Presented by International Day of People with Disability
For outstanding achievements by a female para-athlete in sport and beyond sporting performances.*
*Nominee will also be considered for Female Athlete of the Year.
Australian Paralympic Cyclist Emily Petricola claimed three gold medals at the 2022 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in France including the Women’s Pursuit C4, Women’s Scratch Race C4 and Women’s Omnium C4.
Petricola also won silver in the Women’s Time Trial C4 at the 2022 UCI para-cycling Road World Championships in Canada.
As a senior member of the team, Petricola leads by example through supporting her teammates and opponents.
She’s also a member of the AUSCycling Athlete Commission and is passionate about educating others about her experiences and learnings with multiple sclerosis.
Off the track Petricola is a school teacher and a strong advocate for creating opportunities for women.
Jessica Gallagher is an Australian Paralympic alpine skier, track and field athlete, tandem cyclist and rower.
Gallagher was the first Australian to medal at a Summer and Winter Paralympics or Olympics and the first Australian woman to medal at a Winter Paralympics.
In 2022 Jessica represented Australia in cycling and rowing. Over 87 days she won 2 gold medals, breaking 2 Oceania records at the Commonwealth Games in Cycling, Jessica and pilot Caitlin were seven one hundredths off the flying 200m World Record. Then alongside her crewmates Jessica finished 4th in the PR3 mixed coxed four at the World Rowing Championships before winning 2 silver medals at the World Para-Cycling Track Championships. There was only 3.5 weeks between her racing at these two events.
Outside of sport Gallagher is a successful motivational speaker, osteopath and Board of Director for Vision 2020 Australia as well as an ambassador for Vision Australia.
Paralympic swimmer Katja Dedekind has achieved some huge wins over the past 12 months.
The Dolphin leader made history when she set a new Oceania record in the Women's 400m Freestyle S13 Final at the World Para Swimming Championships in Portugal.
Weeks later Dedekind set a world record winning the women’s 50m freestyle S13 gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.
Dedekind clocked 26.56 seconds, bettering the previous world benchmark of 26.67 set by Italian Carlotta Gilli in 2018.
The dual Paralympian always conducts herself with professionalism and the highest of integrity. She’s become a mentor to other athletes and those with vision impairments.
Table Tennis Australia
Para Table Tennis champion Qian Yang continued to shine in 2022 after winning gold at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
Yang won the women’s singles (Class 6-10) match at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Yang started playing table tennis at the age of 5 and by 17 was a Paralympic gold medallist for China. Following Rio Yang moved to Australia and has worked hard to learn English and embed herself in the Australian sporting culture.
Presented by International Day of People with Disability
For outstanding achievements by a male para-athlete in sport and beyond sporting performances.*
*Nominee will also be considered for Male Athlete of the Year.
Paralympic snowboarder Ben Tudhope has had another stellar season claiming a fourth-straight World Cup gold medal and Crystal Globe at the Big White 2022 World Cup in Canada.
The back-to-back gold medal wins at the event followed his two gold medals at the Klövsjö World Cups in Sweden and silver at January’s Para Snow Sports World Championships in Norway.
Tudhope is the youngest athlete to compete in three Paralympic Games and in the most recent Games claimed a bronze medal finish in Beijing.
Despite being the youngest member of the 2022 Winter Paralympic Team, Tudhope is a natural leader and was voted co-captain by his peers and Paralympic Australia.
His level of professionalism and competitiveness has even increased the standard of training for able bodied athletes after training with the Snowboard Cross Program athletes.
Tudhope is an advocate for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance and is passionate about creating opportunities in winter sports for people with a disability.
Para-swimming star Col Pearse made history at the Commonwealth Games winning the men’s 100-metre butterfly S10 final with a time of 59.61 seconds.
Pearse also brought home two silvers at the 2022 World Para Swimming Championships in Portugal.
After being inspired at the age of 9 by Ellie Cole to become a Paralympic medallist, he’s dedicated to attending community ‘come and try’ days and delivering school talks or activations to inspire the next generation.
Pearse has also spent time promoting inclusion in regional areas through Swimming Victoria.
Wheelchair Rugby/Paralympics Australia
The Australian Wheelchair Rugby Team won the Wheelchair Rugby World Championships in Denmark earlier this year where Ryley Batt put on an outstanding performance and was named Most Valuable Player.
Batt was also the highest try scorer at the event among 12 national teams.
Batt demonstrates a high level of sportsmanship and respect towards his teammates and opponents.
He’s highly regarded by his peers, providing encouragement and assistance to athletes from across the globe.
He has been a role model to many athletes who began participating in the sport after seeing Ryley compete at the Paralympics.
Para-swimmer Tim Hodge broke the long-standing 200-metre individual medley world record at the World Para Swimming Championships in Portugal.
Hodge touched for gold in 2.13.43 beating Australian Paralympic legend Matthew Cowdrey who’d held the record for 14 years.
