Today, on Australia Day, which is the National Day of Australia, 20 of the 22 Rio gold medallists were honoured with the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM). Kim Brennan, who took gold in the women’s single sculls, and Michellie Jones, who won Paralympic triathlon, were appointed Members of the Order of Australia (AM). Brennan was honoured for ‘significant service to rowing, to the welfare of elite athletes, to sport as a gold medallist at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and to the community’.
‘It does make it extra special. I’ve always felt that in a lot of ways elite sport can be quite a selfish pursuit. I’d like to help out as much as possible to make sport as accessible, inclusive and enjoyable for everyone,’ Brennan told the press.
‘All 22 recipients are outstanding ambassadors and espouse the Olympic ideals of fair play and sportsmanship,’ remarked John Coates, president of the Australian Olympic Committee. He continued: ‘Kim Brennan’s dedication and determination has paid off with three Olympic medals and she thoroughly deserves this accolade. Off the water she has also made an enormous contribution as a leader of our Athletes’ Commission and as a member of the AOC Executive.’
Of the 22 honoured athletes, 17 are women.
And hooray for Jenny Williams, a masters rower from Mercantile Rowing Club in Melbourne, who was made a Member of the Order of Australia (just not for rowing).