Three-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist David Palmer OAM (squash) and two-time gold medallist Mathew Helm (diving) are among five inductees into the NSW Hall of Champions, as announced last week.
They join John Forbes (yachting), Heather Garriock (football), and Brett Lee (cricket) among the illustrious alumni of the NSW Hall of Champions, which has also seen Layne Beachley AO elevated to Sport Legend status.
Palmer competed at six Games from 1998 to 2018, winning two silver and four bronze medals across singles and doubles alongside his gold earned at Glasgow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018.
He also won a record 27 Professional Squash Association (PSA) tournaments, including two World Championships, four British Opens and reached number one world ranking twice.
Helm, one of Australia’s most decorated divers, competed at the Manchester 2002 and Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, winning gold medals in the 10m platform and synchronised diving with partner Robert Newbery in 2006
He was also a three-time Olympian, winning a history-making silver in the 10m platform at Athens 2004 – the first medal by an individual male Australian diver since Dick Eve’s gold medal in Paris in 1924 – as well as bronze in the synchronised platform with Newbery.
A seven-time world surfing champion, Beachley will be officially recognised as a Legend of NSW Sport, becoming the 24th NSW athlete and the first surfer to be elevated to NSW Legend Status.
She is the 10th female athlete to be elevated to NSW Legend Status joining the likes of Evonne Goolagong-Cawley, Marjorie Jackson-Nelson, Shane Gould, Louise Sauvage, Anne Sargeant, Heather McKay, Margaret Court, Betty Cuthbert AC MBE, and Dawn Fraser AC MBE.
NSW Hall of Champions Committee Chair, Alan Whelpton AO recognised Beachley’s elevation to Legend status, while noting the accomplishments of the five inductees during their distinguished careers that earned them their selection.
“The five inductees John Forbes, Heather Garriock, Mathew Helm, Brett Lee, and David Palmer are recognised for their outstanding sports careers which saw them reach the pinnacle of their chosen sport. They represented their country, state, sport, and themselves with distinction and inspired a new generation of athletes to follow in their footsteps.”
Sport NSW Chief Executive, Stuart Hodge, also paid tribute to Beachley and to the five new inductees.
“Layne has been a champion for surfing in and out of the water. Her elevation to NSW Hall of Champions Legend status is a magnificent acknowledgement of her immense contribution to surfing, and to sport more broadly,” said Hodge.
“We also welcome John, Heather, Mathew, Brett, and David into the Hall of Champions. They join other NSW sports greats who have served NSW and Australian sport with honour and distinction,” added Hodge.
The gala Ceremony dinner will also celebrate the achievements of NSW athletes, coaches, administrators, and organisations across 13 Award-winning categories including Athlete of the Year and Athlete of the Year with a Disability.
With thanks to Sport NSW.