He also won gold in the men’s 100-metre backstroke S9 at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Hodge has become a treasured part of the Australian Dolphins team as his teammates admire his maturity and humility.
Outside the pool Hodge is studying electrical engineering at university and in 2021 was awarded the Sport NSW Young Athlete of the Year with a Disability.
Presented by A.H. Beard
For outstanding performance(s) by a team at major international sporting event(s).
Australian Steelers Wheelchair Rugby Team
Australian Steelers Wheelchair Rugby Team/Paralympics Australia
The Australian Steelers Wheelchair Rugby team pulled off a miraculous return to dominance with a new cultural blueprint and numerous tactical changes.
This has been made spearheaded via the electric combination of expert leadership from coach Brad Dubberley, new captain Chris Bond, and superstar player Ryley Batt, along with the introduction of a record three female players to the squad.
Ushering in this new era for Australian wheelchair rugby was a stirring win by the Steelers, defeating arch-rival the United States in the final to claim a seemingly impossible World Championship and regain their place as the world's leading wheelchair rugby team.
The impact of the team’s cultural overhaul was felt both on and off the court and is recognised as a major contributing factor to their success.
Australian Women’s Cricket Team
The Australian Women’s Cricket Team extended their reign atop the cricket world going undefeated in the ICC Women’s World Cup, claiming a seventh title - the most by any women’s team.
The squad also retained the coveted Women’s Ashes trophy and won the inaugural Women’s T20 Cricket Gold Medal at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
This historic win saw Australia become the first women’s team to claim the ‘trifecta’, as holders of both the ODI and T20 World Cups and Commonwealth Games gold.
Australia now holds every major trophy on offer in the women’s game.
Through this success the team has remained the model of fair play, with the team’s comradery and relationship with opponents recognised throughout the cricket and sporting communities.
Of their 16 matches, the Hockeyroos have won 14 which saw them claim the Trans-Tasman Series against New Zealand in Auckland, a bronze at the Women’s World Cup in Spain, and almost fortnight later a silver at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Following a string of retirements by experienced and long-serving players, the revitalised team have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to their role and have represented their country with distinction.
The team’s ‘never say die’ approach was highlighted in their comeback win for bronze at the World Cup and in their gold medal match effort at the Commonwealth Games.
Women's Rugby 7s
The Australian Women’s Rugby 7s team have had a record-breaking year and are the first team to claim the Triple Crown, comprised of the Rugby World Cup, Commonwealth Games and World Rugby Seven Series.
The team managed to achieve this within the space of 9 months, winning 39 of 43 games played. The team reignited their game model post Tokyo by focusing on enhancing individual and team skills, increasing speed to be the fastest collective team in addition to achieving recognition as the most tactical team in the sport today.
The team’s mantra to include, inspire and innovate has left a lasting impression.
At the World Cup the team presented their alternative playing jersey to their first-round opponents of Madagascar, who had faced significant challenges.
This gesture of sportsmanship was shared around the world in celebration of the respect and integrity shown by the team.
Presented by Bendelta
For outstanding performance(s) by a by a Sport Program.
The Australian Athletics team consolidated its place as one of the leading athletics nations, placing 6th on the medal table at the World Championships in Eugene; the highest placing ever on the medal table and only the third time inside the top-10. At the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, Australia led the medal tally, defeating England on home soil and bringing home 10 golds in a 24-medal haul. At the 2022 World Athletics Under-20 Championships, Australia finished 7th on the medal table, making it the best result since 2004. Two members of the Under-20 team won medals and 13 athletes delivered a personal best performance.
A State Performance Advisor was embedded within each state and the network of Performance Support Discipline Leads have ensured that the athletics program is nationally cohesive and moving in the same direction. The data-driven athlete categorisation processes that have been embedded have significantly improved the system as a whole and includes wellbeing support to all de-categorised athletes.
Australian Athletics team members exhibit outstanding community engagement and the re-established Athletes’ Advisory Committee supports wider engagement with the athletic community and seeks to influence positive change within the wider organisation.
Athletics Australia have worked closely with sporting partners to ensure there is system-leading data analysis capability, resulting in a ‘What It Takes To Win’ profile for each individual event. Alongside this, Athletics Australia have developed a leading high performance coach development program.
There is an active focus on research and innovation through a variety of projects, and Athletics Australia are involved in 50% of the recent projects funded by the AIS as part of their National High Performance Sport Research Agenda.
Olympic Winter Institute of Australia
Olympic Winter Institute of Australia
The Olympic Winter Institute of Australia (OWIA) has seen the delivery of Australia’s most successful Olympic Campaign, which included the biggest ever medal haul and most top five and ten performances. The Games brought with it a flurry of ‘firsts’; Jakara Anthony becoming the first athlete to be coached to a Winter Olympic gold by Australian coaches, Anthony also becoming Australia’s first female Mogul Skier to win gold. Jaclyn Narracott achieved the first Sliding Sports medal, Tess Coady took home the first Slopestyle Olympic medal and it was the first time Australia qualified a team in Curling.
