of the Games themselves and of the Australian team and its athletes. At the Torino winter Paralympics the sponsors and supporters group stayed near the Games’ venues in Sestriere and had a number of opportunities to interact with the athletes and team staff. The group included Ron Finneran and Steve Gibb from the APC’s program partner Disabled Wintersport Australia, Peter and Marion Evans (Toyota), Ross Cunningham (Star City), Kim and Judith Clifford (Thredbo Resorts), Belinda Green and Steve Mason (Desert Duel fundraiser organisers), John and Susie Croll (Media Monitors), Anthony Fanning (Healthe) and promotional competition winners Brian and Samuel Hardaker. The group was led by APC Board members Joyce Parzsos, Steve Loader and Justin Holdforth. Most of the group had been or were to become long term supporters of the APC and the Paralympic movement.

After Athens the APC went looking for talent (and found it)

After the Athens Paralympics, it was obvious that the pool of talent required to maintain Australia’s Paralympic standing would not keep replenishing itself. As sports were ‘mainstreamed’ and became the responsibility of national federations, there were calls, especially from athletics head coach Scott Goodman, for the Australian Paralympic Committee to use its expertise and experience to coordinate a national talent identification program. The APC’s ‘Talent Search’ program commenced with a ‘come and try’ day in March 2005 in Newcastle, NSW, at the University of Newcastle conducted by Paralympian Amy Winters and program manager Kellie Puxty. Amazingly, one of the attendees at that day, Kath Proudfoot, went on to become the first athlete identified through the program to win a Paralympic medal when she won a silver medal in the discus at the Beijing summer Paralympics. By the Beijing Games, 72 Talent Search activities had been conducted, with 1,008 participants. Of these, 127 were identified at ‘tier one’ athletes (future elite potential within two years) and 395 as ‘tier two’ athletes (elite potential within four years). Fifty-three Talent Search athletes were part of the Paralympic Preparation Program in the year leading into the Beijing Games, with 27 Talent Search athletes being selected in the Australian Paralympic Team and 15 of these winning medals at their first Paralympic Games. The program had been a success and over the years continued to contribute an increasing number of athletes to Australian teams.

To help create identity, the Australian Team would have its own logo

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, the then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) saw the need to create a strong team identity and culture for the Australian team. After all, the recent 1996 summer Paralympics had been the first Games where the team was not composed of a number of ‘teams within the team’ based on disability grouping. One element of the team building process was the creation of a logo for the 2000 Australian Paralympic team, which was based on the APC logo that had been created the year before. The logo was used extensively in the lead-up to the Games and featured on elements of the team uniform.

And a visit from the APF President

The President of the Australian Paralympic Federation, Bob McCullough, is joined by Team staff during a visit to the Games Village at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games. McCullough was a controversial figure who was overseeing a revolution in the structure and management of Paralympic sport in Australia that had been brought about by the dire financial position of the APF, then the awarding of the 2000 Olympics and Paralympics to Sydney and the subsequent boost in funding and support. Left to right: Peter Kelly (team Media Director), Paul Bird (Assistant Chef de Mission, Administration), Bob McCullough and an unknown Team liaison officer.

The full Beijing team was launched by a new Prime Minister at Parliament House

The full Australian team for the 2008 Beijing Paralympics was launched at Parliament House in Canberra by the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. The launch was attended by more than 40 federal members of parliament from all parties, the Chinese Ambassador to Australia and a range of invited guests, and representative athletes from every sport. In addition to receiving wide media coverage, the launch helped cement support from federal parliamentarians. Right to left in this photo: Kate Ellis (Minister for Sport), Greg Hartung (APC President), Kevin Rudd (Prime Minister), Therese Rein (wife of the Prime Minister and daughter of pioneer Australian 1957 Stoke Mandeville Games competitor John Rein), Wayne Swann (Federal Treasurer), Zhang Junsai (Chinese Ambassador to Australia), Bill Shorten (Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services).

The Prime Minister announced the largest ever funding increase for Paralympic sport

In the lead-up to the 2007 federal election, Prime Minister John Howard announced that the Federal Government would significantly increase funding to the Australian Paralympic Committee by $3.45m a year, commencing in 2007/08, plus a one-off grant of $1m to assist in televising the 2008 Beijing Games. Howard made the announcement in Sydney on Saturday 20 October, joined by members of the men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams (including Tina McKenzie, left, and Katie Hill, rear) and a large media contingent. The funding increase was in line with a submission made by the APC to the major parties well before the election was called. In total, it represented almost a doubling of federal funding and enabled the APC to invest in targetting new opportunities in medal sports, the creation of a mainstreaming fund, the integration of Paralympic programs within the Australian Institute of Sport and an expanded role for the APC in sports science, sport medicine and athlete services. It also ensured the most comprehensive TV coverage ever of an away Games by the ABC in Beijing. Although Howard’s government lost the election on 24 November, the incoming government honoured the commitment.

A new tagline for an awareness campaign leading to Beijing

The then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) commissioned Woolcott Research to conduct research into community awareness about Paralympic sport and the APC after the 2004 summer Paralympics and the 2006 winter Paralympics. The research showed that the APC had a low profile within Australia, there was little awareness about what it actually did, who funded the organisation and what Paralympic sport actually is. One outcome was that donations to the APC were low and budget allocation from the Federal Government reflected the low level of awareness of Australians generally. In 2007, a plan was created to raise the profile of the Paralympic movement in Australia and increase income through fundraising and government support. Publicis Mojo, the advertising agency used by APC sponsor Toyota, worked with the APC to create the ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ tagline for Australia’s Paralympians and a series of radio, print and TV ads. The APC would use ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ until after the 2008 Games. It was the first of several taglines used by the APC.

An education program would create a base of understanding and support

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, an extensive program in Australian schools created awareness of the Games, Paralympic sport and Australia’s Paralympians. One outcome was that more than 400,000 schoolchildren attended the Sydney Games. After 2000, the Australian Paralympic Committee had the rights to the program but did not have the resources to continue it. In 2007 the APC launched the Telstra Paralympic Education Program to raise awareness among primary school children of Paralympic sport, athletes and values. Key elements were that the program was matched to curriculum requirements in every state and territory and that it was largely delivered online. The program was supported by the Australian Sports Commission and APC sponsor Telstra. By the start of the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, 1,816 primary schools – 22 percent of Australia’s total – had joined the program, with those schools reporting that 282,975 children were involved.

The APC took responsibility for a coordinated approach to classification

Classification is the basis of all Paralympic sport. It is the process whereby athletes are put into classes so that in competition they are competing against others whose impairments have a similar influence on their performance potential. Until the 2004 summer and 2006 winter Paralympics, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) had a policy that the classification of athletes was their personal responsibility and the responsibility of their sport program. In practical terms, this meant that athletes went to the Paralympics and other competitions with uncertain classifications which could be changed before they competed and could see them either classified out – they could not compete at all – or reclassified into a different class. This approach had unfortunate consequences over the years, such as the traumatic Games for the wheelchair rugby team in 2004 and an athlete at the FESPIC Games in 2002 being unable to compete at all. In July 2006, Jenni Cole commenced as the APC’s National Classification Manager and a program was put in place to increase the number of classifiers across all sports in Australia and to ensure that every athlete going to a Games had the most secure possible level of classification. The program was a world first.

Key sponsors and supporters got a firsthand experience of the Games

For the 2000 Sydney Paralympics and since, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) sought to engage key sponsors and other supporters with the Australian team during the Games, to promote an understanding of the Games themselves and of the Australian team and its athletes. At the Torino winter Paralympics the sponsors and supporters group stayed near the Games’ venues in Sestriere and had a number of opportunities to interact with the athletes and team staff. The group included Ron Finneran and Steve Gibb from the APC’s program partner Disabled Wintersport Australia, Peter and Marion Evans (Toyota), Ross Cunningham (Star City), Kim and Judith Clifford (Thredbo Resorts), Belinda Green and Steve Mason (Desert Duel fundraiser organisers), John and Susie Croll (Media Monitors), Anthony Fanning (Healthe) and promotional competition winners Brian and Samuel Hardaker. The group was led by APC Board members Joyce Parzsos, Steve Loader and Justin Holdforth. Most of the group had been or were to become long term supporters of the APC and the Paralympic movement.

After Athens the APC went looking for talent (and found it)

After the Athens Paralympics, it was obvious that the pool of talent required to maintain Australia’s Paralympic standing would not keep replenishing itself. As sports were ‘mainstreamed’ and became the responsibility of national federations, there were calls, especially from athletics head coach Scott Goodman, for the Australian Paralympic Committee to use its expertise and experience to coordinate a national talent identification program. The APC’s ‘Talent Search’ program commenced with a ‘come and try’ day in March 2005 in Newcastle, NSW, at the University of Newcastle conducted by Paralympian Amy Winters and program manager Kellie Puxty. Amazingly, one of the attendees at that day, Kath Proudfoot, went on to become the first athlete identified through the program to win a Paralympic medal when she won a silver medal in the discus at the Beijing summer Paralympics. By the Beijing Games, 72 Talent Search activities had been conducted, with 1,008 participants. Of these, 127 were identified at ‘tier one’ athletes (future elite potential within two years) and 395 as ‘tier two’ athletes (elite potential within four years). Fifty-three Talent Search athletes were part of the Paralympic Preparation Program in the year leading into the Beijing Games, with 27 Talent Search athletes being selected in the Australian Paralympic Team and 15 of these winning medals at their first Paralympic Games. The program had been a success and over the years continued to contribute an increasing number of athletes to Australian teams.

To help create identity, the Australian Team would have its own logo

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, the then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) saw the need to create a strong team identity and culture for the Australian team. After all, the recent 1996 summer Paralympics had been the first Games where the team was not composed of a number of ‘teams within the team’ based on disability grouping. One element of the team building process was the creation of a logo for the 2000 Australian Paralympic team, which was based on the APC logo that had been created the year before. The logo was used extensively in the lead-up to the Games and featured on elements of the team uniform.

And a visit from the APF President

The President of the Australian Paralympic Federation, Bob McCullough, is joined by Team staff during a visit to the Games Village at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games. McCullough was a controversial figure who was overseeing a revolution in the structure and management of Paralympic sport in Australia that had been brought about by the dire financial position of the APF, then the awarding of the 2000 Olympics and Paralympics to Sydney and the subsequent boost in funding and support. Left to right: Peter Kelly (team Media Director), Paul Bird (Assistant Chef de Mission, Administration), Bob McCullough and an unknown Team liaison officer.

The full Beijing team was launched by a new Prime Minister at Parliament House

The full Australian team for the 2008 Beijing Paralympics was launched at Parliament House in Canberra by the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. The launch was attended by more than 40 federal members of parliament from all parties, the Chinese Ambassador to Australia and a range of invited guests, and representative athletes from every sport. In addition to receiving wide media coverage, the launch helped cement support from federal parliamentarians. Right to left in this photo: Kate Ellis (Minister for Sport), Greg Hartung (APC President), Kevin Rudd (Prime Minister), Therese Rein (wife of the Prime Minister and daughter of pioneer Australian 1957 Stoke Mandeville Games competitor John Rein), Wayne Swann (Federal Treasurer), Zhang Junsai (Chinese Ambassador to Australia), Bill Shorten (Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services).

