IOC honours the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence

26 October 2011

Every year since 1985, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has launched a trophy with a different theme, reflecting current trends. The 2011 trophy is for "Sport and Social Responsibility" and the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) nominated the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence (NCIE) to receive this prestigious award.

The trophy is for people and organisations that have worked for social and education development within their communities, and the NCIE has today been awarded the trophy at a ceremony held at the Centre in Redfern, Sydney.

“I am delighted that the International Olympic Committee has recognised the excellent work of the NCIE in our Indigenous community by awarding them this trophy,” AOC President John Coates said.

“Indigenous athletes have played and continue to play a vital role in Australia’s Olympic history through their membership of our Olympic Teams over the years across a diverse range of sports.

“We know what an important role sport can play in enriching the lives of young Australians and the AOC joins the IOC in commending the NCIE for its work in encouraging young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to include sport in their lives and generally,” Coates said.

The establishment of the NCIE was funded by the Indigenous Land Corporation and was officially opened in February 2010 by then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

The NCIE's vision is an Australia where young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders can create their own futures, with no limitations while remaining strong in their culture.  The NCIE works with their partner organisations to build brighter futures for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians by cultivating talent and creating opportunities.

“Since our opening last year we have worked with our Pathway Partners to develop and deliver life-changing programs to over 10,000 young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.  I would like to thank the International and Australian Olympic Committees for their support and recognition of our work,” NCIE CEO Jason Glanville said.

“I look forward to continuing our close relationship with the AOC to encourage and grow a new generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander athletes.”

The NCIE's stated values are: Excellence, Inclusiveness, Growth and Integrity, values which complement those of the Olympic movement.

Indigenous Australians have been major contributors to Australia's Olympic heritage over many years with nearly 40 athletes being selected for Olympic competition.

Cathy Freeman is Australia’s most successful Indigenous Olympian winning silver in the 400m at the 1996 Atlanta Games and backing it up with gold in the same event at the Sydney Olympic Games after lighting the Olympic Flame at the Opening Ceremony.

“Programs that provide access for Indigenous communities are crucial to promoting ideas and aspirations for Indigenous people,” Freeman said upon learning of the NCIE’s award.

“It is inspiring that the NCIE empowers Indigenous communities to involve themselves in programs that open up pathways and opportunities.” 

Australia’s first Indigenous Olympic medallist was swimmer Samantha Riley, when she won bronze in the 100m breaststroke at the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games. Riley went on to win bronze in the same event at the 1996 Atlanta Games as well as picking up silver in the 4 x 100m medley relay.

Another outstanding Indigenous athlete in Australian Olympic history is Nova Peris. An Olympic gold medallist in hockey from the Atlanta 1996 Olympics, Peris switched to athletics competing in the 400m and 4 x 400m relay at the Sydney 2000 Games.

The NCIE is making a valuable contribution to the lives of young Indigenous Australians and is a worthy recipient of the IOC's Trophy for "Sport and Social Responsibility".