(L-R) Adam Basil, Patrick Johnson, and Joshua Roberts of Australia during the Athens 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece on Aug. 27, 2004. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
The Australian Olympic Committee has rewritten its constitution to ensure at least one permanent Indigenous voice on its Athletes Commission.
AOC president John Coates says their commitment to reconciliation gained significant momentum since the Constitution was amended in 2015 to recognise the heritage, culture and history of Australia’s first peoples and give practical support to Indigenous reconciliation through sport.
“I congratulate the Athletes’ Commission and its chair Steve Hooker for this initiative. They have worked hand in hand with our Indigenous Advisory Committee led by Patrick Johnson to ensure we continue to make real progress.”
Coates added Australia’s Olympic team will carry a piece of ASICS kit which features a design by Indigenous Olympic boxer Paul Fleming in Tokyo.
Johnson said the cooperation between the IAC and the AOC Athletes’ Commission had a positive impact on both groups.
“As an Olympian, a proud Kaanju man and Chair of the IAC, I am a great believer in timing. My thanks to Athletes’ Commission chair Steve Hooker for his drive to achieve this recognition.”
Hooker said the constitutional change would create an enduring legacy for Indigenous advancement through sport.
“Olympians and our Olympic sport have a huge opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to reconciliation,” he said.