The Prime Minister announced the largest ever funding increase for Paralympic sport

In the lead-up to the 2007 federal election, Prime Minister John Howard announced that the Federal Government would significantly increase funding to the Australian Paralympic Committee by $3.45m a year, commencing in 2007/08, plus a one-off grant of $1m to assist in televising the 2008 Beijing Games. Howard made the announcement in Sydney on Saturday 20 October, joined by members of the men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams (including Tina McKenzie, left, and Katie Hill, rear) and a large media contingent. The funding increase was in line with a submission made by the APC to the major parties well before the election was called. In total, it represented almost a doubling of federal funding and enabled the APC to invest in targetting new opportunities in medal sports, the creation of a mainstreaming fund, the integration of Paralympic programs within the Australian Institute of Sport and an expanded role for the APC in sports science, sport medicine and athlete services. It also ensured the most comprehensive TV coverage ever of an away Games by the ABC in Beijing. Although Howard’s government lost the election on 24 November, the incoming government honoured the commitment.

A new tagline for an awareness campaign leading to Beijing

The then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) commissioned Woolcott Research to conduct research into community awareness about Paralympic sport and the APC after the 2004 summer Paralympics and the 2006 winter Paralympics. The research showed that the APC had a low profile within Australia, there was little awareness about what it actually did, who funded the organisation and what Paralympic sport actually is. One outcome was that donations to the APC were low and budget allocation from the Federal Government reflected the low level of awareness of Australians generally. In 2007, a plan was created to raise the profile of the Paralympic movement in Australia and increase income through fundraising and government support. Publicis Mojo, the advertising agency used by APC sponsor Toyota, worked with the APC to create the ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ tagline for Australia’s Paralympians and a series of radio, print and TV ads. The APC would use ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ until after the 2008 Games. It was the first of several taglines used by the APC.

An education program would create a base of understanding and support

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, an extensive program in Australian schools created awareness of the Games, Paralympic sport and Australia’s Paralympians. One outcome was that more than 400,000 schoolchildren attended the Sydney Games. After 2000, the Australian Paralympic Committee had the rights to the program but did not have the resources to continue it. In 2007 the APC launched the Telstra Paralympic Education Program to raise awareness among primary school children of Paralympic sport, athletes and values. Key elements were that the program was matched to curriculum requirements in every state and territory and that it was largely delivered online. The program was supported by the Australian Sports Commission and APC sponsor Telstra. By the start of the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, 1,816 primary schools – 22 percent of Australia’s total – had joined the program, with those schools reporting that 282,975 children were involved.

The APC took responsibility for a coordinated approach to classification

Classification is the basis of all Paralympic sport. It is the process whereby athletes are put into classes so that in competition they are competing against others whose impairments have a similar influence on their performance potential. Until the 2004 summer and 2006 winter Paralympics, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) had a policy that the classification of athletes was their personal responsibility and the responsibility of their sport program. In practical terms, this meant that athletes went to the Paralympics and other competitions with uncertain classifications which could be changed before they competed and could see them either classified out – they could not compete at all – or reclassified into a different class. This approach had unfortunate consequences over the years, such as the traumatic Games for the wheelchair rugby team in 2004 and an athlete at the FESPIC Games in 2002 being unable to compete at all. In July 2006, Jenni Cole commenced as the APC’s National Classification Manager and a program was put in place to increase the number of classifiers across all sports in Australia and to ensure that every athlete going to a Games had the most secure possible level of classification. The program was a world first.

Key sponsors and supporters got a firsthand experience of the Games

For the 2000 Sydney Paralympics and since, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) sought to engage key sponsors and other supporters with the Australian team during the Games, to promote an understanding of the Games themselves and of the Australian team and its athletes. At the Torino winter Paralympics the sponsors and supporters group stayed near the Games’ venues in Sestriere and had a number of opportunities to interact with the athletes and team staff. The group included Ron Finneran and Steve Gibb from the APC’s program partner Disabled Wintersport Australia, Peter and Marion Evans (Toyota), Ross Cunningham (Star City), Kim and Judith Clifford (Thredbo Resorts), Belinda Green and Steve Mason (Desert Duel fundraiser organisers), John and Susie Croll (Media Monitors), Anthony Fanning (Healthe) and promotional competition winners Brian and Samuel Hardaker. The group was led by APC Board members Joyce Parzsos, Steve Loader and Justin Holdforth. Most of the group had been or were to become long term supporters of the APC and the Paralympic movement.

After Athens the APC went looking for talent (and found it)

After the Athens Paralympics, it was obvious that the pool of talent required to maintain Australia’s Paralympic standing would not keep replenishing itself. As sports were ‘mainstreamed’ and became the responsibility of national federations, there were calls, especially from athletics head coach Scott Goodman, for the Australian Paralympic Committee to use its expertise and experience to coordinate a national talent identification program. The APC’s ‘Talent Search’ program commenced with a ‘come and try’ day in March 2005 in Newcastle, NSW, at the University of Newcastle conducted by Paralympian Amy Winters and program manager Kellie Puxty. Amazingly, one of the attendees at that day, Kath Proudfoot, went on to become the first athlete identified through the program to win a Paralympic medal when she won a silver medal in the discus at the Beijing summer Paralympics. By the Beijing Games, 72 Talent Search activities had been conducted, with 1,008 participants. Of these, 127 were identified at ‘tier one’ athletes (future elite potential within two years) and 395 as ‘tier two’ athletes (elite potential within four years). Fifty-three Talent Search athletes were part of the Paralympic Preparation Program in the year leading into the Beijing Games, with 27 Talent Search athletes being selected in the Australian Paralympic Team and 15 of these winning medals at their first Paralympic Games. The program had been a success and over the years continued to contribute an increasing number of athletes to Australian teams.

To help create identity, the Australian Team would have its own logo

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, the then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) saw the need to create a strong team identity and culture for the Australian team. After all, the recent 1996 summer Paralympics had been the first Games where the team was not composed of a number of ‘teams within the team’ based on disability grouping. One element of the team building process was the creation of a logo for the 2000 Australian Paralympic team, which was based on the APC logo that had been created the year before. The logo was used extensively in the lead-up to the Games and featured on elements of the team uniform.

And a visit from the APF President

The President of the Australian Paralympic Federation, Bob McCullough, is joined by Team staff during a visit to the Games Village at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games. McCullough was a controversial figure who was overseeing a revolution in the structure and management of Paralympic sport in Australia that had been brought about by the dire financial position of the APF, then the awarding of the 2000 Olympics and Paralympics to Sydney and the subsequent boost in funding and support. Left to right: Peter Kelly (team Media Director), Paul Bird (Assistant Chef de Mission, Administration), Bob McCullough and an unknown Team liaison officer.

The full Beijing team was launched by a new Prime Minister at Parliament House

The full Australian team for the 2008 Beijing Paralympics was launched at Parliament House in Canberra by the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. The launch was attended by more than 40 federal members of parliament from all parties, the Chinese Ambassador to Australia and a range of invited guests, and representative athletes from every sport. In addition to receiving wide media coverage, the launch helped cement support from federal parliamentarians. Right to left in this photo: Kate Ellis (Minister for Sport), Greg Hartung (APC President), Kevin Rudd (Prime Minister), Therese Rein (wife of the Prime Minister and daughter of pioneer Australian 1957 Stoke Mandeville Games competitor John Rein), Wayne Swann (Federal Treasurer), Zhang Junsai (Chinese Ambassador to Australia), Bill Shorten (Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services).

The Prime Minister announced the largest ever funding increase for Paralympic sport

In the lead-up to the 2007 federal election, Prime Minister John Howard announced that the Federal Government would significantly increase funding to the Australian Paralympic Committee by $3.45m a year, commencing in 2007/08, plus a one-off grant of $1m to assist in televising the 2008 Beijing Games. Howard made the announcement in Sydney on Saturday 20 October, joined by members of the men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams (including Tina McKenzie, left, and Katie Hill, rear) and a large media contingent. The funding increase was in line with a submission made by the APC to the major parties well before the election was called. In total, it represented almost a doubling of federal funding and enabled the APC to invest in targetting new opportunities in medal sports, the creation of a mainstreaming fund, the integration of Paralympic programs within the Australian Institute of Sport and an expanded role for the APC in sports science, sport medicine and athlete services. It also ensured the most comprehensive TV coverage ever of an away Games by the ABC in Beijing. Although Howard’s government lost the election on 24 November, the incoming government honoured the commitment.

A new tagline for an awareness campaign leading to Beijing

The then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) commissioned Woolcott Research to conduct research into community awareness about Paralympic sport and the APC after the 2004 summer Paralympics and the 2006 winter Paralympics. The research showed that the APC had a low profile within Australia, there was little awareness about what it actually did, who funded the organisation and what Paralympic sport actually is. One outcome was that donations to the APC were low and budget allocation from the Federal Government reflected the low level of awareness of Australians generally. In 2007, a plan was created to raise the profile of the Paralympic movement in Australia and increase income through fundraising and government support. Publicis Mojo, the advertising agency used by APC sponsor Toyota, worked with the APC to create the ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ tagline for Australia’s Paralympians and a series of radio, print and TV ads. The APC would use ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ until after the 2008 Games. It was the first of several taglines used by the APC.

An education program would create a base of understanding and support

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, an extensive program in Australian schools created awareness of the Games, Paralympic sport and Australia’s Paralympians. One outcome was that more than 400,000 schoolchildren attended the Sydney Games. After 2000, the Australian Paralympic Committee had the rights to the program but did not have the resources to continue it. In 2007 the APC launched the Telstra Paralympic Education Program to raise awareness among primary school children of Paralympic sport, athletes and values. Key elements were that the program was matched to curriculum requirements in every state and territory and that it was largely delivered online. The program was supported by the Australian Sports Commission and APC sponsor Telstra. By the start of the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, 1,816 primary schools – 22 percent of Australia’s total – had joined the program, with those schools reporting that 282,975 children were involved.

The APC took responsibility for a coordinated approach to classification

Classification is the basis of all Paralympic sport. It is the process whereby athletes are put into classes so that in competition they are competing against others whose impairments have a similar influence on their performance potential. Until the 2004 summer and 2006 winter Paralympics, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) had a policy that the classification of athletes was their personal responsibility and the responsibility of their sport program. In practical terms, this meant that athletes went to the Paralympics and other competitions with uncertain classifications which could be changed before they competed and could see them either classified out – they could not compete at all – or reclassified into a different class. This approach had unfortunate consequences over the years, such as the traumatic Games for the wheelchair rugby team in 2004 and an athlete at the FESPIC Games in 2002 being unable to compete at all. In July 2006, Jenni Cole commenced as the APC’s National Classification Manager and a program was put in place to increase the number of classifiers across all sports in Australia and to ensure that every athlete going to a Games had the most secure possible level of classification. The program was a world first.

Key sponsors and supporters got a firsthand experience of the Games

For the 2000 Sydney Paralympics and since, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) sought to engage key sponsors and other supporters with the Australian team during the Games, to promote an understanding of the Games themselves and of the Australian team and its athletes. At the Torino winter Paralympics the sponsors and supporters group stayed near the Games’ venues in Sestriere and had a number of opportunities to interact with the athletes and team staff. The group included Ron Finneran and Steve Gibb from the APC’s program partner Disabled Wintersport Australia, Peter and Marion Evans (Toyota), Ross Cunningham (Star City), Kim and Judith Clifford (Thredbo Resorts), Belinda Green and Steve Mason (Desert Duel fundraiser organisers), John and Susie Croll (Media Monitors), Anthony Fanning (Healthe) and promotional competition winners Brian and Samuel Hardaker. The group was led by APC Board members Joyce Parzsos, Steve Loader and Justin Holdforth. Most of the group had been or were to become long term supporters of the APC and the Paralympic movement.

