Four Commonwealth Games Australia heroes will vie for the 2018 ‘The Don’ Award at Sport Australia Hall of Fame 34th Induction and Awards Gala Dinner next week.
Australian sport’s night of nights will be held on 11 October 2018, the field for the prestigious award has been unveiled, revealing a star-studded list of Australian sporting champions whose achievements have most ‘inspired the nation’.
Heroes from Gold Coast 2018 will figure strongly in the nominations with gold medallists Kurt Fearnley AO and Madison de Rozario (athletics wheelchair racing) and outgoing Kookaburras hockey captain Mark Knowles OAM acknowledged, in addition to para-triathlete Lauren Parker who won a bronze medal at the Games one year after becoming paralysed from the waist down after an accident.
Our Commonwealth Games stars will vie for the prestigious award against motor sport stars Daniel Ricciardo and Indianapolis 500 victor Will Power, Matilda’s international goalscoring machine Sam Kerr, and record-breaking cricketer Ellyse Perry.
Inaugurated in 1998, ‘The Don’ Award is Australia’s leading contemporary sport award, named in honour of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame’s first Inductee, the late Sir Donald Bradman AC, and is awarded annually to the Athlete or Team who, through their performance and example has most inspired the nation.
About the Commonwealth Games Australia nominees
Madison de Rozario (Athletics) has had an outstanding year which saw her claim two gold medals in the 1500m and marathon at the Commonwealth Games. One week later, de Rozario backed up to win the London Marathon – the first Australian woman to win the prestigious event.
Kurt Fearnley’s AO (Athletics) inspirational attitude and determination was widely applaud throughout the Australian sporting community which saw him honoured at the Commonwealth Games with selection as the Flag Bearer for the Closing Ceremony. Fearnley won gold in the marathon and silver in the 1500m at Gold Coast 2018.
Mark Knowles OAM (Hockey) was honoured as the Flag Bearer for the Opening Ceremony at the Commonwealth Games, he then went on to captain the Kookaburras to gold. The Games saw the retirement of Knowles as Australia’s most decorated player – 325 games, one Olympic Gold medal (2004), two World Cup titles (2010, 2014), four Commonwealth gold medals (2006, 2010, 2014, 2018) and was named world player of the year in 2014.
Lauren Parker (Triathlon) broke ribs, a shoulder blade, pelvis punctured a lunch and damaged her spinal cord in a crash which saw her paralysed from the waist down. This tragic incident occurred a year out from the Commonwealth Games, and resumed training with three months remaining until competition day. Courageously, Parker found herself on the podium winning bronze in the Para-triathlon WC.
About ‘The Don’ Award
The winner of ‘The Don’ Award will be announced at the Sport Australia Hall of Fame on Australian sport’s “Night of Nights” – the sold out 34th Sport Australia Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala Dinner on Thursday 11th October at Palladium at Crown, Melbourne.
Established in 1985, 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.
2018 will mark the 34th edition of this event, with eight Australian sporting icons, from on and off the field, to be inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.
In addition, one existing Hall of Fame member will be elevated to Legend status, becoming the 40th official Legend of Australian Sport.
Previous ‘The Don’ Award recipients can be found here
Commonwealth Games athletes ‘The Don’ Award Finalist quotes
Madison de Rozario (Athletics)
“Being named as a finalist for ‘The Don’ is amazing. It’s a recognition that encompasses more than what we do & what we achieve as athletes. It’s so important to me to use whatever platform sport gives me to do my part to incite positive change – even in the smallest ways. For this to be to be seen & to be chosen amongst so many other brilliant athletes & people is a huge honour.”
Kurt Fearnley AO (Athletics)
“I’ve grown up with the belief that sport has the ability to lead our country. Sir Donald Bradman represents that leadership perfectly. A leader on the field and a figure of integrity off the field. It’s an honour to receive any nomination that I am in any way associated to the man and the legend of the great man.”
Mark Knowles (Hockey)
“As an Australian athlete, there are not many honours that can compete with that of ‘The Don’ award. The way he conducted himself on and off the field was of the highest integrity and this is something that I have also tried to do. In looking at the past finalists and winners, it makes me extremely proud of the country kid from Rockhampton I’ve been able to become.”
Lauren Parker (Triathlon)
“I am absolutely blown away to be nominated for The Don Award, especially in it’s 20th year. Many of the awards recipients have inspired me to keep pushing myself in sport way beyond what I believed were my physical and mental limits. As an athlete I set out each day to test my abilities, both at training and in competition. I am humbled that my personal goals and commitment to my sport have been recognized as something worthwhile by others.”
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 click here.