The Australia Day Honours list has been released with 1,040 Australians recognised for their achievements and services to the community.
Among the recipients was tennis star Dylan Alcott, who just hours earlier was named 2022 Australian of the Year.
“I love my disability. It is the best thing that ever happened to me. It really is, and I’m so thankful for the life that I get to live,” the 15-time Grand Slam winner said in his acceptance speech.
“But I know for the 4.5 million people in this country, one in five people that have a physical or non-physical disability, they don’t feel the same way that I do and it’s not their fault.
“But it’s up to all of us to do things so they can get out and be proud of their disability as well and be the people that they want to be,” he continued.
Wow. I’m forever grateful. My purpose today and everyday is to change perceptions so people with disability can live the lives they deserve to live. I’ll do my best to make you all proud as your Australian of the Year xx pic.twitter.com/KWmMPvpSsh
— Dylan Alcott (@DylanAlcott) January 25, 2022
Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic gold medallist were also among the Order of Australian Medal recipients including Paige Greco, who won the first gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics after winning the women’s 3,000m individual pursuit, and paddling sensation Jessica Fox, who won gold in the C1 class.
Paralympics Australia Chief Executive Catherine Clark said the awards were richly deserved.
“It’s fantastic for their triumphs to be recognised as part of the Australia Day Honours list,” she said.
“These Paralympians have each demonstrated incredible determination and represent the power of diversity and inclusion. Australians have been inspired by their exceptional performances on the world stage, but these awards also recognise the years of dedication and sacrifice behind each success.
“They are tremendous ambassadors for Para-sport and our nation and I’m incredibly proud of their extraordinary achievements.”
Swimmer Emma McKeon and basketball’s Patty Mills received the highest accolades, each awarded Member of the Order of Australia (AM).
McKeon became the most successful athlete in Australian Olympic history with a career total of 11 Olympic medals after picking up four gold and three bronze medals in Japan’s capital.
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Mills was Australia’s first Indigenous Flag Bearer before leading the Boomers to their first Olympic medal – bronze. Off the court, the NBA star is a fierce advocate for Indigenous youth, establishing and supporting charities to provide pathways for young athletes.
Matildas captain Sam Kerr was also awarded an OAM for services to football, as well as Barcelona 1992 Olympian Linley Frame for her contribution to swimming.
“This is such a great honour. To be recognised alongside so many great Australians is very humbling, especially for doing what you love,” Kerr told Football Australia.
Sport Inclusion Australia CEO Robyn Smith, who is also an International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Governing Board Member, was recognised with an OAM for her service to people with disabilities through Para sports.
Congratulations to all the volunteers in sports across Australia who were also recognised on the Honours List.
Check out the full Honours list here