After Athens the APC went looking for talent (and found it)

After the Athens Paralympics, it was obvious that the pool of talent required to maintain Australia’s Paralympic standing would not keep replenishing itself. As sports were ‘mainstreamed’ and became the responsibility of national federations, there were calls, especially from athletics head coach Scott Goodman, for the Australian Paralympic Committee to use its expertise and experience to coordinate a national talent identification program. The APC’s ‘Talent Search’ program commenced with a ‘come and try’ day in March 2005 in Newcastle, NSW, at the University of Newcastle conducted by Paralympian Amy Winters and program manager Kellie Puxty. Amazingly, one of the attendees at that day, Kath Proudfoot, went on to become the first athlete identified through the program to win a Paralympic medal when she won a silver medal in the discus at the Beijing summer Paralympics. By the Beijing Games, 72 Talent Search activities had been conducted, with 1,008 participants. Of these, 127 were identified at ‘tier one’ athletes (future elite potential within two years) and 395 as ‘tier two’ athletes (elite potential within four years). Fifty-three Talent Search athletes were part of the Paralympic Preparation Program in the year leading into the Beijing Games, with 27 Talent Search athletes being selected in the Australian Paralympic Team and 15 of these winning medals at their first Paralympic Games. The program had been a success and over the years continued to contribute an increasing number of athletes to Australian teams.

To help create identity, the Australian Team would have its own logo

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, the then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) saw the need to create a strong team identity and culture for the Australian team. After all, the recent 1996 summer Paralympics had been the first Games where the team was not composed of a number of ‘teams within the team’ based on disability grouping. One element of the team building process was the creation of a logo for the 2000 Australian Paralympic team, which was based on the APC logo that had been created the year before. The logo was used extensively in the lead-up to the Games and featured on elements of the team uniform.

And a visit from the APF President

The President of the Australian Paralympic Federation, Bob McCullough, is joined by Team staff during a visit to the Games Village at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games. McCullough was a controversial figure who was overseeing a revolution in the structure and management of Paralympic sport in Australia that had been brought about by the dire financial position of the APF, then the awarding of the 2000 Olympics and Paralympics to Sydney and the subsequent boost in funding and support. Left to right: Peter Kelly (team Media Director), Paul Bird (Assistant Chef de Mission, Administration), Bob McCullough and an unknown Team liaison officer.

The full Beijing team was launched by a new Prime Minister at Parliament House

The full Australian team for the 2008 Beijing Paralympics was launched at Parliament House in Canberra by the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. The launch was attended by more than 40 federal members of parliament from all parties, the Chinese Ambassador to Australia and a range of invited guests, and representative athletes from every sport. In addition to receiving wide media coverage, the launch helped cement support from federal parliamentarians. Right to left in this photo: Kate Ellis (Minister for Sport), Greg Hartung (APC President), Kevin Rudd (Prime Minister), Therese Rein (wife of the Prime Minister and daughter of pioneer Australian 1957 Stoke Mandeville Games competitor John Rein), Wayne Swann (Federal Treasurer), Zhang Junsai (Chinese Ambassador to Australia), Bill Shorten (Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services).

The Prime Minister announced the largest ever funding increase for Paralympic sport

In the lead-up to the 2007 federal election, Prime Minister John Howard announced that the Federal Government would significantly increase funding to the Australian Paralympic Committee by $3.45m a year, commencing in 2007/08, plus a one-off grant of $1m to assist in televising the 2008 Beijing Games. Howard made the announcement in Sydney on Saturday 20 October, joined by members of the men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams (including Tina McKenzie, left, and Katie Hill, rear) and a large media contingent. The funding increase was in line with a submission made by the APC to the major parties well before the election was called. In total, it represented almost a doubling of federal funding and enabled the APC to invest in targetting new opportunities in medal sports, the creation of a mainstreaming fund, the integration of Paralympic programs within the Australian Institute of Sport and an expanded role for the APC in sports science, sport medicine and athlete services. It also ensured the most comprehensive TV coverage ever of an away Games by the ABC in Beijing. Although Howard’s government lost the election on 24 November, the incoming government honoured the commitment.

A new tagline for an awareness campaign leading to Beijing

The then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) commissioned Woolcott Research to conduct research into community awareness about Paralympic sport and the APC after the 2004 summer Paralympics and the 2006 winter Paralympics. The research showed that the APC had a low profile within Australia, there was little awareness about what it actually did, who funded the organisation and what Paralympic sport actually is. One outcome was that donations to the APC were low and budget allocation from the Federal Government reflected the low level of awareness of Australians generally. In 2007, a plan was created to raise the profile of the Paralympic movement in Australia and increase income through fundraising and government support. Publicis Mojo, the advertising agency used by APC sponsor Toyota, worked with the APC to create the ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ tagline for Australia’s Paralympians and a series of radio, print and TV ads. The APC would use ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ until after the 2008 Games. It was the first of several taglines used by the APC.

An education program would create a base of understanding and support

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, an extensive program in Australian schools created awareness of the Games, Paralympic sport and Australia’s Paralympians. One outcome was that more than 400,000 schoolchildren attended the Sydney Games. After 2000, the Australian Paralympic Committee had the rights to the program but did not have the resources to continue it. In 2007 the APC launched the Telstra Paralympic Education Program to raise awareness among primary school children of Paralympic sport, athletes and values. Key elements were that the program was matched to curriculum requirements in every state and territory and that it was largely delivered online. The program was supported by the Australian Sports Commission and APC sponsor Telstra. By the start of the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, 1,816 primary schools – 22 percent of Australia’s total – had joined the program, with those schools reporting that 282,975 children were involved.

The APC took responsibility for a coordinated approach to classification

Classification is the basis of all Paralympic sport. It is the process whereby athletes are put into classes so that in competition they are competing against others whose impairments have a similar influence on their performance potential. Until the 2004 summer and 2006 winter Paralympics, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) had a policy that the classification of athletes was their personal responsibility and the responsibility of their sport program. In practical terms, this meant that athletes went to the Paralympics and other competitions with uncertain classifications which could be changed before they competed and could see them either classified out – they could not compete at all – or reclassified into a different class. This approach had unfortunate consequences over the years, such as the traumatic Games for the wheelchair rugby team in 2004 and an athlete at the FESPIC Games in 2002 being unable to compete at all. In July 2006, Jenni Cole commenced as the APC’s National Classification Manager and a program was put in place to increase the number of classifiers across all sports in Australia and to ensure that every athlete going to a Games had the most secure possible level of classification. The program was a world first.

Key sponsors and supporters got a firsthand experience of the Games

For the 2000 Sydney Paralympics and since, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) sought to engage key sponsors and other supporters with the Australian team during the Games, to promote an understanding of the Games themselves and of the Australian team and its athletes. At the Torino winter Paralympics the sponsors and supporters group stayed near the Games’ venues in Sestriere and had a number of opportunities to interact with the athletes and team staff. The group included Ron Finneran and Steve Gibb from the APC’s program partner Disabled Wintersport Australia, Peter and Marion Evans (Toyota), Ross Cunningham (Star City), Kim and Judith Clifford (Thredbo Resorts), Belinda Green and Steve Mason (Desert Duel fundraiser organisers), John and Susie Croll (Media Monitors), Anthony Fanning (Healthe) and promotional competition winners Brian and Samuel Hardaker. The group was led by APC Board members Joyce Parzsos, Steve Loader and Justin Holdforth. Most of the group had been or were to become long term supporters of the APC and the Paralympic movement.

After Athens the APC went looking for talent (and found it)

After the Athens Paralympics, it was obvious that the pool of talent required to maintain Australia’s Paralympic standing would not keep replenishing itself. As sports were ‘mainstreamed’ and became the responsibility of national federations, there were calls, especially from athletics head coach Scott Goodman, for the Australian Paralympic Committee to use its expertise and experience to coordinate a national talent identification program. The APC’s ‘Talent Search’ program commenced with a ‘come and try’ day in March 2005 in Newcastle, NSW, at the University of Newcastle conducted by Paralympian Amy Winters and program manager Kellie Puxty. Amazingly, one of the attendees at that day, Kath Proudfoot, went on to become the first athlete identified through the program to win a Paralympic medal when she won a silver medal in the discus at the Beijing summer Paralympics. By the Beijing Games, 72 Talent Search activities had been conducted, with 1,008 participants. Of these, 127 were identified at ‘tier one’ athletes (future elite potential within two years) and 395 as ‘tier two’ athletes (elite potential within four years). Fifty-three Talent Search athletes were part of the Paralympic Preparation Program in the year leading into the Beijing Games, with 27 Talent Search athletes being selected in the Australian Paralympic Team and 15 of these winning medals at their first Paralympic Games. The program had been a success and over the years continued to contribute an increasing number of athletes to Australian teams.

To help create identity, the Australian Team would have its own logo

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, the then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) saw the need to create a strong team identity and culture for the Australian team. After all, the recent 1996 summer Paralympics had been the first Games where the team was not composed of a number of ‘teams within the team’ based on disability grouping. One element of the team building process was the creation of a logo for the 2000 Australian Paralympic team, which was based on the APC logo that had been created the year before. The logo was used extensively in the lead-up to the Games and featured on elements of the team uniform.

And a visit from the APF President

The President of the Australian Paralympic Federation, Bob McCullough, is joined by Team staff during a visit to the Games Village at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games. McCullough was a controversial figure who was overseeing a revolution in the structure and management of Paralympic sport in Australia that had been brought about by the dire financial position of the APF, then the awarding of the 2000 Olympics and Paralympics to Sydney and the subsequent boost in funding and support. Left to right: Peter Kelly (team Media Director), Paul Bird (Assistant Chef de Mission, Administration), Bob McCullough and an unknown Team liaison officer.

The full Beijing team was launched by a new Prime Minister at Parliament House

The full Australian team for the 2008 Beijing Paralympics was launched at Parliament House in Canberra by the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. The launch was attended by more than 40 federal members of parliament from all parties, the Chinese Ambassador to Australia and a range of invited guests, and representative athletes from every sport. In addition to receiving wide media coverage, the launch helped cement support from federal parliamentarians. Right to left in this photo: Kate Ellis (Minister for Sport), Greg Hartung (APC President), Kevin Rudd (Prime Minister), Therese Rein (wife of the Prime Minister and daughter of pioneer Australian 1957 Stoke Mandeville Games competitor John Rein), Wayne Swann (Federal Treasurer), Zhang Junsai (Chinese Ambassador to Australia), Bill Shorten (Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services).

The Prime Minister announced the largest ever funding increase for Paralympic sport

In the lead-up to the 2007 federal election, Prime Minister John Howard announced that the Federal Government would significantly increase funding to the Australian Paralympic Committee by $3.45m a year, commencing in 2007/08, plus a one-off grant of $1m to assist in televising the 2008 Beijing Games. Howard made the announcement in Sydney on Saturday 20 October, joined by members of the men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams (including Tina McKenzie, left, and Katie Hill, rear) and a large media contingent. The funding increase was in line with a submission made by the APC to the major parties well before the election was called. In total, it represented almost a doubling of federal funding and enabled the APC to invest in targetting new opportunities in medal sports, the creation of a mainstreaming fund, the integration of Paralympic programs within the Australian Institute of Sport and an expanded role for the APC in sports science, sport medicine and athlete services. It also ensured the most comprehensive TV coverage ever of an away Games by the ABC in Beijing. Although Howard’s government lost the election on 24 November, the incoming government honoured the commitment.

