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Prime Minister honours Olympic and Paralympic flag bearers

Recently retired swimmer Cate Campbell was again recognized at an event for Australia’s Olympic flag bearers.

Campbell, a four-time gold medallist, and eight other Olympic flag bearers were celebrated at the Prime Minister’s Olympic and Paralympic Dinner in Melbourne on Saturday night.

Campbell was not selected for the Australian swimming team, which would have seen her compete at the Olympic Games for the fifth time, and the 32-year-old confirmed her retirement midweek.

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Cate Campbell took part just days after confirming her withdrawal from the pool. (Con Chronis/AAP PHOTOS)

Campbell competed with Patty Mills, their co-flag bearer at the Tokyo Olympics, and Raelene Boyle, the track and field star who carried the flag at the 1976 Montreal Games.

Denise Boyd (athletics, 1980 Moscow), Max Metzker (swimming, 1980 Moscow), Wayne Roycroft (equestrian, 1984 Los Angeles), Jenny Donnet (diving, 1992 Barcelona) and Anna Meares (cycling, 2016 Rio) were other flag bearers present.

Meares is currently the Chef de Mission of the Australian Olympic team, which will travel to the Olympic Games in Paris from July 26.

“I remember walking through the tunnel with the flag and trying to sing over the Argentinians we had followed into the stadium,” Meares said.

“As we approached the stadium entrance, I took a deep breath and waited for the cue to enter. When ‘Australia’ was announced, I remember the noise was so loud that I could feel the effect on my body.

“Leading a nation that is so highly regarded in the global sporting scene and competing with the most motivated group of people I have ever met still evokes great emotions in me.”

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Anna Meares recalled the strong emotions she felt as an Olympic flag bearer. (Con Chronis/AAP PHOTOS)

In addition, a group of 14 Paralympic flag bearers were honored, starting with Paul Croft at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul.

The event, featuring Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, comes a day after the government announced plans to invest $283 million in the sport over the next two years.

The funding, which lays the foundation for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Brisbane, is in addition to $102 million in annual grants to the Australian Sports Commission and high performance programs.

“The Prime Minister clearly understands what Olympic sports mean to this country,” said Australian Olympic Committee President Ian Chesterman.

“That’s why we thank him for his commitment to helping our sport and our athletes.”

“Our team will do us proud in Paris and this is the first stop on the runway after LA28 and then Brisbane 2032.”

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