The performances achieved in Beijing 2022 were the result of collaborative and innovative problem-solving efforts to maintain training opportunities for athletes in their final months of preparation leading into Beijing during the height of COVID-19 restrictions in Australia. This included 14 day “Heat Acclimation Camps” at the NTIS in Darwin, private training within closed ski resorts and the establishment of a national Winter Sports Travel Coordination Group. Maintaining access to essential training and qualification events was enabled by the development of a COVID-19 Risk Assessment process to facilitate safe international travel of over 100+ athletes and staff across 26 separate groups.
OWIA partnered with the AOC to deliver a performance-focused Beijing Olympic Team assisted by findings from the Tokyo Performance Intelligence Project. Over 30 staff from the Winter Sport Program were appointed to the Beijing 2022 Olympic Team, ensuring the continuity of the implementation of this data-driven approach to making performance choices that have the most impact in the lead up and during the Games.
Winter sport athletes demonstrated their core values of resilience, perseverance and determination, and promoted what it means to them to have Indigenous artwork incorporated into their uniform. There has been strong athlete uptake in programs such as Olympics Unleashed, that give back to grassroots and the community.
The Australian Dolphins
It has been a year of excellent performances and growth in the Australian Dolphins High Performance environment, across both the Olympic and Paralympic programs. Every eligible athlete was able to win a medal at the Para World Championships, while the cumulative results for our Open Water team at the FINA World Championships was of a very high standard. Birmingham 2022 was the most successful overseas Commonwealth Gamesa campaign with a record 65 medals, including 25 gold. There were also six world records broken across trials and the three international meets.
This year’s campaign delivery model featured a performance by design focus that champions collaboration. A key component of this change was the implementation of a hub model in the daily performance environment, shifting the relationship and engagement with our NIN partners from coordination to collaboration.
There have been advancements made on athlete-first focus, with increased internal wellbeing and engagement resources and a shift in the performance support model. A concerted effort has also been made to embed athlete driven leadership, inclusive of both the Olympic and Paralympic cohort.
The Dolphins have carried themselves with integrity, humility, and pride. This year Sydney hosted Duel in the Pool where athletes actively engage with the 8,000+ fans that attended and also helped showcase Australia’s Indigenous culture to the visiting American team.
Swimming Australia has created a performance insights unit with the vision to empower interactions by providing an ecosystem for insights through data and technology to elevate coaching and performance. The ANZSTA award in the category of Sports Performance and Coaching was awarded to SPARTA2.0 race analysis software, a world leading performance analysis tool developed with a strong partnership between Swimming Australia, the AIS and La Trobe University.
The Australian Steelers Wheelchair Rugby team pulled off a miraculous return to dominance with a new cultural blueprint, numerous tactical changes, and a combination of expert leadership from coach Brad Dubberley, new captain Chris Bond, and superstar player Ryley Batt, along with the introduction of a record three female players to the squad. The outcome was a stirring win by the Steelers, defeating arch-rival the United States in the final to claim a seemingly impossible World Championship and regain their place as the world's leading wheelchair rugby team. The team’s cultural overhaul was demonstrated on and off the court and is recognised as a major contributing factor to their success.
The Paralympics Australia Wheelchair Rugby high performance program has grown significantly in depth and scope, underpinning results at the highest level. The recent additions of a National High Performance Director, a Strength and Conditioning Coach and a High Performance Operations Manager have lifted the game on and off the court and built the foundations for future development and grown opportunities across the board.
This year saw the implementation of an Australian-first national development squad, which had its first-ever tour to New Zealand. Among the many positive outcomes this has enhanced the prospect of Para-athletes from other sports trying out wheelchair rugby, with some already having gone on to represent Australia.
The Steelers are a highly popular member of the Australian Paralympic family and all players have contributed to a significant output of media work and community engagement such as Paralympics Australia Come, Try Day events and Paralympics Australia's Paralympic Education Program.
Coach Brad Dubberley has contributed to building a depth of knowledge which the Paralympics Australia's Innovation Team has applied to world-leading playing chair design and performance. Further, Dubberley has been heavily involved in the Innovation Team's coach development initiatives, employing concepts such as universal design and communities of practice to share and build expertise across sports.
Presented by Volunteering Australia
For outstanding contribution to a sporting organisation, club, team, or program over the past year for the good of their organisation, sport, and community, and without financial gain.
Nicole Williams is regarded as being incredibly passionate about Adelaide’s Brighton Cricket Club and willing to go above and beyond in her role to see growth in the game.
Despite having little knowledge of cricket when her son signed up four years ago, Williams has helped Brighton CC achieve record number of junior participants, led the introduction of the club’s first girls team, plays a key role in fundraising and securing grants and has been instrumental in building a ‘one club’ culture across the club, removing the divide between seniors and juniors.