A new tagline for an awareness campaign leading to Beijing

The then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) commissioned Woolcott Research to conduct research into community awareness about Paralympic sport and the APC after the 2004 summer Paralympics and the 2006 winter Paralympics. The research showed that the APC had a low profile within Australia, there was little awareness about what it actually did, who funded the organisation and what Paralympic sport actually is. One outcome was that donations to the APC were low and budget allocation from the Federal Government reflected the low level of awareness of Australians generally. In 2007, a plan was created to raise the profile of the Paralympic movement in Australia and increase income through fundraising and government support. Publicis Mojo, the advertising agency used by APC sponsor Toyota, worked with the APC to create the ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ tagline for Australia’s Paralympians and a series of radio, print and TV ads. The APC would use ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ until after the 2008 Games. It was the first of several taglines used by the APC.

An education program would create a base of understanding and support

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, an extensive program in Australian schools created awareness of the Games, Paralympic sport and Australia’s Paralympians. One outcome was that more than 400,000 schoolchildren attended the Sydney Games. After 2000, the Australian Paralympic Committee had the rights to the program but did not have the resources to continue it. In 2007 the APC launched the Telstra Paralympic Education Program to raise awareness among primary school children of Paralympic sport, athletes and values. Key elements were that the program was matched to curriculum requirements in every state and territory and that it was largely delivered online. The program was supported by the Australian Sports Commission and APC sponsor Telstra. By the start of the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, 1,816 primary schools – 22 percent of Australia’s total – had joined the program, with those schools reporting that 282,975 children were involved.

The APC took responsibility for a coordinated approach to classification

Classification is the basis of all Paralympic sport. It is the process whereby athletes are put into classes so that in competition they are competing against others whose impairments have a similar influence on their performance potential. Until the 2004 summer and 2006 winter Paralympics, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) had a policy that the classification of athletes was their personal responsibility and the responsibility of their sport program. In practical terms, this meant that athletes went to the Paralympics and other competitions with uncertain classifications which could be changed before they competed and could see them either classified out – they could not compete at all – or reclassified into a different class. This approach had unfortunate consequences over the years, such as the traumatic Games for the wheelchair rugby team in 2004 and an athlete at the FESPIC Games in 2002 being unable to compete at all. In July 2006, Jenni Cole commenced as the APC’s National Classification Manager and a program was put in place to increase the number of classifiers across all sports in Australia and to ensure that every athlete going to a Games had the most secure possible level of classification. The program was a world first.

Key sponsors and supporters got a firsthand experience of the Games

For the 2000 Sydney Paralympics and since, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) sought to engage key sponsors and other supporters with the Australian team during the Games, to promote an understanding of the Games themselves and of the Australian team and its athletes. At the Torino winter Paralympics the sponsors and supporters group stayed near the Games’ venues in Sestriere and had a number of opportunities to interact with the athletes and team staff. The group included Ron Finneran and Steve Gibb from the APC’s program partner Disabled Wintersport Australia, Peter and Marion Evans (Toyota), Ross Cunningham (Star City), Kim and Judith Clifford (Thredbo Resorts), Belinda Green and Steve Mason (Desert Duel fundraiser organisers), John and Susie Croll (Media Monitors), Anthony Fanning (Healthe) and promotional competition winners Brian and Samuel Hardaker. The group was led by APC Board members Joyce Parzsos, Steve Loader and Justin Holdforth. Most of the group had been or were to become long term supporters of the APC and the Paralympic movement.

After Athens the APC went looking for talent (and found it)

After the Athens Paralympics, it was obvious that the pool of talent required to maintain Australia’s Paralympic standing would not keep replenishing itself. As sports were ‘mainstreamed’ and became the responsibility of national federations, there were calls, especially from athletics head coach Scott Goodman, for the Australian Paralympic Committee to use its expertise and experience to coordinate a national talent identification program. The APC’s ‘Talent Search’ program commenced with a ‘come and try’ day in March 2005 in Newcastle, NSW, at the University of Newcastle conducted by Paralympian Amy Winters and program manager Kellie Puxty. Amazingly, one of the attendees at that day, Kath Proudfoot, went on to become the first athlete identified through the program to win a Paralympic medal when she won a silver medal in the discus at the Beijing summer Paralympics. By the Beijing Games, 72 Talent Search activities had been conducted, with 1,008 participants. Of these, 127 were identified at ‘tier one’ athletes (future elite potential within two years) and 395 as ‘tier two’ athletes (elite potential within four years). Fifty-three Talent Search athletes were part of the Paralympic Preparation Program in the year leading into the Beijing Games, with 27 Talent Search athletes being selected in the Australian Paralympic Team and 15 of these winning medals at their first Paralympic Games. The program had been a success and over the years continued to contribute an increasing number of athletes to Australian teams.

To help create identity, the Australian Team would have its own logo

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, the then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) saw the need to create a strong team identity and culture for the Australian team. After all, the recent 1996 summer Paralympics had been the first Games where the team was not composed of a number of ‘teams within the team’ based on disability grouping. One element of the team building process was the creation of a logo for the 2000 Australian Paralympic team, which was based on the APC logo that had been created the year before. The logo was used extensively in the lead-up to the Games and featured on elements of the team uniform.

And a visit from the APF President

The President of the Australian Paralympic Federation, Bob McCullough, is joined by Team staff during a visit to the Games Village at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games. McCullough was a controversial figure who was overseeing a revolution in the structure and management of Paralympic sport in Australia that had been brought about by the dire financial position of the APF, then the awarding of the 2000 Olympics and Paralympics to Sydney and the subsequent boost in funding and support. Left to right: Peter Kelly (team Media Director), Paul Bird (Assistant Chef de Mission, Administration), Bob McCullough and an unknown Team liaison officer.

The full Beijing team was launched by a new Prime Minister at Parliament House

The full Australian team for the 2008 Beijing Paralympics was launched at Parliament House in Canberra by the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. The launch was attended by more than 40 federal members of parliament from all parties, the Chinese Ambassador to Australia and a range of invited guests, and representative athletes from every sport. In addition to receiving wide media coverage, the launch helped cement support from federal parliamentarians. Right to left in this photo: Kate Ellis (Minister for Sport), Greg Hartung (APC President), Kevin Rudd (Prime Minister), Therese Rein (wife of the Prime Minister and daughter of pioneer Australian 1957 Stoke Mandeville Games competitor John Rein), Wayne Swann (Federal Treasurer), Zhang Junsai (Chinese Ambassador to Australia), Bill Shorten (Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services).

The Prime Minister announced the largest ever funding increase for Paralympic sport

In the lead-up to the 2007 federal election, Prime Minister John Howard announced that the Federal Government would significantly increase funding to the Australian Paralympic Committee by $3.45m a year, commencing in 2007/08, plus a one-off grant of $1m to assist in televising the 2008 Beijing Games. Howard made the announcement in Sydney on Saturday 20 October, joined by members of the men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams (including Tina McKenzie, left, and Katie Hill, rear) and a large media contingent. The funding increase was in line with a submission made by the APC to the major parties well before the election was called. In total, it represented almost a doubling of federal funding and enabled the APC to invest in targetting new opportunities in medal sports, the creation of a mainstreaming fund, the integration of Paralympic programs within the Australian Institute of Sport and an expanded role for the APC in sports science, sport medicine and athlete services. It also ensured the most comprehensive TV coverage ever of an away Games by the ABC in Beijing. Although Howard’s government lost the election on 24 November, the incoming government honoured the commitment.

A new tagline for an awareness campaign leading to Beijing

The then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) commissioned Woolcott Research to conduct research into community awareness about Paralympic sport and the APC after the 2004 summer Paralympics and the 2006 winter Paralympics. The research showed that the APC had a low profile within Australia, there was little awareness about what it actually did, who funded the organisation and what Paralympic sport actually is. One outcome was that donations to the APC were low and budget allocation from the Federal Government reflected the low level of awareness of Australians generally. In 2007, a plan was created to raise the profile of the Paralympic movement in Australia and increase income through fundraising and government support. Publicis Mojo, the advertising agency used by APC sponsor Toyota, worked with the APC to create the ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ tagline for Australia’s Paralympians and a series of radio, print and TV ads. The APC would use ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ until after the 2008 Games. It was the first of several taglines used by the APC.

An education program would create a base of understanding and support

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, an extensive program in Australian schools created awareness of the Games, Paralympic sport and Australia’s Paralympians. One outcome was that more than 400,000 schoolchildren attended the Sydney Games. After 2000, the Australian Paralympic Committee had the rights to the program but did not have the resources to continue it. In 2007 the APC launched the Telstra Paralympic Education Program to raise awareness among primary school children of Paralympic sport, athletes and values. Key elements were that the program was matched to curriculum requirements in every state and territory and that it was largely delivered online. The program was supported by the Australian Sports Commission and APC sponsor Telstra. By the start of the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, 1,816 primary schools – 22 percent of Australia’s total – had joined the program, with those schools reporting that 282,975 children were involved.

The APC took responsibility for a coordinated approach to classification

Classification is the basis of all Paralympic sport. It is the process whereby athletes are put into classes so that in competition they are competing against others whose impairments have a similar influence on their performance potential. Until the 2004 summer and 2006 winter Paralympics, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) had a policy that the classification of athletes was their personal responsibility and the responsibility of their sport program. In practical terms, this meant that athletes went to the Paralympics and other competitions with uncertain classifications which could be changed before they competed and could see them either classified out – they could not compete at all – or reclassified into a different class. This approach had unfortunate consequences over the years, such as the traumatic Games for the wheelchair rugby team in 2004 and an athlete at the FESPIC Games in 2002 being unable to compete at all. In July 2006, Jenni Cole commenced as the APC’s National Classification Manager and a program was put in place to increase the number of classifiers across all sports in Australia and to ensure that every athlete going to a Games had the most secure possible level of classification. The program was a world first.

Key sponsors and supporters got a firsthand experience of the Games

For the 2000 Sydney Paralympics and since, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) sought to engage key sponsors and other supporters with the Australian team during the Games, to promote an understanding of the Games themselves and of the Australian team and its athletes. At the Torino winter Paralympics the sponsors and supporters group stayed near the Games’ venues in Sestriere and had a number of opportunities to interact with the athletes and team staff. The group included Ron Finneran and Steve Gibb from the APC’s program partner Disabled Wintersport Australia, Peter and Marion Evans (Toyota), Ross Cunningham (Star City), Kim and Judith Clifford (Thredbo Resorts), Belinda Green and Steve Mason (Desert Duel fundraiser organisers), John and Susie Croll (Media Monitors), Anthony Fanning (Healthe) and promotional competition winners Brian and Samuel Hardaker. The group was led by APC Board members Joyce Parzsos, Steve Loader and Justin Holdforth. Most of the group had been or were to become long term supporters of the APC and the Paralympic movement.

After Athens the APC went looking for talent (and found it)

After the Athens Paralympics, it was obvious that the pool of talent required to maintain Australia’s Paralympic standing would not keep replenishing itself. As sports were ‘mainstreamed’ and became the responsibility of national federations, there were calls, especially from athletics head coach Scott Goodman, for the Australian Paralympic Committee to use its expertise and experience to coordinate a national talent identification program. The APC’s ‘Talent Search’ program commenced with a ‘come and try’ day in March 2005 in Newcastle, NSW, at the University of Newcastle conducted by Paralympian Amy Winters and program manager Kellie Puxty. Amazingly, one of the attendees at that day, Kath Proudfoot, went on to become the first athlete identified through the program to win a Paralympic medal when she won a silver medal in the discus at the Beijing summer Paralympics. By the Beijing Games, 72 Talent Search activities had been conducted, with 1,008 participants. Of these, 127 were identified at ‘tier one’ athletes (future elite potential within two years) and 395 as ‘tier two’ athletes (elite potential within four years). Fifty-three Talent Search athletes were part of the Paralympic Preparation Program in the year leading into the Beijing Games, with 27 Talent Search athletes being selected in the Australian Paralympic Team and 15 of these winning medals at their first Paralympic Games. The program had been a success and over the years continued to contribute an increasing number of athletes to Australian teams.

