By Nick Butler

The speech follows the announcement of a series of team leaders by AOC to mark the next stage of Campaign Rio ©AOCApril 30 - "Campaign Rio", Australia's attempt to improve their Olympic and Paralympic fortunes at Rio 2016, has ramped up a level with the announcement of team leaders across 10 different sports, alongside a speech by Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove outlining the significance of both teams. 

Speaking in Sydney at a Campaign Rio Forum Sir Peter, the Queen's official representative in Australia, described the contribution of athletes to the nation's sporting reputation and identity.

"Aussies take great pride in our sporting accomplishments," he said.

"On behalf of all Australians, thank you for your hard work and your contribution to Australia's world-renowned sporting reputation, so closely linked to our national identity.

"I know you are the most knowledgeable and experienced and aptly-placed people for the challenging job ahead.

"Your understanding, your expertise, your talent, and your motivation all combine to make you a collective force to be reckoned with.

"You are the glue that will bind the Campaign Rio athletes together, hopeful and focussed as they work towards their goals."

These words were echoed by other influential figures, including Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) President and International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice-president John Coates, who claimed the Australian team are the "best prepared" with "very positive" signs they will increase their medals tally. 

Sir Peter Cosgrove (right) spoke at the Campaign Rio event after last week welcoming the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to the country ©Getty ImagesSir Peter Cosgrove (right) spoke at the Campaign Rio event after last week welcoming the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to the country ©Getty Images

Campaign Rio was launched last October in a specific attempt to return to the top five on the Olympic medals table following a lowly tenth place finish at London 2012, where Australia managed their worst medal haul for 20 years, with 35 medals, of which seven were gold.

Australia ended the London 2012 Paralympics in fifth on the medals table with 85 medals, including 32 gold.

The Campaign has already made headlines due to the ban on Australian athletes drinking alcohol in the Olympic Village during the Games, something that was also introduced earlier this year at Sochi 2014 to ensure a more professional approach.

But the programme also consists of more direct elements such as the introduction of team leaders to "boost performance and enforce the culture and values of the Olympic Movement".

Among those announced was Simon Nathan for the sport of athletics, where he is hoping to build upon his experience of working at 40 major athletics championships both indoors and outdoors to contribute to an "outstanding result" in Rio de Janeiro.

Michael Scott in swimming, Chris O'Brien in rowing, Peter Conde in sailing and Bernard Savage in triathlon are others among the 10 appointed so far, with team leaders for other Olympic and Paralympic sports to be revealed at a later stage.

Traditionally the different sports have been led by a section manager but team leaders will take on broader responsibilities, including strategic planning, preparation and performance within their designated sports, it was explained. 

"The AOC is fortunate to have people of their calibre to fill this critical role in Rio," said Kitty Chiller, Australian Chef de Mission at Rio 2016.

"They will help mould the team and implement a strong culture among our expected 450 plus athletes."

"They will also instil in the athletes team values and a standard of behaviour that is expected from all Olympians."

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