Earlier this year, Williams was recognised as the 2022 National Community Cricket Toyota Volunteer of the Year.
Amanda Bowman’s dedication to the Crystal Brook Golf Club has seen membership numbers more than double from 40 to over 100 in just 12 months, a significant feat for a rural club located 200km north of Adelaide.
Bowman wears many hats as junior coordinator, events coordinator, grant writer and community instructor and has turned a club that was looking at closing nine of its 18 holes on the eve of its 100-year anniversary into a thriving community asset.
Bowman introduced an official junior program – the first in over 25 years, initiated Women’s Social Ambrose events and has organised various fundraising initiatives. Recognising a need for additional accredited coaches (having only one at the club), she worked with Golf Australia to organise a community instructor training day to upskill a further 10 club members with coaching accreditation.
Her contribution to the club saw her named 2022 Volunteer of the Year (Country) for Golf South Australia.
Surf Life Saving Australia
Tea-Rose Passon has many roles at Port Melbourne Life Saving Club including patrol director, communications manager, youth development officer, board member and schools program coordinator.
In addition to logging over 300 patrol and water safety hours last season – the most in the state, Passon implemented the club’s first Pink Patrol, promoted the Save Like a Girl Life Saving Victoria initiative, and helped deliver the Albert Park College Year 7 Leadership and Water Safety Program to 150 students to improve their water safety skills.
Passon was named the DHL Volunteer of the Year at last year’s Surf Life Saving Australia National Awards in recognition of her outstanding commitment to lifesaving.
Special Olympics Australia
Theodora Niakolas advocates tirelessly to increase the profile of the Melbourne Eastern Ranges Club and ensure that intellectually disabled athletes can participate in a safe and structured sports training and competition program.
As Sports Coordinator, Niakolas has facilitated the recruitment of three new coaching volunteers to the club’s basketball team, advocated for access to swimming facilities at Knox Leisureworks and negotiated a collaboration with Ferntree Gully Tennis for athletes to participate in an all-abilities tennis program.
She was Sports Manager for Team Victoria at the 2022 Special Olympics Australia National Games which saw 211 athletes compete in nine sports, and also mentors athlete leaders as part of Special Olympics Victoria’s Athlete Leadership Program.
Presented by Commonwealth Games Australia
For an outstanding sporting achievement by an emerging athlete, or in special circumstances as part of a team.*
*Unable to be nominated if nominated in previous years.
Donnell Wallam is a proud Noongar woman, the second Indigenous Suncorp Super Netball player and just the third Indigenous woman to play netball for Australia.
Wallam’s commitment to using her status as a professional athlete to advocate for her community and culture has been brought to the public’s attention many times.
Wallam has approached issues with patience and dignity, earning the respect of her international teammates and the Australian sporting public.
In her inaugural international test match she displayed great courage and maturity to deliver a remarkable performance.
After making her international debut at the Tokyo Olympics, Maddison Levi excelled throughout this season, contributing to the team’s championship success in all three major competitions; the Rugby World Cup, Commonwealth Games and HSBC Women's World Series.
Levi scored a hat-trick in the World Cup final and again in the semi-final of the Commonwealth Games against New Zealand.
She was named in the 2022 Dream Team, crowned Rookie of the Year, and was nominated for the World Rugby Women’s 7s Player of the Year.
Levi is a role model for young girls and demonstrates this both on and off the field.
Nina Kennedy has had a breakthrough year with consistent podium finishes at pinnacle events in the Women’s Pole Vault, proving that she is a dominant world stage contender.
This season Kennedy took home the bronze at the World Championship in Eugene and a gold two weeks later at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Her international tour then finished with a win at the Diamond League Final in Zurich.
It is testament to Kennedy’s resilience and skill that she is now ranked number two in the world. Nina is a role model within Athletics and always takes the time to inspire younger athletes.
Olympic Winter Institute of Australia
At sixteen, Valentino Guseli was the youngest member of Australian Olympic Winter Team in Beijing.
In his first Olympics, Guseli qualified for the Snowboard Halfpipe final and finished a close sixth in what is now considered the highest standard Snowboard Halfpipe competition of all time.
In his first full open age competition season, he competed in three different World Cup events, making him the only person to qualify in three different disciplines at this level.
Valentino is highly regarded, always displaying sportsmanship, a positive attitude, and a level of maturity far beyond his years.
He has participated in various local development initiatives including Snow Australia’s FUTURES program.
The inaugural Win Well award recognises the organisation or high performance program that embodies the vision of Australia’s 2032+ High Performance Sport Strategy: Inspiring Australians through our united pursuit to win well.
Win Well acknowledges the importance of success and rewarding high performance and highlights wellbeing as the foundation of sustainable success.
By prioritising and focusing on the physical, mental, emotional, and cultural wellbeing of our athletes, coaches, staff, and sport as a whole, we will unlock our full potential and WIN WELL.
