The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) are set to take the Olympic spirit to remote communities in the Torres Strait and Cape York during the Tokyo Olympic Games.

The live tour is part of the AOC’s Olympics Live presented by Westpac, where communities around Australia come together to support the Australian team. 

The partnership between the AOC and the RAAF is a step towards implementing both their Reconciliation Action Plans as they build long-term and ongoing relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait communities.

AOC CEO Matt Carroll said using sport as a catalyst for change and the partnership with RAAF demonstrates the AOC’s commitment to taking real action to support the lives of First Nations people.

“The AOC is committed to engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and through Olympians and the power of sport to provide a positive direction and inspiration to Indigenous youth across the nation,” Carroll said.

“We’re excited to bring the Games into some of Australia’s most remote communities and light the spark to ignite the next generation of athletes.”

“This tour will be about bringing people together and connecting remote communities with the Games in a meaningful way.”

The RAAF will work with the AOC to bring live coverage and an interactive sports experience of the Tokyo Games to Horn Island and Lockhart River.

The plan for the tour will involve having a RAAF C-27J Spartan aircraft loaded with equipment and personnel to stage a ‘live site’ in each community. 

A large screen will show live Olympic Games action from Tokyo with community basketball games set to give everyone a chance to try out their skills.

The AOC says the sporting equipment will be left as gifts to the community. 

Utilising the AOC’s signature program, Olympics Unleashed, members of the AOC’s Indigenous Advisory Committee, Olympians Danny Morseu, Beki Smith and Brad Hore are set to visit schools to play sports and share their Olympic stories with the children. 

Former Olympian and proud Torres Strait Islander man Danny Morseu. Photo supplied by the Australian Olympic Committee.

Proud Torres Strait Islander man Danny Morseu, who represented Australia in the 1980 and 1984 Olympics, spoke about how the program helps create a sense of realism to the Olympic dream for children in the region.

“We’re working with the communities to build long-term relationships and inspire young people using the power of sport,” said Morseu.

“We want the children of the Torres Strait to connect with the Olympic dream and strive to produce the best versions of themselves.

“The tour will also offer youth within these communities the opportunity to gain insight into how our athletes achieve success and learn about their ability to set goals, build resilience and critical self-confidence.”

The tour is planned for August 4–6 but said to only go ahead under strict COVID protocols.

By Teisha Cloos