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SAHOF Breaking News

3rd Oct 2019

MEDIA RELEASE: Who will take home The Don in 2019?

 

Nine of Australia’s best athletes will vie for the 2019 ‘The Don’ Award at next week’s sold-out 35th Induction and Awards Gala Dinner.

With just a week to go until Australian sport’s 'Night of Nights' next Thursday 10th October, the field for the prestigious award has been unveiled.

This year’s nominees include tennis grand slam champions Dylan Alcott OAM and Ashleigh Barty, 2018 NRL premiership hero Cooper Cronk, three-time Tour de France stage winner Caleb Ewan, 2018 world surfing champion Stephanie Gilmore, Bathurst 1000 2018 winner Craig Lowndes OAM, Ashes winners Ellyse Perry and Tim Paine, and swimming world champion Ariarne Titmus.

For Gilmore, the nomination is her third as a finalist, following her nomination in 2010 and 2012, whilst Alcott (2016) and Perry (2018) return to the coveted list for the second time.

The finalists are the ‘who’s who’ of Australian sport and their performances during the 2018-2019 nomination period provide a summary of the highlights of Australian sport during that period.

Importantly, their performances reflect the standards of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame’s first Inductee, the late Sir Donald Bradman AC, and The Don is awarded annually to the athlete or team who, through their performance and example has most inspired the nation.

‘THE DON’ AWARD
2019 FINALISTS

Athlete

Sport

Achievements

Dylan Alcott OAM

Tennis

Nine-time grand-slam champion Dylan Alcott won this year’s Australian, French and Wimbledon Quad Wheelchair singles championships. 

Both his French and Wimbledon singles titles were the first ever contested at the world’s most prestigious tournaments and he is the first player to simultaneously hold all four majors. He is also the current Australian, French, Wimbledon and US Quad Wheelchair doubles champion.

Alcott is using his rising profile to become a leading disability campaigner.  He has set up two foundations and created an all abilities music festival and is focused on changing the perception of people with disabilities and breaking down barriers to disability inclusiveness.

This is the second year that Dylan has been a finalist in ‘The Don’ Award following his first nomination in 2016.

Ashleigh Barty

Tennis

Ashleigh Barty broke through for her first major championship win at the French Open, the first Australian woman to win that tournament since Margaret Court AO MBE 46 years earlier (1973).

In winning her next tournament, the Birmingham Classic, Barty rose to the No 1 world ranking, only the second Australian woman to do so since Evonne Goolagong-Cawley AC MBE in 1976.

23- year-old Barty joins Goolagong-Cawley, John Newcombe AO OBE, Pat Rafter and Lleyton Hewitt AM becoming only the 5th Australian to have reached this pinnacle since the rankings were introduced in 1973, and the first since Hewitt in 2003.

Barty, who took a break from tennis for more than a year before returning three years ago with a ranking in the 600s, earned worldwide acclamation for this phenomenal turnaround and her humility, graciousness, poise and determination in both victory and defeat.

Cooper Cronk

Rugby League

Cooper Cronk’s performance in the 2018 NRL premiership with the Sydney Roosters will go down in history.

Cronk showed great courage by playing an important role in the Sydney Roosters’ NRL premiership despite taking the field with a broken scapula which made it almost impossible to handle the ball, or to even train properly for the match.

Instead, he ran tirelessly throughout, showing leadership, instructing, encouraging and inspiring his teammates as they overcame Melbourne Storm, the club for which he had played 325 games before moving to Sydney at the end of the previous season.

The popular half-back - a regular Australian and Queensland representative in earlier years - became the first to play in consecutive premierships for two different clubs, giving him three in all.

Caleb Ewan

Cycling

Caleb Ewan stamped himself as an emerging star on cycling’s biggest stage when he won three stages – including the coveted final stage, the traditional parade race to the Champs-Elysées in Paris – on his debut in the Tour de France.

He also had one second placing, three thirds and finished runner-up behind the veteran champion Peter Sagan for the sprinters’ green jersey, second only to the winner’s yellow jersey for prestige.

Ewan, a modest and likeable character, demonstrated great persistence and self-belief after leaving the Australian team Mitchelton-Scott last year and switching to the Belgian outfit Lotto Soudal for more opportunity which he grabbed with both hands.

Stephanie Gilmore 

Surfing

Stephanie Gilmore is one of the most dominant surfers in history having won the 2018 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour, her seventh world title, equalling Australian compatriot Layne Beachley AO as the only women in the world to win seven World Surfing titles.

Gilmore, 30, renowned for her artistic and aggressive style as well as her technical expertise, is now in a position to chase the 11 men’s world titles won by legendary American Kelly Slater.

Gilmore won her first title in 2007, her rookie year – the first surfer of either gender to accomplish that feat.

This is the third year that Stephanie has been a finalist in ‘The Don’ Award following nominations in 2010 and 2012.

Craig Lowndes OAM

Motor Racing

Craig Lowndes pulled off a fairy-tale seventh win in the Bathurst 1000 in his 25th and final outing as a lead driver, conquering the mountain in his last stand, 22 years since his first victory.