Win Well will allow athletes, sports and organisations to define their measure of success.
The holistic wellbeing and support of people is a key pillar of Athletic Australia’s High Performance Strategy.
The Wellbeing program at Athletics Australia has had a significant impact on the organisation and lead significant change with activations such as the Pregnancy policy (and support for pregnant athletes and athletes returning to sport), wellbeing support throughout the athlete categorisation process and athlete and coach wellbeing.
During the athlete categorisation process, the wellbeing of athletes is paramount to the program and there is an integrated approach to athletes needs which includes NIN support.
Acute support is provided when needed and the strength of the CMO, Psychology and wellbeing support enables effective and timely support to athletes.
Athlete wellbeing is regularly discussed as part of Athletic Australia’s Board and Senior Leadership team meetings, which enables a whole organisation awareness of the importance of wellbeing.
Creating a ‘home away from home’ has been a key initiative to allow Australian golfers to achieve their full potential while travelling internationally.
Over the past four years, Golf Australia has had an Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement (AW&E) Manager permanently based at Australian Golf House in Orlando, Florida, allowing for fulltime support to athletes.
With more than 60 athletes based at Australian Golf House every year, the AW&E Manager is able to monitor wellbeing and create an environment where athletes are able to thrive personally and professionally.
Olympic Winter Institute of Australia
Like its Summer counterpart a year earlier, the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games presented unique challenges due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
In order to prevent these challenges negatively impacting performances, the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia (OWIA) went into the event with a number of initiatives to bring the team together, including home cooked meals by team support staff, lounge areas designed to create comfortable spaces for community interaction amongst team members, and personalised transportation arrangements between the village and venue to minimise exposure to the extreme weather conditions.
The approach was a huge success, with the fortnight not only resulting in a record four medals - one gold, two silver and one bronze – but also universal feedback that the athletes felt cared for and were able to do their best.
Victorian Institute of Australia
‘Success in sport and in life’ has been the motto of the Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS) since the organisation was established in 1990. With 94% of the current athlete cohort balancing sport with study or work, VIS has set up the Performance Lifestyle Team to help manage the study, career, and personal pursuits of athletes outside of sport.
The team works directly with athletes on mental health and wellbeing support, engagement in community/study/work opportunities, time management of workload/training load, development of a sense of self, and understanding how to best promote themselves in the ever changing social landscape.
The culture at VIS is often described by athletes as 'the VIS family'. All staff are committed to an athlete-centred approach and to ensuring the athlete voice is heard on a range of processes from organisation-wide projects.
Presented by Catapult
For outstanding achievements by an athlete(s) or team directly coached by the nominee.
Alex Stewart's mentorship of his elite athletes has been highlighted by the success of Eleanor Patterson which included a magnificent victory in the women’s high jump at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, as well as silver medals at the World Indoor Championships and the Commonwealth Games.
Stewart's calm and methodical approach to coaching came to the fore when Patterson needed three attempts at 1.98m to stay in the hunt at the World Championships.
Stewart’s leading male charge, Brandon Starc, also overcame a year of injury to take a silver medal in Birmingham and a World Athletics Continental Tour Meet victory in Madrid.
Stewart is held in high regard by his international peers for his knowledge and integrity both on and off the field.
He is a significant contributor to coach education and the mentoring of others and is an active promoter of the AA-HP 2032 Lead Coach cohort.
Wheelchair Rugby/Paralympics Australia
Brad Dubberley masterminded an incredible revival of the Steelers, instigating tactical, positional and cultural changes in the squad to lead them to an exceptional win at the Wheelchair Rugby World Championships, resulting in the greatest victory of Dubberley's 16-year coaching career.
He has done enormous work championing the growth of female participation in the sport, resulting in a new benchmark of representation within the Steelers. Dubberley took former Steeler Jason Lees under his wing after Lees started as Paralympics Australia's Wheelchair Rugby Development Coach; Lees' rapid growth in the role has stemmed from Dubberley's generous tutelage, setting him up for transition eventually to Head Coach.
Dubberley has also contributed towards building the playing and coaching depth of the sport more broadly as part of the high performance program and he has also contributed to cutting-edge wheelchair design.
Peter McNiel and Kate Blamey
Olympic Winter Institute of Australia
Kate Blamey and Peter McNiel coached and mentored Mogul Skier Jakara Anthony to an incredible season where she won the Mogul Skiing in Beijing, making them the first Australian system coaches to coach an Australian athlete to a Winter Olympic Gold.
Anthony has had the most successful season ever by an Australian winter sports athlete, including 12 podium results from 13 starts.
Blamey and McNiel’s coaching also produced top-10 World Cup results for Britt Cox, Cooper Woods, Brodie Summers, and Matt Graham. McNiel and Blamey’s’ ethos in leading a team of athletes with respect and integrity was evident in the way their athletes came together during the Olympic Games. Both coaches have been instrumental in the mentoring of 2032 coaching generation scholarship recipients Ethan Topalovic and Nicole Parkes.
