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Australian Olympians back home with hero-like reception
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20:19, August 26, 2008

Australia's Olympians, boosted by the glory of their achievements in the Beijing Olympic Games, received a heroes' welcome of fanfare and cheers in Sydney on Tuesday.

With a total of 46 medals clinched by the Australian athletes, including 14 gold medals, the Olympic team was greeted by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and hundreds of family and friends.

Most of the 435 Olympians arrived home early Tuesday after finishing sixth in the medal tally and winning a podium position in 14 sports.

Oarsman and opening ceremony flag-bearer James Tomkins, returning from his sixth Olympics, said the team was "pumped" to be back in Australia.

"The support that we got from Australia was incredible, the messages of support to all the athletes was unbelievable," the Australian Associated Press quoted him as saying.

"Then to come back here and realize the enormity of the achievement of the team was absolutely phenomenal."

Rudd said the preparations for the 2012 London Olympics would begin today.

"Every man, woman and child in this nation Australia is proud of every one of you, well done," he told the athletes.

"To hear the roar of the crowd in China welcoming this great team for Australia says for me one thing - you are great ambassadors for Australia and the nation thanks you," the prime minister said.

Source: Xinhua

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1 China 51 21 28 100
2 USA 36 38 36 110
3 Russia 23 21 28 72
4 Great Britain 19 13 15 47
5 Germany 16 10 15 41
6 Australia 14 15 17 46
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