In its annual report for 1992/93, Australian Paralympic Federation President Ron Finneran called it the most challenging year in its short history. In her report, APF Secretary-General Adrienne Smith noted that: “1993 was to have been a year spent in recovery from the all-out efforts for the 1992 Paralympic Games and in consolidating the newly restructured Federation. Instead, with the advent of the bid for the Sydney Paralympic Games 2000 and the realisation that the Olympiad system had indeed changed and there was only a year to fund and organise our next Winter Paralympic Team, it became another year of frenetic activity.”
Including the Madrid Games, the tiny and under-resourced APF would send away four Paralympic teams in one two year period and take the lead running on the Sydney Games bid. Although the federation now found itself comfortably in the black, it relied on two full-time staff, a trainee and dedicated volunteers.
On the international front, Marie Little became the first Australian to be elected to the Governing Board of the International Paralympic Committee at its 1993 General Assembly. All up, 18 Australians had leadership roles on various international bodies responsible for the coordination of disability sport.
In many ways, the Sydney bid had been the final straw of a turbulent establishment period for the APF. The bid process and the ongoing dispute with the NSW government took its toll. With Sydney announced as the host of both the Olympics and the Paralympics, Finneran and Smith were exhausted and disillusioned. They were ready to hand over the reins to a new administration. They would leave behind an organisation in good financial shape, with solid summer performances and its first ever winter medals.
Date: June 1993