The pair’s introduction of advanced yoga practice to their athlete’s training regime in order to increase hip mobility has proven so successful that it has been integrated into the Australian mogul skiing curriculum as a key component.
Tim Walsh returned to coach the Women’s Rugby 7s team this year and delivered record breaking success, with the team winning all three major competitions and claiming the Triple Crown, a feat never before achieved in the sport.
The growth and emergence of young talent during this period has been remarkable, with four players being named in the 7s Dream Team.
The Women’s 7s team continues to develop and evolve off the field, an area in which Tim has led by example.
Walsh has dedicated large quantities of time to developing professional coaches; he is the official mentor to Emilee Barton who is participating as the AIS National Generation Coach 2032 program and he has spent time alongside the national XVS coaches and athletes within the Wallabies and Wallaroos.
Presented by Grill’d
For outstanding effort in community engagement by an athlete.
Australian cyclist Caitlin Ward has gone above and beyond to help the community when she is not racing her bike.
Ward assisted Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA) with creating and driving education initiatives ahead of the Birmingham Games, by attending a Victorian primary school for the launch of the program where she ensured to visit every classroom so each child had the opportunity to meet an athlete. Here she created a beautiful connection with a student with learning difficulties which gave him a whole new level of confidence.
During the 2022 Games, Ward featured on the CGA’s Birmingham Breakfast show in the early hours of the morning after a long day competing where she was engaged with Aussie school kids on home soil.
Always looking for ways to help, Ward created a second-hand clothing charity, with funds donated to a range of areas including animal rescue organisations in addition to providing financial assistance to junior cycling coaches.
She has also volunteered for South Australian Animal Rescue since 2017, where she coordinates cat and rabbit adoptions, fundraisers, new volunteers, donations, the op shop, social media and has fostered 77 animals (so far) that have found their new homes.
Carol Cooke AM PLY is a three-time gold medal Paralympian and 9-time World Champion in para-cycling whose contribution to society goes far beyond her sporting performances.
As an international keynote speaker she is an advocate for equal opportunities and an expert in overcoming adversity and change. Cook has been involved in the VIS School Speaker Programs for many years and often visits Victorian schools to share her story and lessons around healthy living and wellbeing.
Cooke has been involved in the VIS School Speaker Programs for many years and often visits Victorian schools to share her story and lessons around healthy living and wellbeing.
In 2001 Cooke was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and since then has helped raise more than $11 million through the 24-hour Mega Swim Event.
Cooke has sat on the Paralympics Australia Athlete Commission since 2017 and has received a long list of awards over the years including a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2014 for services to sport and philanthropic work.
Olympic hurdler Kyle Vander-Kuyp has been a positive influence and change-agent in community development through advancing reconciliation and empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Kyle is a volunteer ambassador for the Australian Olympic Committee’s (AOC) Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) and a volunteer member of the AOC’s Indigenous Advisory Committee.
As a volunteer of the Tokyo 2020 Athlete Support Services Kyle helped drive the installation of an Indigenous map in the Australian allotment of the Olympic Village where athletes could have a yarn with Kyle about the many First Nations language groups.
Kyle also dedicated time to support the AOC during NAIDOC Week 2022 with a special visit to the Torres Strait where shared his journey with youth.
He’s also the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Killara Foundation which assists Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people with finding sustainable employment through providing them with guidance, cultural understanding and housing while they work.
Olympic racewalker Rhydian has made an outstanding effort in community engagement over the past 12 months.
He is an active ambassador for several organisations including Sport Environment Alliance, High Impact Athletes, Eco Athletes and Raise the Bar for Athletics Australia.
Cowley regularly promotes days such as Clean Up Australia and is a former AIS Share a Yarn ambassador.
He also regularly engages with the World Athletes Sustainability team to help make a difference within the Australian team and national events.
Rhydian actively supports inclusion and diversity on his social media as well as participates in the RAP advisory group for the VIS.
Presented by Women’s Health Australia
For outstanding demonstration of leadership by an established or emerging individual working within the National Institute Network, a national sporting organisation, or with the Australian Olympic Committee, Paralympics Australia and Commonwealth Games Australia.
Andrew Faichney is the General Manager of High Performance and is responsible for leading the Athletics Australia High Performance program.
During his three years in the role, Andrew has worked to overcome significant hurdles the sport has faced due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, while at the same time playing a key part in preparing the team for key events, including the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
Key focus areas include the Performance Coaching Program and the establishment of State Performance Advisors in each state to move from a centralised support of NASS athletes to a three stream model - Medal Stream, Pathway Stream and Representative Stream – in collaboration with the National Institute Network.
As the Chief Executive Officer of Australian Sailing, Ben Houston’s focus is on Strategic Leadership, Results Leadership and Personal leadership, allowing his team to adapt to changing conditions, to allow space for creative and strategic thinking and to help navigate change and inspire others.