To help create identity, the Australian Team would have its own logo

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, the then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) saw the need to create a strong team identity and culture for the Australian team. After all, the recent 1996 summer Paralympics had been the first Games where the team was not composed of a number of ‘teams within the team’ based on disability grouping. One element of the team building process was the creation of a logo for the 2000 Australian Paralympic team, which was based on the APC logo that had been created the year before. The logo was used extensively in the lead-up to the Games and featured on elements of the team uniform.

And a visit from the APF President

The President of the Australian Paralympic Federation, Bob McCullough, is joined by Team staff during a visit to the Games Village at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games. McCullough was a controversial figure who was overseeing a revolution in the structure and management of Paralympic sport in Australia that had been brought about by the dire financial position of the APF, then the awarding of the 2000 Olympics and Paralympics to Sydney and the subsequent boost in funding and support. Left to right: Peter Kelly (team Media Director), Paul Bird (Assistant Chef de Mission, Administration), Bob McCullough and an unknown Team liaison officer.

The full Beijing team was launched by a new Prime Minister at Parliament House

The full Australian team for the 2008 Beijing Paralympics was launched at Parliament House in Canberra by the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. The launch was attended by more than 40 federal members of parliament from all parties, the Chinese Ambassador to Australia and a range of invited guests, and representative athletes from every sport. In addition to receiving wide media coverage, the launch helped cement support from federal parliamentarians. Right to left in this photo: Kate Ellis (Minister for Sport), Greg Hartung (APC President), Kevin Rudd (Prime Minister), Therese Rein (wife of the Prime Minister and daughter of pioneer Australian 1957 Stoke Mandeville Games competitor John Rein), Wayne Swann (Federal Treasurer), Zhang Junsai (Chinese Ambassador to Australia), Bill Shorten (Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services).

The Prime Minister announced the largest ever funding increase for Paralympic sport

In the lead-up to the 2007 federal election, Prime Minister John Howard announced that the Federal Government would significantly increase funding to the Australian Paralympic Committee by $3.45m a year, commencing in 2007/08, plus a one-off grant of $1m to assist in televising the 2008 Beijing Games. Howard made the announcement in Sydney on Saturday 20 October, joined by members of the men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams (including Tina McKenzie, left, and Katie Hill, rear) and a large media contingent. The funding increase was in line with a submission made by the APC to the major parties well before the election was called. In total, it represented almost a doubling of federal funding and enabled the APC to invest in targetting new opportunities in medal sports, the creation of a mainstreaming fund, the integration of Paralympic programs within the Australian Institute of Sport and an expanded role for the APC in sports science, sport medicine and athlete services. It also ensured the most comprehensive TV coverage ever of an away Games by the ABC in Beijing. Although Howard’s government lost the election on 24 November, the incoming government honoured the commitment.

A new tagline for an awareness campaign leading to Beijing

The then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) commissioned Woolcott Research to conduct research into community awareness about Paralympic sport and the APC after the 2004 summer Paralympics and the 2006 winter Paralympics. The research showed that the APC had a low profile within Australia, there was little awareness about what it actually did, who funded the organisation and what Paralympic sport actually is. One outcome was that donations to the APC were low and budget allocation from the Federal Government reflected the low level of awareness of Australians generally. In 2007, a plan was created to raise the profile of the Paralympic movement in Australia and increase income through fundraising and government support. Publicis Mojo, the advertising agency used by APC sponsor Toyota, worked with the APC to create the ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ tagline for Australia’s Paralympians and a series of radio, print and TV ads. The APC would use ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ until after the 2008 Games. It was the first of several taglines used by the APC.

An education program would create a base of understanding and support

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, an extensive program in Australian schools created awareness of the Games, Paralympic sport and Australia’s Paralympians. One outcome was that more than 400,000 schoolchildren attended the Sydney Games. After 2000, the Australian Paralympic Committee had the rights to the program but did not have the resources to continue it. In 2007 the APC launched the Telstra Paralympic Education Program to raise awareness among primary school children of Paralympic sport, athletes and values. Key elements were that the program was matched to curriculum requirements in every state and territory and that it was largely delivered online. The program was supported by the Australian Sports Commission and APC sponsor Telstra. By the start of the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, 1,816 primary schools – 22 percent of Australia’s total – had joined the program, with those schools reporting that 282,975 children were involved.

The APC took responsibility for a coordinated approach to classification

Classification is the basis of all Paralympic sport. It is the process whereby athletes are put into classes so that in competition they are competing against others whose impairments have a similar influence on their performance potential. Until the 2004 summer and 2006 winter Paralympics, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) had a policy that the classification of athletes was their personal responsibility and the responsibility of their sport program. In practical terms, this meant that athletes went to the Paralympics and other competitions with uncertain classifications which could be changed before they competed and could see them either classified out – they could not compete at all – or reclassified into a different class. This approach had unfortunate consequences over the years, such as the traumatic Games for the wheelchair rugby team in 2004 and an athlete at the FESPIC Games in 2002 being unable to compete at all. In July 2006, Jenni Cole commenced as the APC’s National Classification Manager and a program was put in place to increase the number of classifiers across all sports in Australia and to ensure that every athlete going to a Games had the most secure possible level of classification. The program was a world first.

Key sponsors and supporters got a firsthand experience of the Games

For the 2000 Sydney Paralympics and since, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) sought to engage key sponsors and other supporters with the Australian team during the Games, to promote an understanding of the Games themselves and of the Australian team and its athletes. At the Torino winter Paralympics the sponsors and supporters group stayed near the Games’ venues in Sestriere and had a number of opportunities to interact with the athletes and team staff. The group included Ron Finneran and Steve Gibb from the APC’s program partner Disabled Wintersport Australia, Peter and Marion Evans (Toyota), Ross Cunningham (Star City), Kim and Judith Clifford (Thredbo Resorts), Belinda Green and Steve Mason (Desert Duel fundraiser organisers), John and Susie Croll (Media Monitors), Anthony Fanning (Healthe) and promotional competition winners Brian and Samuel Hardaker. The group was led by APC Board members Joyce Parzsos, Steve Loader and Justin Holdforth. Most of the group had been or were to become long term supporters of the APC and the Paralympic movement.

After Athens the APC went looking for talent (and found it)

After the Athens Paralympics, it was obvious that the pool of talent required to maintain Australia’s Paralympic standing would not keep replenishing itself. As sports were ‘mainstreamed’ and became the responsibility of national federations, there were calls, especially from athletics head coach Scott Goodman, for the Australian Paralympic Committee to use its expertise and experience to coordinate a national talent identification program. The APC’s ‘Talent Search’ program commenced with a ‘come and try’ day in March 2005 in Newcastle, NSW, at the University of Newcastle conducted by Paralympian Amy Winters and program manager Kellie Puxty. Amazingly, one of the attendees at that day, Kath Proudfoot, went on to become the first athlete identified through the program to win a Paralympic medal when she won a silver medal in the discus at the Beijing summer Paralympics. By the Beijing Games, 72 Talent Search activities had been conducted, with 1,008 participants. Of these, 127 were identified at ‘tier one’ athletes (future elite potential within two years) and 395 as ‘tier two’ athletes (elite potential within four years). Fifty-three Talent Search athletes were part of the Paralympic Preparation Program in the year leading into the Beijing Games, with 27 Talent Search athletes being selected in the Australian Paralympic Team and 15 of these winning medals at their first Paralympic Games. The program had been a success and over the years continued to contribute an increasing number of athletes to Australian teams.

To help create identity, the Australian Team would have its own logo

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, the then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) saw the need to create a strong team identity and culture for the Australian team. After all, the recent 1996 summer Paralympics had been the first Games where the team was not composed of a number of ‘teams within the team’ based on disability grouping. One element of the team building process was the creation of a logo for the 2000 Australian Paralympic team, which was based on the APC logo that had been created the year before. The logo was used extensively in the lead-up to the Games and featured on elements of the team uniform.

And a visit from the APF President

The President of the Australian Paralympic Federation, Bob McCullough, is joined by Team staff during a visit to the Games Village at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games. McCullough was a controversial figure who was overseeing a revolution in the structure and management of Paralympic sport in Australia that had been brought about by the dire financial position of the APF, then the awarding of the 2000 Olympics and Paralympics to Sydney and the subsequent boost in funding and support. Left to right: Peter Kelly (team Media Director), Paul Bird (Assistant Chef de Mission, Administration), Bob McCullough and an unknown Team liaison officer.

The full Beijing team was launched by a new Prime Minister at Parliament House

The full Australian team for the 2008 Beijing Paralympics was launched at Parliament House in Canberra by the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. The launch was attended by more than 40 federal members of parliament from all parties, the Chinese Ambassador to Australia and a range of invited guests, and representative athletes from every sport. In addition to receiving wide media coverage, the launch helped cement support from federal parliamentarians. Right to left in this photo: Kate Ellis (Minister for Sport), Greg Hartung (APC President), Kevin Rudd (Prime Minister), Therese Rein (wife of the Prime Minister and daughter of pioneer Australian 1957 Stoke Mandeville Games competitor John Rein), Wayne Swann (Federal Treasurer), Zhang Junsai (Chinese Ambassador to Australia), Bill Shorten (Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services).

The Prime Minister announced the largest ever funding increase for Paralympic sport

In the lead-up to the 2007 federal election, Prime Minister John Howard announced that the Federal Government would significantly increase funding to the Australian Paralympic Committee by $3.45m a year, commencing in 2007/08, plus a one-off grant of $1m to assist in televising the 2008 Beijing Games. Howard made the announcement in Sydney on Saturday 20 October, joined by members of the men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams (including Tina McKenzie, left, and Katie Hill, rear) and a large media contingent. The funding increase was in line with a submission made by the APC to the major parties well before the election was called. In total, it represented almost a doubling of federal funding and enabled the APC to invest in targetting new opportunities in medal sports, the creation of a mainstreaming fund, the integration of Paralympic programs within the Australian Institute of Sport and an expanded role for the APC in sports science, sport medicine and athlete services. It also ensured the most comprehensive TV coverage ever of an away Games by the ABC in Beijing. Although Howard’s government lost the election on 24 November, the incoming government honoured the commitment.

A new tagline for an awareness campaign leading to Beijing

The then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) commissioned Woolcott Research to conduct research into community awareness about Paralympic sport and the APC after the 2004 summer Paralympics and the 2006 winter Paralympics. The research showed that the APC had a low profile within Australia, there was little awareness about what it actually did, who funded the organisation and what Paralympic sport actually is. One outcome was that donations to the APC were low and budget allocation from the Federal Government reflected the low level of awareness of Australians generally. In 2007, a plan was created to raise the profile of the Paralympic movement in Australia and increase income through fundraising and government support. Publicis Mojo, the advertising agency used by APC sponsor Toyota, worked with the APC to create the ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ tagline for Australia’s Paralympians and a series of radio, print and TV ads. The APC would use ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ until after the 2008 Games. It was the first of several taglines used by the APC.