The win, with co-driver Steve Richards, cemented him as one of the all-time greats and into equal second place for the most Bathurst victories. He is tied with Richards’ father Jim Richards, behind the all-time King of the Mountain and early mentor of Lowndes, the late Peter Brock who has nine.

Lowndes is a three-time V8 Supercars champion and earlier this year was inducted into the Australian Motor Sport Hall of Fame.

Tim Paine

Cricket

Test captain Tim Paine’s influential leadership was largely responsible for Australia not only defending The Ashes on English soil – a result not achieved for 18 years – but returning cricket to its traditional status as the nation’s most popular international sport.

The successful campaign on cricket’s biggest stage was a triumph for an impressive man who never expected to find himself in sport’s most prestigious job, let alone in such challenging circumstances.

Untarnished by the ball tampering scandal that badly damaged the game’s image, morale and respect, Paine stepped up under immense pressure and rigorous scrutiny to ensure Australian sports fans could again be proud of their team’s performance and conduct.

He proved individual excellence on a scoreboard is not necessarily the most inspirational ingredient of success, that character, resilience, dedication and integrity are often even more important.   

Ellyse Perry

Cricket

Ellyse Perry was the stand-out star of the winning women’s Ashes cricket tour of England.

She scored 116 and 76 not out in the only Test, taking 7-22 in the third one-day international, the best figures by an Australian woman in that format.

Perry became the first player in the world to achieve the double of 1000 runs and 100 wickets in Twenty20 cricket.

Perry’s amazing all-round capabilities have set the standard for the thousands of girls aspiring to become professional cricketers and helped make Australia a pacesetter in the international game.

This is the second consecutive year that Perry has been a finalist in ‘The Don’ Award.

Ariarne Titmus

Swimming

Ariarne Titmus achieved a stunning upset to defeat the legendary Katie Ledecky in the 400m freestyle at the 2019 World Swimming Championships.

In doing so she became the first Australian woman since Tracey Wickham OAM MBE in 1978 to win that title.

Until 18-year-old Titmus pulled off one of the greatest boilovers, the American had not been beaten in the 400m, 800m or 1500m freestyle at a major international meet since 2012.

Titmus completed the Championships with two gold, one silver and one bronze. She also anchored the women’s 4 X 200m freestyle to a world record.

 

Cooper Cronk said the nomination was one of the highlights of a decorated career.

“To be named as a finalist for the 2019 Don Award, to put it simply, is the most humbling honour in my sporting career. Sir Donald Bradman is an icon of Australian sport and is revered by our whole country so to be associated with his name and his achievements is an incredible honour.”

Meanwhile cyclist Caleb Ewan says the close association with Sir Donald Bradman, makes his nomination even more special.

“Given I spend so much of my life and so much of my career overseas, it is very special to be acknowledged in Australia this way by our elite sporting body alongside so many inspirational champions of Australian sport.”

“Like Sir Donald Bradman, I also hail from Bowral but maybe that’s where the similarities end, particularly on a cricket field! To me he was a person that was not only the very best at his chosen sport cricket, but a person that represented Australia with such distinction and integrity at all times despite the circumstances and it seems to me that it was as important to him as his on-field deeds.”

Gilmore said the award is an important one for Australian sport.

“It’s an honour to be nominated for such an award. Sir Donald Bradman is recognised for his excellence far beyond his sport in a way that inspires many and that is the importance of having this kind of role. I have always strived to do this in my own legacy and continue to.”

Sport Australia Hall of Fame Selection Committee Chair Rob de Castella AO MBE said: “The Don Award is unique in sport, just as was the man.  No other award acknowledges the inspiration, character and intangible element called sportsmanship like the Don Award.  It is not the best athlete or team of the year, it is so much more. It is more about the how, than the what. This is what makes us most proud of them.”

Quotes from all finalists can be found below.

 

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

Finalist quotes

Dylan Alcott OAM – Tennis
“It is a huge honour to be nominated for an award that recognises the greats, by one of the greats. I feel as athletes we all strive to be the best we can be and Sir Donald Bradman certainly embodied that.”

“Growing up, I think to a lot of people he meant inspiration and hope. I didn't know what I wanted to do at that time, but I knew whatever it was that I wanted to be great at it. He was a big part of inspiring that.”

Ashleigh Barty - Tennis
“Sir Donald Bradman will forever be one of the world’s most outstanding sporting personalities. He is someone I have always looked up to, for his talent and the way he conducted himself throughout his life. Being nominated for ‘The Don’ Award is a huge honour and something I am very proud of. I hope I can follow Sir Don’s example and do Australia proud.”

Cooper Cronk - Rugby League
“To be named as a finalist for the 2019 Don Award, to put it simply, is the most humbling honour in my sporting career. Sir Donald Bradman is an icon of Australian sport and is revered by our whole country so to be associated with his name and his achievements is an incredible honour.”

“Every athlete strives for perfection; some make it and some don’t even get close. Finishing his career with an average of 99.9 Sir Donald Bradman perfected his art in his sport more than any other athlete has in Australian sport.”