In order to deal with challenges faced by the COVID-19 pandemic, Australian Sailing developed a suite of policies to allow sailors to comply with the State Government Health Orders, including the development of the COVID-19Hub to provide ‘real time’ information to assist sailors to train and race, and policies to provide a safe environment for international travel and competition.
Ben was also mindful of the impact that COVID-19 had on Australian Sailing staff, with one of the initiatives being ‘Wellbeing Wednesdays’, which allowed staff time off to spend time on themselves and their passions.
Ben took this experience dealing with COVID-19 into his role on the Commonwealth Games Australia Board, approving a series of COVID-19 related policies to mitigate the controllable risks to ensure the best environment possible for the Australian Team competing in Birmingham.
Jamie Fernandez is currently the Deputy Performance Director for Rowing Australia where he oversees the performance pathway and supports the delivery of the RA high performance program.
Jaime was a key architect in the design and implementation of Rowing Australia’s (RA’s) Campaign Number One strategy, which saw the identification and formation of two National Training Centres and the development of customised state-based Pathway Programs.
As part of this process, Jaime established Tri-party Agreements with NIN and SSO partners in all seven rowing states and the ACT.
Jamie has developed and introduced a number of innovative national and international projects and programs to progress engagement and outcomes throughout the network, such as the Interstate Schools Pathway Eight, the US-based Pathway Program (including resources to support athletes and families in their consideration of the US College experience), Trans-Tasman Regatta Series for Under 21 athletes, Olympic Team alumni engagement and Extended Drive Education resources.
These initiatives underpin RA’s strategic priorities and ensure ongoing, sustainable development of the national high-performance system.
Commonwealth Games Australia
As Chef de Mission of the Australian 2022 Commonwealth Games Team, Petria Thomas was responsible for the second largest team on record, with some 430 athletes and 270 team officials from 20 sports flying the green and gold in Birmingham, UK.
To help enable success, Petria oversaw the creation a Team Performance Strategy 2019-2022. Success under this Strategy was defined from a performance perspective, as ‘MORE medals in MORE sports by MORE medallists’, while simultaneously achieving a ‘LIFE-BEST experience’ for all team members.
While the challenges of the COVID-19 Pandemic added to this task, Australia ended the Games leading the medal tally with 178 medals – 67 gold, 57 silver and 54 bronze medals – while feedback from the post-Games survey indicated an overall positive games experience.
Presented by Nestle Good Village School Program
For outstanding achievements by a male athlete in sport and beyond sporting performances.
Australian golfer Cam Smith has had an incredible 2022 campaign.
Smith won the 150th Open Championship with a magnificent score of 20 under-par at in St Andrews in Scotland.
He also won the PGA Tour in the USA and his maiden LIV Golf title in Chicago.
Smith formed part of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics team and despite a superb performance was one point off winning a medal.
On and off the course Smith demonstrates true sportsmanship and respect for the game and his competitors.
He celebrates other’s victories and dedicates his own wins to his hardworking team. Smith has become of the greatest role models and mentors within Australian Golf with his humble attitude and iconic mullet.
He started up the ‘Cam Smith Scholarship’ which funds two junior QLD athletes each year to travel to his home in Florida to have 1-1 practice and attend a professional event with him.
Australian skater Kieran Woolley has had a breakthrough year while living in the USA.
Woolley became the first Australian to win gold in Park Skateboarding at the Summer X Games USA.
He also claimed first prize at the 2022 Rune Glifberg Invitational Bowl Jam in Copenhagen.
Over the last 12 months Woolley has won the 2022 Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship and the 2022 New Gen Skater of the Year.
In the skating community he’s highly regarded as a friendly, respectful skater who always provides hospitality to visiting Australian skaters.
He’s also become a mentor to emerging skater Phoenix Sinnerton and helps him prepare for major tournaments.
Furthermore Woolley has used his profile to help those less fortunate and often donates equipment while visiting developing countries.
On top of all of that he’s an athlete ambassador for the AIS Mental Fitness Program which teaches young people about the importance of keeping mentally fit.
Olympic Winter Institute of Australia
Scott James claimed silver in Snowboard Halfpipe at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics following a faultless performance.
Prior to this James won the X-Games gold medal in Aspen, Colorado winning the men’s snowboard superpipe.
James continues to demonstrate true sportsmanship and respect, always congratulating his fellow competitors.
He’s always willing to help Australia’s next generation and has supported the development of Australian snowboard stars including Tess Coady and Valentino Guseli.
James is seen as a great leader in the wider snowboarding community and has been described as the 'most popular Australian sports star in America'.
Australian swimmer Zac Stubblety-Cook continued to shine following his gold medal performance at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games where he won gold and claimed an Olympic record in the men’s 200-metres breaststroke.
