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AOC Acknowledges Australia Honours for Olympians

26 January 2018

AOC: The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has acknowledged the recognition given to the many Olympic athletes who have received Australia Day honours announced this morning.

AOC President John Coates has praised the outstanding contribution made by the eight Olympians in their chosen sports and also their efforts in sport and the community beyond their sporting careers.

The former Olympians recognised with the following honours today are:

· Betty Cuthbert AC (posthumous)

· Michael Turtur AO

· Gillian Rolton AM (posthumous)

· Shane Gould AM

· Susie O’Neill AM

· Rechelle Hawkes AM

· Michele Timms AM

· Simon Baker OAM

Mr Coates says the passing of both Betty Cuthbert and Gillian Rolton last year was a time of sadness for the Olympic community however the recognition received today will gladden the hearts of the Australian sporting community.

“Two wonderful women and two wonderful Olympic champions. Betty was our “Golden Girl” with her four Olympic gold medals and multiple world records on the track while Gillian’s courage in winning the Team Eventing in Atlanta in 1996 when badly injured is an extraordinary Olympics story.

“We also congratulate Mike Turtur, not only recognised for his gold medal performance in the 4000 Metres Men’s Pursuit team in Los Angeles in 1984, but for his ongoing contribution to cycling as a coach and particularly the creation of the Tour Down Under which has been such a success.

“Shane Gould and Suzie O’Neill are such legends in the pool in different eras, each with a brace of medals including multiple gold medals and world records. Each deservedly has been honoured previously and I should acknowledge Suzie’s representation on the International Olympic Committee’s Athletes Commission.

“Rechelle Hawkes, our Hockeyroos captain who captured three Olympic gold medals, also holds a special place in our Olympic story having recited the Olympic Oath on behalf of all the athletes at the Sydney 2000 games. Congratulations to her.

“Another wonderful team captain Michele Timms was first a member of our women’s basketball team which won its first ever Olympic medal in Atlanta in 1996 with a bronze, then she captained

the side to a silver in 2000 in Sydney. She has been such an inspiration and a trailblazer for our basketballers.

“I would also like to acknowledge Simon Baker – a wonderful race walker who while never claiming an Olympic medal, represented his country with great distinction at four successive Olympic Games, an extraordinary feat.

Mr Coates also acknowledged the recognition given to Australian tennis legend Evonne Goolagong-Cawley, who was awarded an AC.

“While not an Olympian, Evonne represents all the qualities of a great Australian champion and she has been dear to the Australian Olympic movement. Evonne was the second person who carried the Olympic torch when it started its journey at Uluru ahead of the Sydney 2000 Games.

“My congratulations again to all those recognised for their contribution to our family of Olympic sports which play such a vital role in our community. Athletes, volunteers, officials and all those who support the efforts of those who strive to participate and succeed.”

Strath Gordon

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