An education program would create a base of understanding and support

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, an extensive program in Australian schools created awareness of the Games, Paralympic sport and Australia’s Paralympians. One outcome was that more than 400,000 schoolchildren attended the Sydney Games. After 2000, the Australian Paralympic Committee had the rights to the program but did not have the resources to continue it. In 2007 the APC launched the Telstra Paralympic Education Program to raise awareness among primary school children of Paralympic sport, athletes and values. Key elements were that the program was matched to curriculum requirements in every state and territory and that it was largely delivered online. The program was supported by the Australian Sports Commission and APC sponsor Telstra. By the start of the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, 1,816 primary schools – 22 percent of Australia’s total – had joined the program, with those schools reporting that 282,975 children were involved.

The APC took responsibility for a coordinated approach to classification

Classification is the basis of all Paralympic sport. It is the process whereby athletes are put into classes so that in competition they are competing against others whose impairments have a similar influence on their performance potential. Until the 2004 summer and 2006 winter Paralympics, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) had a policy that the classification of athletes was their personal responsibility and the responsibility of their sport program. In practical terms, this meant that athletes went to the Paralympics and other competitions with uncertain classifications which could be changed before they competed and could see them either classified out – they could not compete at all – or reclassified into a different class. This approach had unfortunate consequences over the years, such as the traumatic Games for the wheelchair rugby team in 2004 and an athlete at the FESPIC Games in 2002 being unable to compete at all. In July 2006, Jenni Cole commenced as the APC’s National Classification Manager and a program was put in place to increase the number of classifiers across all sports in Australia and to ensure that every athlete going to a Games had the most secure possible level of classification. The program was a world first.

Key sponsors and supporters got a firsthand experience of the Games

For the 2000 Sydney Paralympics and since, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) sought to engage key sponsors and other supporters with the Australian team during the Games, to promote an understanding of the Games themselves and of the Australian team and its athletes. At the Torino winter Paralympics the sponsors and supporters group stayed near the Games’ venues in Sestriere and had a number of opportunities to interact with the athletes and team staff. The group included Ron Finneran and Steve Gibb from the APC’s program partner Disabled Wintersport Australia, Peter and Marion Evans (Toyota), Ross Cunningham (Star City), Kim and Judith Clifford (Thredbo Resorts), Belinda Green and Steve Mason (Desert Duel fundraiser organisers), John and Susie Croll (Media Monitors), Anthony Fanning (Healthe) and promotional competition winners Brian and Samuel Hardaker. The group was led by APC Board members Joyce Parzsos, Steve Loader and Justin Holdforth. Most of the group had been or were to become long term supporters of the APC and the Paralympic movement.

After Athens the APC went looking for talent (and found it)

After the Athens Paralympics, it was obvious that the pool of talent required to maintain Australia’s Paralympic standing would not keep replenishing itself. As sports were ‘mainstreamed’ and became the responsibility of national federations, there were calls, especially from athletics head coach Scott Goodman, for the Australian Paralympic Committee to use its expertise and experience to coordinate a national talent identification program. The APC’s ‘Talent Search’ program commenced with a ‘come and try’ day in March 2005 in Newcastle, NSW, at the University of Newcastle conducted by Paralympian Amy Winters and program manager Kellie Puxty. Amazingly, one of the attendees at that day, Kath Proudfoot, went on to become the first athlete identified through the program to win a Paralympic medal when she won a silver medal in the discus at the Beijing summer Paralympics. By the Beijing Games, 72 Talent Search activities had been conducted, with 1,008 participants. Of these, 127 were identified at ‘tier one’ athletes (future elite potential within two years) and 395 as ‘tier two’ athletes (elite potential within four years). Fifty-three Talent Search athletes were part of the Paralympic Preparation Program in the year leading into the Beijing Games, with 27 Talent Search athletes being selected in the Australian Paralympic Team and 15 of these winning medals at their first Paralympic Games. The program had been a success and over the years continued to contribute an increasing number of athletes to Australian teams.

To help create identity, the Australian Team would have its own logo

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, the then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) saw the need to create a strong team identity and culture for the Australian team. After all, the recent 1996 summer Paralympics had been the first Games where the team was not composed of a number of ‘teams within the team’ based on disability grouping. One element of the team building process was the creation of a logo for the 2000 Australian Paralympic team, which was based on the APC logo that had been created the year before. The logo was used extensively in the lead-up to the Games and featured on elements of the team uniform.

And a visit from the APF President

The President of the Australian Paralympic Federation, Bob McCullough, is joined by Team staff during a visit to the Games Village at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games. McCullough was a controversial figure who was overseeing a revolution in the structure and management of Paralympic sport in Australia that had been brought about by the dire financial position of the APF, then the awarding of the 2000 Olympics and Paralympics to Sydney and the subsequent boost in funding and support. Left to right: Peter Kelly (team Media Director), Paul Bird (Assistant Chef de Mission, Administration), Bob McCullough and an unknown Team liaison officer.

The full Beijing team was launched by a new Prime Minister at Parliament House

The full Australian team for the 2008 Beijing Paralympics was launched at Parliament House in Canberra by the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. The launch was attended by more than 40 federal members of parliament from all parties, the Chinese Ambassador to Australia and a range of invited guests, and representative athletes from every sport. In addition to receiving wide media coverage, the launch helped cement support from federal parliamentarians. Right to left in this photo: Kate Ellis (Minister for Sport), Greg Hartung (APC President), Kevin Rudd (Prime Minister), Therese Rein (wife of the Prime Minister and daughter of pioneer Australian 1957 Stoke Mandeville Games competitor John Rein), Wayne Swann (Federal Treasurer), Zhang Junsai (Chinese Ambassador to Australia), Bill Shorten (Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services).

The Prime Minister announced the largest ever funding increase for Paralympic sport

In the lead-up to the 2007 federal election, Prime Minister John Howard announced that the Federal Government would significantly increase funding to the Australian Paralympic Committee by $3.45m a year, commencing in 2007/08, plus a one-off grant of $1m to assist in televising the 2008 Beijing Games. Howard made the announcement in Sydney on Saturday 20 October, joined by members of the men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams (including Tina McKenzie, left, and Katie Hill, rear) and a large media contingent. The funding increase was in line with a submission made by the APC to the major parties well before the election was called. In total, it represented almost a doubling of federal funding and enabled the APC to invest in targetting new opportunities in medal sports, the creation of a mainstreaming fund, the integration of Paralympic programs within the Australian Institute of Sport and an expanded role for the APC in sports science, sport medicine and athlete services. It also ensured the most comprehensive TV coverage ever of an away Games by the ABC in Beijing. Although Howard’s government lost the election on 24 November, the incoming government honoured the commitment.

A new tagline for an awareness campaign leading to Beijing

The then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) commissioned Woolcott Research to conduct research into community awareness about Paralympic sport and the APC after the 2004 summer Paralympics and the 2006 winter Paralympics. The research showed that the APC had a low profile within Australia, there was little awareness about what it actually did, who funded the organisation and what Paralympic sport actually is. One outcome was that donations to the APC were low and budget allocation from the Federal Government reflected the low level of awareness of Australians generally. In 2007, a plan was created to raise the profile of the Paralympic movement in Australia and increase income through fundraising and government support. Publicis Mojo, the advertising agency used by APC sponsor Toyota, worked with the APC to create the ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ tagline for Australia’s Paralympians and a series of radio, print and TV ads. The APC would use ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ until after the 2008 Games. It was the first of several taglines used by the APC.

An education program would create a base of understanding and support

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, an extensive program in Australian schools created awareness of the Games, Paralympic sport and Australia’s Paralympians. One outcome was that more than 400,000 schoolchildren attended the Sydney Games. After 2000, the Australian Paralympic Committee had the rights to the program but did not have the resources to continue it. In 2007 the APC launched the Telstra Paralympic Education Program to raise awareness among primary school children of Paralympic sport, athletes and values. Key elements were that the program was matched to curriculum requirements in every state and territory and that it was largely delivered online. The program was supported by the Australian Sports Commission and APC sponsor Telstra. By the start of the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, 1,816 primary schools – 22 percent of Australia’s total – had joined the program, with those schools reporting that 282,975 children were involved.

The APC took responsibility for a coordinated approach to classification

Classification is the basis of all Paralympic sport. It is the process whereby athletes are put into classes so that in competition they are competing against others whose impairments have a similar influence on their performance potential. Until the 2004 summer and 2006 winter Paralympics, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) had a policy that the classification of athletes was their personal responsibility and the responsibility of their sport program. In practical terms, this meant that athletes went to the Paralympics and other competitions with uncertain classifications which could be changed before they competed and could see them either classified out – they could not compete at all – or reclassified into a different class. This approach had unfortunate consequences over the years, such as the traumatic Games for the wheelchair rugby team in 2004 and an athlete at the FESPIC Games in 2002 being unable to compete at all. In July 2006, Jenni Cole commenced as the APC’s National Classification Manager and a program was put in place to increase the number of classifiers across all sports in Australia and to ensure that every athlete going to a Games had the most secure possible level of classification. The program was a world first.

Key sponsors and supporters got a firsthand experience of the Games

For the 2000 Sydney Paralympics and since, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) sought to engage key sponsors and other supporters with the Australian team during the Games, to promote an understanding of the Games themselves and of the Australian team and its athletes. At the Torino winter Paralympics the sponsors and supporters group stayed near the Games’ venues in Sestriere and had a number of opportunities to interact with the athletes and team staff. The group included Ron Finneran and Steve Gibb from the APC’s program partner Disabled Wintersport Australia, Peter and Marion Evans (Toyota), Ross Cunningham (Star City), Kim and Judith Clifford (Thredbo Resorts), Belinda Green and Steve Mason (Desert Duel fundraiser organisers), John and Susie Croll (Media Monitors), Anthony Fanning (Healthe) and promotional competition winners Brian and Samuel Hardaker. The group was led by APC Board members Joyce Parzsos, Steve Loader and Justin Holdforth. Most of the group had been or were to become long term supporters of the APC and the Paralympic movement.

After Athens the APC went looking for talent (and found it)

After the Athens Paralympics, it was obvious that the pool of talent required to maintain Australia’s Paralympic standing would not keep replenishing itself. As sports were ‘mainstreamed’ and became the responsibility of national federations, there were calls, especially from athletics head coach Scott Goodman, for the Australian Paralympic Committee to use its expertise and experience to coordinate a national talent identification program. The APC’s ‘Talent Search’ program commenced with a ‘come and try’ day in March 2005 in Newcastle, NSW, at the University of Newcastle conducted by Paralympian Amy Winters and program manager Kellie Puxty. Amazingly, one of the attendees at that day, Kath Proudfoot, went on to become the first athlete identified through the program to win a Paralympic medal when she won a silver medal in the discus at the Beijing summer Paralympics. By the Beijing Games, 72 Talent Search activities had been conducted, with 1,008 participants. Of these, 127 were identified at ‘tier one’ athletes (future elite potential within two years) and 395 as ‘tier two’ athletes (elite potential within four years). Fifty-three Talent Search athletes were part of the Paralympic Preparation Program in the year leading into the Beijing Games, with 27 Talent Search athletes being selected in the Australian Paralympic Team and 15 of these winning medals at their first Paralympic Games. The program had been a success and over the years continued to contribute an increasing number of athletes to Australian teams.

To help create identity, the Australian Team would have its own logo

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, the then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) saw the need to create a strong team identity and culture for the Australian team. After all, the recent 1996 summer Paralympics had been the first Games where the team was not composed of a number of ‘teams within the team’ based on disability grouping. One element of the team building process was the creation of a logo for the 2000 Australian Paralympic team, which was based on the APC logo that had been created the year before. The logo was used extensively in the lead-up to the Games and featured on elements of the team uniform.

