AOC congratulates Olympians honoured on Australia Day
26 January 2019
The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has congratulated Olympians Ian Thorpe, Kitty Chiller, Max Binnington, Peter Tonkin and Hilton Clarke after they were recognised in today’s Australia Day Honours.
Ian Thorpe, whose five Olympic gold medals is the greatest tally of any Australian Olympian, was made a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia for his significant service to youth and Indigenous education through charitable initiatives and to swimming.
Kitty Chiller was similarly recognised for her significant service to sport, particularly as a modern pentathlon competitor and administrator.
Also honoured with an AM was AOC Vice-President Ian Chesterman, who has led Australian teams as Chef de Mission to the past six Winter Olympic Games.
Honoured with a Member (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division were Max Binnington (Athletics – hurdling, Montreal 1976) for service to athletics, Hilton Clarke (Cycling Mexico 1968) for service to cycling and Peter Tonkin (Swimming Tokyo 1964) for service to swimming.
AOC President John Coates AC says Ian Thorpe’s great achievements in the pool have been complemented by an enormous desire to contribute in other areas.
“Ian is an exemplar of Olympic values. He works tirelessly through his charity for Indigenous welfare.
“He has courageously highlighted the challenges of depression through his autobiography and in more recent times took a prominent position in the successful campaign that led to same-sex marriage legislation being passed by our Federal Parliament.
“Ian has been a wonderful mentor to a new generation of Olympians and his ongoing support for the Australian Olympic movement means a great deal to us.”
Mr Coates also had high praise for Kitty Chiller, the first and only woman to lead an Australian team to an Olympic Games as Chef de Mission.
“Kitty is unique. An Olympic coach, then competitor, team manager, and ultimately the Chef de Mission in Rio, a role she carried out with great distinction.
“Kitty continues to contribute to this day as an Executive Member of the AOC, the IOC’s Athlete’s Entourage Commission and of course guiding Gymnastics Australia as CEO.
“I can’t think of any other Australian who, like Kitty, sits on the International Executives of two Olympic sports as she does with Gymnastics and Modern Pentathlon,” Mr Coates said.
Mr Coates also acknowledged the recognition of Ian Chesterman, who will lead the Australian Team to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
“As Chef de Mission for the past six Australian Winter Olympic Teams, Ian has played a crucial role in the ongoing success of our Winter Olympic Teams and the profile of our winter sports.
“Ian has an impressive leadership style that rubs off on our athletes. Most recently at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, our team conducted themselves flawlessly in competition and as Australian ambassadors away from it. Ian can take great credit for that,” Mr Coates said.
Along with Olympians Max Binnington, Hilton Clarke and Peter Tonkin, the AOC President highlighted the contribution made to the Olympic movement by Australians in other ways.
David Grace QC, AM was acknowledged for service to criminal law and his pro-bono contributions to sporting bodies. He was a volunteer advocate for the Australian Olympic team in Athens in 2004, a member of the Court of Arbitration of Sport since 2000 and is a former President of Athletics Australia.
Peter Cohen AM, a former Honorary Secretary General and past Vice-President of the International Hockey Association received recognition for his significant services to hockey and the Jewish community of St Kilda.
Bruce Prance OAM, a former President of Diving Australia, has coached Australian teams in diving at Tokyo 1964 and Seoul in 1988, while Ian Hanson OAM has served as a media officer for Australian Olympic Teams over six Olympic Games.