Zac also won gold at the FINA World Swimming Championships in Budapest and the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Zac holds himself and others to the highest standard and continues to show fairness, respect and diligence in and out the pool. He’s become a role model both within Australia and internationally and is a leader within the Australian Dolphins and sits on the QAS Athlete Advisory Board.
Presented by Suncorp Team Girls
For outstanding achievements by a female athlete in sport and beyond sporting performances.
Australian cricketer Alyssa Healy is renowned for delivering a strong performance when it matters most. Earlier this year the Sydney-born wicketkeeper was named 'Player of the Tournament' by the ICC following her team's 71-run over England in the Women's World Cup final.
Healy added her name to the prestigious rollcall of previous winners, joining former Australia captain Karen Rolton (2005) and several international stars.
Healy demonstrates true leadership on and off the field and was recently appointed as Vice-Captain of the Australian Women’s Team.
She also sits on the Australian Cricket Association’s Board of Directors and supports several not-for-profits including the McGrath Foundation, Chappell Foundation and Cricket for Climate.
She’s passionate about advocating for equality and during her downtime makes time for her fans and keeps connected to cricketers around the world.
Australian Rugby Sevens star Charlotte Caslick played a major role in helping the team get back on top following a disappointing result at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Charlotte led from the front which saw the team go onto win the 2022 Rugby 7s World Cup, Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and the 2022 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
Caslick’s exceptional on-field performance led to her being named as World Rugby’s Sevens player-of-the-year for the third time.
Caslick is often recognised for her integrity and sportsmanship during the game as she shows respect towards the referees, staff and opposition.
This shone through when Caslick was among a group of athletes to organise a special welcome and jersey presentation for the Madagascar team after their struggle to make it to the Rugby World Cup in Cape Town.
Post tournament Caslick once again teamed up with Child Fund to run introductory training sessions with children and young people in South Africa.
Back in Australia Caslick has continued to inspire a new generation of young females to play Rugby 7s with fans eager to interact with her wherever she competes and wearing her trademark braids and ribbons.
Jakara Anthony OAM
Olympic Winter Institute of Australia
Australian mogul skier Jakara Anthony OAM has achieved some historic wins these past 12 months.
At the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Anthony put in a commanding performance, winning every round of the competition to become Australia's sixth ever winter gold medallist.
Anthony then finished the season with a double podium weekend at the final event of the season in France, securing her first overall World Cup Crystal Globe as the world number one ranked mogul skier.
Anthony also secured the dual mogul Crystal Globe as the number one dual mogul skier.
Following this victory Anthony was fittingly crowned athlete of the year at the 2022 Snow Australia Awards, Female Athlete of the Year at the 2022 NSWIS Sport Awards and awarded an Order of Australia Medal.
She’s also a role model for aspiring athletes and puts her hand up to help at several athlete initiatives including talent ID camps, Snow Australia inter-schools’ championship and FUTURES programs.
Jakara was also an athlete ambassador for the 2022 Big Freeze 8 FightMND campaign which raised $19.8 million for motor neurone disease research.
Marathon runner Jessica Stenson won gold at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham with a blistering run.
The 34-year-old lined up in the green and gold for the first time as a mum and crossed the finish line with a time of 2:27:31.
During this time she was named Captain of the Australian Athletics team after being recognised as one of the hardest working and fair athletes.
She has formed a special bond with each member and coach who she credits play a huge role in her success. Off the track Stenson coaches young athletes and delivers talks in schools and at Little Athletics events.
She’s co-founder of Rundies which make eco-friendly underwear – in particular for runners and is an ambassador for the Little Heroes Foundation, Running SA, Raising Literacy Australia and the Jodie Lee Foundation.
Looking forward Stenson is excited to support the AIS Female Performance Health Initiative with delivering talks to the next generation of women athletes, drawing on her experience as a pregnant athlete and expertise as a physiotherapist.
Liz Watson has cemented herself as one of the best netballers on the Australian and international stage following her outstanding performance and leadership in 2022.
The Origin Australian Diamonds Captain led her side to their first international series victory in 2022 at the Netball Quad Series in England.
Here Watson won her 50th international test cap and heavily contributed to the Diamonds’ 12 goal win against England.
Watson backed up her impressive performance at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games where shed led her team to win Australia’s first gold medal since 2014.
Later in the year Watson once again displayed exemplary athletic talent as part of the Origin Australian Diamonds’ 2022 Constellation Cup victory reclaiming the title from Trans-Tasman rivals the New Zealand Silver Ferns.
Watson’s passion and drive for success is evident, which empowers players around her to strive to be the best versions of themselves in every aspect of their life. As the captain of two teams, Watson has proven herself as a respected athlete who demonstrated leadership on the court, off the court, and in difficult times.
Watson won the 2022 Sharelle McMahon Medal for her Melbourne Vixens Suncorp Super Netball club and her work extends beyond netball into charity as a long-time supporter of WaterAid.