In an historic first, a full float of Olympians and Paralympians will march up Oxford Street in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade.
Australian Olympic Committee
4 Mar 2016 - 1:28 PM  UPDATED 4 Mar 2016 - 5:19 PM

The float will feature over 80 gay and straight athletes; plus their partners and friends. The float titled #OneTeam, is unequivocally supported by the Australian Olympic Committee and Australian Paralympic Committee.

And while the Matildas are in Japan trying to qualify for Rio 2016 the recently retired Athens Olympian Sally Shipard will be on the float in Sydney.  “I’m absolutely stoked”, she said. "We're all marching together and it's a celebration for being uniquely ourselves. I find that powerful."

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Shipard will be joined by three-time Olympian, Shelley Gorman-Sandie.

“It makes me feel proud to be marching. Proud that I can be my true self and authentic. Sports people are held in such high regard and it shows anyone who may be struggling with their sexuality to know it’s ok. And it’s OK to be different. Hopefully that’s the message we get out.”

Seven Olympic and Paralympic gold medallists will participate and every summer Olympic Team since 1976 is represented, including gold medalist, Louise Sauvage.

“I think it’s an awesome community event. It will be a lot of fun and a great opportunity to show support for all sportspeople and whatever our differences may be.”

The athletes are participating to show support to LGBTIQ communities and reinforce the message that Australia's athletes want a sporting community free of homophobia. 

Out in sport: the 2016 Mardi Gras series