Over 1,000 people saw the “best of the best” of Australian sport at “The 28th Sport Australia Hall of Fame Annual Induction and Awards Gala Dinner” on October 11 at Crown in Melbourne.
London Olympic gold medallists Sally Pearson, Anna Meares, Jacqui Freney, Malcolm Page and Matthew Belcher joined over 100 of Australia’s greatest sporting luminaries including SAHOF Legends Dawn Fraser,Ken Rosewall and Ron Barassi along with SAHOF Members and National Sporting heroes – Raelene Boyle, Robert de Castella, Johnny Famechon, Wally Lewis, George Gregan, Kieran Perkins, Rod Marsh, Steven Bradbury, Liz Ellis and Alisa Camplin at the sell-out event.
“The Don” Award – The highlight of the night was the much-anticipated announcement of Olympic Champion Sally Pearson as this year’s ‘ “The Don” Award winner. Sally beat an exceptional quality field of outstanding athletes whose performances during the past 12 months made the selection difficult.
Finalists included London Gold Medallists Anna Meares (Cycling), Tom Slingsby, (Sailing) and Jacqueline Freney (Paralympic S7 Swimming) along with Stephanie Gilmore(World Pro Surfing), and London Silver Medallist , Jessica Fox (Canoe Slalom).
In announcing Sally Pearson as this year’s “The Don” Winner; Chair John Bertrand stated, ‘this year has been another sensational year for sport, highlighted by the magnificent performance of our athletes at the London Olympic and Paralympic Games and those from non Games sports making the selection of this year’s ‘The Don’ difficult. In following up her World Championship win with Gold in London, being the first Australia to be named World Athlete of the year and dominating the 100m hurdles, Sally is a worthy winner of the prestigious Award named in honour of our Inaugural Inductee – Sir Donald Bradman’ .
The 2012 Legend – Of the 518 members of The Sport Australia Hall of Fame only 34 Members have been elevated by their peers to Legend status – arguably Australia’s most prestigious sporting club. This year, we elevated a great Australian Champion of the pool, Susie O’Neill OAM as our “34th
Legend of Australian Sport”. Dubbed ‘Madame Butterfly’ for her dominance of the stroke, Susie won a total of eight Olympic medals and joined Dawn Fraser and Petria Thomas as Australia’s most successful Olympic female swimmers. Over a span of 10 years from 1990 to 2000 she never returned home from an international competition without a medal.
Career highlights include Gold medals in the 200m Butterfly, Silver in the 4×100 Medley Relay and Bronze in the 4x200m Freestyle Relay at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics; whilst in Sydney 2000, she backed her Freestyle 200m Gold with Silver in the 200m Butterfly, the 4x100m Medley Relay and the 4x 200 Freestyle Relay. She also won Bronze in the 200m Butterfly at her first Olympics in Barcelona in 1992. In the Commonwealth Games in 1994 she won three Gold and a staggering six Gold in 1998. Through all these triumphs she exhibited the modesty and respect for opponents to make her a true Australian sporting legend.
“This is one of the greatest awards of my career. I am surprised and honoured to be named amongst the best Australian sporting legends who were my idols when I was growing up and competing for Australia. To be recognized tonight in front of one of the most illustrious “capacity crowds” ever gathered in Australia is very rewarding” said Susie. I would like to thank The Sport Australia Hall of Fame for this prestigious honour.” Said Susie O’Neill.
2012 Member Inductees – This year’s Inductees have achieved and won at the highest level in their respective sports of Cricket, Rowing, Cycling, Rugby League and Rugby Union, Australian Football and Sports Administration & Coaching.
The 2012 Sport Australia Hall of Fame Inductees are:
Adam Gilchrist AM, (Cricket)
Andrew Johns, (Rugby League)
Stephen Larkham, (Rugby Union)
Laurie Nash (Mutli Sport AFL & Cricket) * deceased)
James Tomkins OAM, (Rowing)
Kathryn Watt OAM, (Cycling)
Wayne Bennett OAM, (Coaching Rugby League)
Malcolm Speed, (Administration, Basketball & Cricket)
2012 /2013 Scholarship & Mentoring Program Recipients
Five young Australians were awarded with scholarships including, Etihad Airways international tickets, personal mentoring by a SAHOF Member and a cash component. These are:
Britteny Cox (VIC) – Mogul Skiing
Mentor – Sue Stanley (Sport Aerobics)
Alexander Edmondson (SA) – Cycling
Mentor – Phil Smyth (Basketball)
Olivia Price (NSW) – Sailing
Mentor – John bErtrand – Sailing)
Brad Shaw (VIC) – Motorcycling
Jade Warrender, (NSW/WA) Hockey
Mentor Liz Ellis
The 28th Sport Australia Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Dinner was proudly presented by Major Sponsor Etihad Airways.
Etihad Airways was joined by The Sport Australia Hall of Fame Partners, the Australian Sports Commission DrinkWise Australia, Victoria University and Australia Post.