And a visit from the APF President

The President of the Australian Paralympic Federation, Bob McCullough, is joined by Team staff during a visit to the Games Village at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games. McCullough was a controversial figure who was overseeing a revolution in the structure and management of Paralympic sport in Australia that had been brought about by the dire financial position of the APF, then the awarding of the 2000 Olympics and Paralympics to Sydney and the subsequent boost in funding and support. Left to right: Peter Kelly (team Media Director), Paul Bird (Assistant Chef de Mission, Administration), Bob McCullough and an unknown Team liaison officer.

The full Beijing team was launched by a new Prime Minister at Parliament House

The full Australian team for the 2008 Beijing Paralympics was launched at Parliament House in Canberra by the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. The launch was attended by more than 40 federal members of parliament from all parties, the Chinese Ambassador to Australia and a range of invited guests, and representative athletes from every sport. In addition to receiving wide media coverage, the launch helped cement support from federal parliamentarians. Right to left in this photo: Kate Ellis (Minister for Sport), Greg Hartung (APC President), Kevin Rudd (Prime Minister), Therese Rein (wife of the Prime Minister and daughter of pioneer Australian 1957 Stoke Mandeville Games competitor John Rein), Wayne Swann (Federal Treasurer), Zhang Junsai (Chinese Ambassador to Australia), Bill Shorten (Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services).

The Prime Minister announced the largest ever funding increase for Paralympic sport

In the lead-up to the 2007 federal election, Prime Minister John Howard announced that the Federal Government would significantly increase funding to the Australian Paralympic Committee by $3.45m a year, commencing in 2007/08, plus a one-off grant of $1m to assist in televising the 2008 Beijing Games. Howard made the announcement in Sydney on Saturday 20 October, joined by members of the men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams (including Tina McKenzie, left, and Katie Hill, rear) and a large media contingent. The funding increase was in line with a submission made by the APC to the major parties well before the election was called. In total, it represented almost a doubling of federal funding and enabled the APC to invest in targetting new opportunities in medal sports, the creation of a mainstreaming fund, the integration of Paralympic programs within the Australian Institute of Sport and an expanded role for the APC in sports science, sport medicine and athlete services. It also ensured the most comprehensive TV coverage ever of an away Games by the ABC in Beijing. Although Howard’s government lost the election on 24 November, the incoming government honoured the commitment.

A new tagline for an awareness campaign leading to Beijing

The then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) commissioned Woolcott Research to conduct research into community awareness about Paralympic sport and the APC after the 2004 summer Paralympics and the 2006 winter Paralympics. The research showed that the APC had a low profile within Australia, there was little awareness about what it actually did, who funded the organisation and what Paralympic sport actually is. One outcome was that donations to the APC were low and budget allocation from the Federal Government reflected the low level of awareness of Australians generally. In 2007, a plan was created to raise the profile of the Paralympic movement in Australia and increase income through fundraising and government support. Publicis Mojo, the advertising agency used by APC sponsor Toyota, worked with the APC to create the ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ tagline for Australia’s Paralympians and a series of radio, print and TV ads. The APC would use ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ until after the 2008 Games. It was the first of several taglines used by the APC.

An education program would create a base of understanding and support

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, an extensive program in Australian schools created awareness of the Games, Paralympic sport and Australia’s Paralympians. One outcome was that more than 400,000 schoolchildren attended the Sydney Games. After 2000, the Australian Paralympic Committee had the rights to the program but did not have the resources to continue it. In 2007 the APC launched the Telstra Paralympic Education Program to raise awareness among primary school children of Paralympic sport, athletes and values. Key elements were that the program was matched to curriculum requirements in every state and territory and that it was largely delivered online. The program was supported by the Australian Sports Commission and APC sponsor Telstra. By the start of the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, 1,816 primary schools – 22 percent of Australia’s total – had joined the program, with those schools reporting that 282,975 children were involved.

The APC took responsibility for a coordinated approach to classification

Classification is the basis of all Paralympic sport. It is the process whereby athletes are put into classes so that in competition they are competing against others whose impairments have a similar influence on their performance potential. Until the 2004 summer and 2006 winter Paralympics, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) had a policy that the classification of athletes was their personal responsibility and the responsibility of their sport program. In practical terms, this meant that athletes went to the Paralympics and other competitions with uncertain classifications which could be changed before they competed and could see them either classified out – they could not compete at all – or reclassified into a different class. This approach had unfortunate consequences over the years, such as the traumatic Games for the wheelchair rugby team in 2004 and an athlete at the FESPIC Games in 2002 being unable to compete at all. In July 2006, Jenni Cole commenced as the APC’s National Classification Manager and a program was put in place to increase the number of classifiers across all sports in Australia and to ensure that every athlete going to a Games had the most secure possible level of classification. The program was a world first.

Key sponsors and supporters got a firsthand experience of the Games

For the 2000 Sydney Paralympics and since, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) sought to engage key sponsors and other supporters with the Australian team during the Games, to promote an understanding of the Games themselves and of the Australian team and its athletes. At the Torino winter Paralympics the sponsors and supporters group stayed near the Games’ venues in Sestriere and had a number of opportunities to interact with the athletes and team staff. The group included Ron Finneran and Steve Gibb from the APC’s program partner Disabled Wintersport Australia, Peter and Marion Evans (Toyota), Ross Cunningham (Star City), Kim and Judith Clifford (Thredbo Resorts), Belinda Green and Steve Mason (Desert Duel fundraiser organisers), John and Susie Croll (Media Monitors), Anthony Fanning (Healthe) and promotional competition winners Brian and Samuel Hardaker. The group was led by APC Board members Joyce Parzsos, Steve Loader and Justin Holdforth. Most of the group had been or were to become long term supporters of the APC and the Paralympic movement.

After Athens the APC went looking for talent (and found it)

After the Athens Paralympics, it was obvious that the pool of talent required to maintain Australia’s Paralympic standing would not keep replenishing itself. As sports were ‘mainstreamed’ and became the responsibility of national federations, there were calls, especially from athletics head coach Scott Goodman, for the Australian Paralympic Committee to use its expertise and experience to coordinate a national talent identification program. The APC’s ‘Talent Search’ program commenced with a ‘come and try’ day in March 2005 in Newcastle, NSW, at the University of Newcastle conducted by Paralympian Amy Winters and program manager Kellie Puxty. Amazingly, one of the attendees at that day, Kath Proudfoot, went on to become the first athlete identified through the program to win a Paralympic medal when she won a silver medal in the discus at the Beijing summer Paralympics. By the Beijing Games, 72 Talent Search activities had been conducted, with 1,008 participants. Of these, 127 were identified at ‘tier one’ athletes (future elite potential within two years) and 395 as ‘tier two’ athletes (elite potential within four years). Fifty-three Talent Search athletes were part of the Paralympic Preparation Program in the year leading into the Beijing Games, with 27 Talent Search athletes being selected in the Australian Paralympic Team and 15 of these winning medals at their first Paralympic Games. The program had been a success and over the years continued to contribute an increasing number of athletes to Australian teams.

To help create identity, the Australian Team would have its own logo

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, the then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) saw the need to create a strong team identity and culture for the Australian team. After all, the recent 1996 summer Paralympics had been the first Games where the team was not composed of a number of ‘teams within the team’ based on disability grouping. One element of the team building process was the creation of a logo for the 2000 Australian Paralympic team, which was based on the APC logo that had been created the year before. The logo was used extensively in the lead-up to the Games and featured on elements of the team uniform.

And a visit from the APF President

The President of the Australian Paralympic Federation, Bob McCullough, is joined by Team staff during a visit to the Games Village at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games. McCullough was a controversial figure who was overseeing a revolution in the structure and management of Paralympic sport in Australia that had been brought about by the dire financial position of the APF, then the awarding of the 2000 Olympics and Paralympics to Sydney and the subsequent boost in funding and support. Left to right: Peter Kelly (team Media Director), Paul Bird (Assistant Chef de Mission, Administration), Bob McCullough and an unknown Team liaison officer.

The full Beijing team was launched by a new Prime Minister at Parliament House

The full Australian team for the 2008 Beijing Paralympics was launched at Parliament House in Canberra by the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. The launch was attended by more than 40 federal members of parliament from all parties, the Chinese Ambassador to Australia and a range of invited guests, and representative athletes from every sport. In addition to receiving wide media coverage, the launch helped cement support from federal parliamentarians. Right to left in this photo: Kate Ellis (Minister for Sport), Greg Hartung (APC President), Kevin Rudd (Prime Minister), Therese Rein (wife of the Prime Minister and daughter of pioneer Australian 1957 Stoke Mandeville Games competitor John Rein), Wayne Swann (Federal Treasurer), Zhang Junsai (Chinese Ambassador to Australia), Bill Shorten (Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services).

The Prime Minister announced the largest ever funding increase for Paralympic sport

In the lead-up to the 2007 federal election, Prime Minister John Howard announced that the Federal Government would significantly increase funding to the Australian Paralympic Committee by $3.45m a year, commencing in 2007/08, plus a one-off grant of $1m to assist in televising the 2008 Beijing Games. Howard made the announcement in Sydney on Saturday 20 October, joined by members of the men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams (including Tina McKenzie, left, and Katie Hill, rear) and a large media contingent. The funding increase was in line with a submission made by the APC to the major parties well before the election was called. In total, it represented almost a doubling of federal funding and enabled the APC to invest in targetting new opportunities in medal sports, the creation of a mainstreaming fund, the integration of Paralympic programs within the Australian Institute of Sport and an expanded role for the APC in sports science, sport medicine and athlete services. It also ensured the most comprehensive TV coverage ever of an away Games by the ABC in Beijing. Although Howard’s government lost the election on 24 November, the incoming government honoured the commitment.

A new tagline for an awareness campaign leading to Beijing

The then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) commissioned Woolcott Research to conduct research into community awareness about Paralympic sport and the APC after the 2004 summer Paralympics and the 2006 winter Paralympics. The research showed that the APC had a low profile within Australia, there was little awareness about what it actually did, who funded the organisation and what Paralympic sport actually is. One outcome was that donations to the APC were low and budget allocation from the Federal Government reflected the low level of awareness of Australians generally. In 2007, a plan was created to raise the profile of the Paralympic movement in Australia and increase income through fundraising and government support. Publicis Mojo, the advertising agency used by APC sponsor Toyota, worked with the APC to create the ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ tagline for Australia’s Paralympians and a series of radio, print and TV ads. The APC would use ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ until after the 2008 Games. It was the first of several taglines used by the APC.

An education program would create a base of understanding and support

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, an extensive program in Australian schools created awareness of the Games, Paralympic sport and Australia’s Paralympians. One outcome was that more than 400,000 schoolchildren attended the Sydney Games. After 2000, the Australian Paralympic Committee had the rights to the program but did not have the resources to continue it. In 2007 the APC launched the Telstra Paralympic Education Program to raise awareness among primary school children of Paralympic sport, athletes and values. Key elements were that the program was matched to curriculum requirements in every state and territory and that it was largely delivered online. The program was supported by the Australian Sports Commission and APC sponsor Telstra. By the start of the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, 1,816 primary schools – 22 percent of Australia’s total – had joined the program, with those schools reporting that 282,975 children were involved.