Caleb Ewan - Cycling
“Given I spend so much of my life and so much of my career overseas, it is very special to be acknowledged in Australia this way by our elite sporting body alongside so many inspirational champions of Australian sport.”

“Like Sir Donald Bradman, I also hail from Bowral but maybe that’s where the similarities end, particularly on a cricket field! To me he was a person that was not only the very best at his chosen sport cricket, but a person that represented Australia with such distinction and integrity at all times despite the circumstances and it seems to me that it was as important to him as his on-field deeds.”

Stephanie Gilmore - Surfing
“It’s an honour to be nominated for such an award. Sir Donald Bradman is recognised for his excellence far beyond his sport in a way that inspires many and that is the importance of having this kind of role. I have always strived to do this in my own legacy and continue to.”

Craig Lowndes OAM - Motor Racing
“It is an incredible honour, he was one of the greatest athletes our country has seen. To be recognised as a finalist for such a prestigious award amongst Australian sporting greats - it makes me both proud to represent my sport of Supercars, but also my achievements during my career. To me, winning the Bathurst 1000 is the ultimate in our sport and one of Australia’s iconic sporting events. So to be a 7 time winner is something I will always be extremely proud of.”

“Growing up as a kid I was an avid cricket fan. I even still have my junior club cricket bat. Sir Donald Bradman is an icon of Australian sport who transcended all codes. His ability, sportsmanship and conduct on and off the field is something I have always looked up to.”

Tim Paine – Cricket
“I am deeply humbled to have been selected as a finalist in the Don Award for 2019. Any award carrying the name of Sir Donald Bradman, has great meaning for any Australian cricketer. The list of previous winners shows the significance of the Don Award and I am incredibly proud to be shortlisted for 2019.”

Ellyse Perry - Cricket
“I’m incredibly honoured to be named as a finalist for the Don Award, Don Bradman’s name is obviously synonymous with Australian sport, and also Australian history. Bradman personifies the greatest ideals of sport and achievement, so to be nominated for an award named in his honour is very special.” 

Ariarne Titmus - Swimming
“I swim because I love it, and representing our country is an honour I hold very high. As little as two years ago, I never thought I would be in this position nominated alongside some of Australia’s greatest athletes. To me, being nominated for the Don Award means that not only am I doing myself and my family proud, I am inspiring the people of Australia which completely humbles me.”

“Sir Donald Bradman pushed the boundaries in the game of cricket and has since inspired generations of athletes and sport lovers. For this award to be named after him, I believe he is arguably Australia’s greatest sporting hero. His achievements will continue to inspire our country for many, many years.”

________________________________________________________________________________

In addition to ‘The Don’ Award, seven inductees will be bestowed the highest honour in Australian sport. Matt Cowdrey OAM will join broadcaster Dennis Cometti AM, shooter Russell Mark OAM, cyclist Robbie McEwen AM, swimmer Stephanie Rice OAM, former Matilda Cheryl Salisbury and triathlete Emma Snowsill OAM with induction into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame on Australian sport’s 'Night of Nights' – the 35th Sport Australia Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala Dinner on Thursday, 10th October at Palladium at Crown, Melbourne.

Established in 1985, The Sport Australia Hall of Fame exists to preserve and celebrate the history of Australian sport and to inspire all Australians to achieve their potential both in sport and life.

The Sport Australia Hall of Fame plays a vital role in preserving and perpetuating Australia’s rich sporting heritage, whilst promoting the values of courage, sportsmanship, integrity, mateship, persistence, and excellence, all underpinned by generosity, modesty, pride and ambition.

Along with the seven new inductees, the Scholarship and Mentoring Program recipients will be presented. In addition, the 41st Legend of Australian sport will be celebrated.

 

The 35th Sport Australia Hall of Fame Annual Induction and Awards Gala Dinner

What:

Australia’s most prestigious sporting awards ceremony

Date:

Thursday 10th October 2019

Time:

From 5:45pm (Media, VIP and Members) and 6:30pm (Guests)

Where:

Palladium at Crown, Melbourne

Who:

The largest collective gathering of Australian sporting greats and luminaries

Awards:

The Induction of seven new Australian sporting greats into The Sport Australia Hall of Fame

Elevation of one member as the 41st Legend of Australian Sport

Naming of ‘The Don’ Award winner

Presentation to the 2020 recipients of the Scholarship and Mentoring Program

Nomination:

The Sport Australia Hall of Fame is determined to carry to Australians everywhere the symbol of excellence as represented by its 565 Members across all sports and genders. Membership of The Sport Australia Hall of Fame is the crowning achievement of a sporting career and represents the highest level of peer recognition for an individual's contribution to his or her sport. For more information about criteria and how to nominate please click here.

 



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When considering the stature of an athlete or for that matter any person, I set great store in certain qualities which I believe to be essential in addition to skill. They are that the person conducts his of her life with dignity, with integrity, courage, and perhaps most of all, with modesty. These virtues are totally compatible with pride, ambition, and competitiveness.