The APC took responsibility for a coordinated approach to classification

Classification is the basis of all Paralympic sport. It is the process whereby athletes are put into classes so that in competition they are competing against others whose impairments have a similar influence on their performance potential. Until the 2004 summer and 2006 winter Paralympics, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) had a policy that the classification of athletes was their personal responsibility and the responsibility of their sport program. In practical terms, this meant that athletes went to the Paralympics and other competitions with uncertain classifications which could be changed before they competed and could see them either classified out – they could not compete at all – or reclassified into a different class. This approach had unfortunate consequences over the years, such as the traumatic Games for the wheelchair rugby team in 2004 and an athlete at the FESPIC Games in 2002 being unable to compete at all. In July 2006, Jenni Cole commenced as the APC’s National Classification Manager and a program was put in place to increase the number of classifiers across all sports in Australia and to ensure that every athlete going to a Games had the most secure possible level of classification. The program was a world first.

Key sponsors and supporters got a firsthand experience of the Games

For the 2000 Sydney Paralympics and since, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) sought to engage key sponsors and other supporters with the Australian team during the Games, to promote an understanding of the Games themselves and of the Australian team and its athletes. At the Torino winter Paralympics the sponsors and supporters group stayed near the Games’ venues in Sestriere and had a number of opportunities to interact with the athletes and team staff. The group included Ron Finneran and Steve Gibb from the APC’s program partner Disabled Wintersport Australia, Peter and Marion Evans (Toyota), Ross Cunningham (Star City), Kim and Judith Clifford (Thredbo Resorts), Belinda Green and Steve Mason (Desert Duel fundraiser organisers), John and Susie Croll (Media Monitors), Anthony Fanning (Healthe) and promotional competition winners Brian and Samuel Hardaker. The group was led by APC Board members Joyce Parzsos, Steve Loader and Justin Holdforth. Most of the group had been or were to become long term supporters of the APC and the Paralympic movement.

After Athens the APC went looking for talent (and found it)

After the Athens Paralympics, it was obvious that the pool of talent required to maintain Australia’s Paralympic standing would not keep replenishing itself. As sports were ‘mainstreamed’ and became the responsibility of national federations, there were calls, especially from athletics head coach Scott Goodman, for the Australian Paralympic Committee to use its expertise and experience to coordinate a national talent identification program. The APC’s ‘Talent Search’ program commenced with a ‘come and try’ day in March 2005 in Newcastle, NSW, at the University of Newcastle conducted by Paralympian Amy Winters and program manager Kellie Puxty. Amazingly, one of the attendees at that day, Kath Proudfoot, went on to become the first athlete identified through the program to win a Paralympic medal when she won a silver medal in the discus at the Beijing summer Paralympics. By the Beijing Games, 72 Talent Search activities had been conducted, with 1,008 participants. Of these, 127 were identified at ‘tier one’ athletes (future elite potential within two years) and 395 as ‘tier two’ athletes (elite potential within four years). Fifty-three Talent Search athletes were part of the Paralympic Preparation Program in the year leading into the Beijing Games, with 27 Talent Search athletes being selected in the Australian Paralympic Team and 15 of these winning medals at their first Paralympic Games. The program had been a success and over the years continued to contribute an increasing number of athletes to Australian teams.

To help create identity, the Australian Team would have its own logo

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, the then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) saw the need to create a strong team identity and culture for the Australian team. After all, the recent 1996 summer Paralympics had been the first Games where the team was not composed of a number of ‘teams within the team’ based on disability grouping. One element of the team building process was the creation of a logo for the 2000 Australian Paralympic team, which was based on the APC logo that had been created the year before. The logo was used extensively in the lead-up to the Games and featured on elements of the team uniform.

And a visit from the APF President

The President of the Australian Paralympic Federation, Bob McCullough, is joined by Team staff during a visit to the Games Village at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games. McCullough was a controversial figure who was overseeing a revolution in the structure and management of Paralympic sport in Australia that had been brought about by the dire financial position of the APF, then the awarding of the 2000 Olympics and Paralympics to Sydney and the subsequent boost in funding and support. Left to right: Peter Kelly (team Media Director), Paul Bird (Assistant Chef de Mission, Administration), Bob McCullough and an unknown Team liaison officer.

The full Beijing team was launched by a new Prime Minister at Parliament House

The full Australian team for the 2008 Beijing Paralympics was launched at Parliament House in Canberra by the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. The launch was attended by more than 40 federal members of parliament from all parties, the Chinese Ambassador to Australia and a range of invited guests, and representative athletes from every sport. In addition to receiving wide media coverage, the launch helped cement support from federal parliamentarians. Right to left in this photo: Kate Ellis (Minister for Sport), Greg Hartung (APC President), Kevin Rudd (Prime Minister), Therese Rein (wife of the Prime Minister and daughter of pioneer Australian 1957 Stoke Mandeville Games competitor John Rein), Wayne Swann (Federal Treasurer), Zhang Junsai (Chinese Ambassador to Australia), Bill Shorten (Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services).

The Prime Minister announced the largest ever funding increase for Paralympic sport

In the lead-up to the 2007 federal election, Prime Minister John Howard announced that the Federal Government would significantly increase funding to the Australian Paralympic Committee by $3.45m a year, commencing in 2007/08, plus a one-off grant of $1m to assist in televising the 2008 Beijing Games. Howard made the announcement in Sydney on Saturday 20 October, joined by members of the men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams (including Tina McKenzie, left, and Katie Hill, rear) and a large media contingent. The funding increase was in line with a submission made by the APC to the major parties well before the election was called. In total, it represented almost a doubling of federal funding and enabled the APC to invest in targetting new opportunities in medal sports, the creation of a mainstreaming fund, the integration of Paralympic programs within the Australian Institute of Sport and an expanded role for the APC in sports science, sport medicine and athlete services. It also ensured the most comprehensive TV coverage ever of an away Games by the ABC in Beijing. Although Howard’s government lost the election on 24 November, the incoming government honoured the commitment.

A new tagline for an awareness campaign leading to Beijing

The then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) commissioned Woolcott Research to conduct research into community awareness about Paralympic sport and the APC after the 2004 summer Paralympics and the 2006 winter Paralympics. The research showed that the APC had a low profile within Australia, there was little awareness about what it actually did, who funded the organisation and what Paralympic sport actually is. One outcome was that donations to the APC were low and budget allocation from the Federal Government reflected the low level of awareness of Australians generally. In 2007, a plan was created to raise the profile of the Paralympic movement in Australia and increase income through fundraising and government support. Publicis Mojo, the advertising agency used by APC sponsor Toyota, worked with the APC to create the ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ tagline for Australia’s Paralympians and a series of radio, print and TV ads. The APC would use ‘UNBELIEVABLE’ until after the 2008 Games. It was the first of several taglines used by the APC.

An education program would create a base of understanding and support

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, an extensive program in Australian schools created awareness of the Games, Paralympic sport and Australia’s Paralympians. One outcome was that more than 400,000 schoolchildren attended the Sydney Games. After 2000, the Australian Paralympic Committee had the rights to the program but did not have the resources to continue it. In 2007 the APC launched the Telstra Paralympic Education Program to raise awareness among primary school children of Paralympic sport, athletes and values. Key elements were that the program was matched to curriculum requirements in every state and territory and that it was largely delivered online. The program was supported by the Australian Sports Commission and APC sponsor Telstra. By the start of the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, 1,816 primary schools – 22 percent of Australia’s total – had joined the program, with those schools reporting that 282,975 children were involved.

The APC took responsibility for a coordinated approach to classification

Classification is the basis of all Paralympic sport. It is the process whereby athletes are put into classes so that in competition they are competing against others whose impairments have a similar influence on their performance potential. Until the 2004 summer and 2006 winter Paralympics, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) had a policy that the classification of athletes was their personal responsibility and the responsibility of their sport program. In practical terms, this meant that athletes went to the Paralympics and other competitions with uncertain classifications which could be changed before they competed and could see them either classified out – they could not compete at all – or reclassified into a different class. This approach had unfortunate consequences over the years, such as the traumatic Games for the wheelchair rugby team in 2004 and an athlete at the FESPIC Games in 2002 being unable to compete at all. In July 2006, Jenni Cole commenced as the APC’s National Classification Manager and a program was put in place to increase the number of classifiers across all sports in Australia and to ensure that every athlete going to a Games had the most secure possible level of classification. The program was a world first.

Key sponsors and supporters got a firsthand experience of the Games

For the 2000 Sydney Paralympics and since, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) sought to engage key sponsors and other supporters with the Australian team during the Games, to promote an understanding of the Games themselves and of the Australian team and its athletes. At the Torino winter Paralympics the sponsors and supporters group stayed near the Games’ venues in Sestriere and had a number of opportunities to interact with the athletes and team staff. The group included Ron Finneran and Steve Gibb from the APC’s program partner Disabled Wintersport Australia, Peter and Marion Evans (Toyota), Ross Cunningham (Star City), Kim and Judith Clifford (Thredbo Resorts), Belinda Green and Steve Mason (Desert Duel fundraiser organisers), John and Susie Croll (Media Monitors), Anthony Fanning (Healthe) and promotional competition winners Brian and Samuel Hardaker. The group was led by APC Board members Joyce Parzsos, Steve Loader and Justin Holdforth. Most of the group had been or were to become long term supporters of the APC and the Paralympic movement.

After Athens the APC went looking for talent (and found it)

After the Athens Paralympics, it was obvious that the pool of talent required to maintain Australia’s Paralympic standing would not keep replenishing itself. As sports were ‘mainstreamed’ and became the responsibility of national federations, there were calls, especially from athletics head coach Scott Goodman, for the Australian Paralympic Committee to use its expertise and experience to coordinate a national talent identification program. The APC’s ‘Talent Search’ program commenced with a ‘come and try’ day in March 2005 in Newcastle, NSW, at the University of Newcastle conducted by Paralympian Amy Winters and program manager Kellie Puxty. Amazingly, one of the attendees at that day, Kath Proudfoot, went on to become the first athlete identified through the program to win a Paralympic medal when she won a silver medal in the discus at the Beijing summer Paralympics. By the Beijing Games, 72 Talent Search activities had been conducted, with 1,008 participants. Of these, 127 were identified at ‘tier one’ athletes (future elite potential within two years) and 395 as ‘tier two’ athletes (elite potential within four years). Fifty-three Talent Search athletes were part of the Paralympic Preparation Program in the year leading into the Beijing Games, with 27 Talent Search athletes being selected in the Australian Paralympic Team and 15 of these winning medals at their first Paralympic Games. The program had been a success and over the years continued to contribute an increasing number of athletes to Australian teams.

To help create identity, the Australian Team would have its own logo

In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, the then Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) saw the need to create a strong team identity and culture for the Australian team. After all, the recent 1996 summer Paralympics had been the first Games where the team was not composed of a number of ‘teams within the team’ based on disability grouping. One element of the team building process was the creation of a logo for the 2000 Australian Paralympic team, which was based on the APC logo that had been created the year before. The logo was used extensively in the lead-up to the Games and featured on elements of the team uniform.

And a visit from the APF President

The President of the Australian Paralympic Federation, Bob McCullough, is joined by Team staff during a visit to the Games Village at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games. McCullough was a controversial figure who was overseeing a revolution in the structure and management of Paralympic sport in Australia that had been brought about by the dire financial position of the APF, then the awarding of the 2000 Olympics and Paralympics to Sydney and the subsequent boost in funding and support. Left to right: Peter Kelly (team Media Director), Paul Bird (Assistant Chef de Mission, Administration), Bob McCullough and an unknown Team liaison officer.