by Cora Zillich
In the 2014 Australia Day honours list Australian Sailing Team (AST) Members, and AST Patron Bob Oatley, have received honours.
AST - Australia Day honours 2014 - Australian sailors rewarded in Australia Day honours
Olympic gold medallists Tom Slingsby, Mat Belcher, Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen, along with Paralympic gold medallist Daniel Fitzgibbon, all received the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for services to sport.
Belcher's gold medal winning crew at the 2012 London Games, Malcolm Page, was awarded an OAM in 2009, having won his first Olympic gold medal with Nathan Wilmot at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.
Paralympic sailing gold medallist Liesl Tesch, Fitzgibbon's crew at the London 2012 Paralympics, who already holds an OAM following her Olympic success as a basketballer, was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in recognition of her significant service to sport at the London 2012 Paralympic Games as well as for her 'promotion and facilitation of sport for people with disabilities'.
All the athletes were part of the very successful sailing section of the Australian Olympic Team at the 2012 Olympic Games, bringing home four gold (Three Olympic and one Paralympic) and one silver medal. In doing so, the team secured three of the seven gold medals won by Australia at London 2012 Olympic Games.
The major honour among sailors went to Bob Oatley, owner of the Sydney-Hobart record-holder Wild Oats XI and long-time supporter, patron and partner of the Australian Sailing Team and Yachting Australia. Bob received an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to the Australian wine and tourism industries, to yacht racing, and to the community as a supporter of medical research and visual arts organisations.
'It was wonderful to see our AST Athletes and one of our key supporters recognised in the Australia Day honours list. Our medal haul in 2012 was without equal and it is fitting that our gold medal winning athletes should be acknowledged in this way,' said Matt Allen, President of Yachting Australia. 'It is especially pleasing that Bob Oatley, who has done so much for the sport of sailing in Australia, and who was one of the founding Patrons of the AST should receive an AO on the same list. The support of Bob and our other Patrons is invaluable, and will be one of the keys in addressing the challenges we face in Rio in 2016.'
In an impressive showing for sailing, Tasmanian-based sailing journalist Peter Campbell received an OAM. Peter has been a mainstay of the Australian sailing media for over 50 years, including a role as editor of Australian Sailing magazine.
'Peter has made a wonderful contribution to sailing as part of the fourth estate,' said Phil Jones, CEO of Yachting Australia. 'He has a vast knowledge of sailing and has the gift of conveying it in an informative and entertaining way. Peter has forgotten more than most people will ever know about the sport!'
David Tillett, an International Judge who has chaired both the America’s Cup and Olympic Jury’s and serves as a Council Member at the International Sailing Federation as well as an ex officio member of the Yachting Australia Board, also received an AM 'for significant service to the sport of sailing'.
'David Tillett has made an enormous voluntary contribution to our sport,' said Phil Jones. 'He has risen through the ranks and is now recognised as one of the leading International Judges in sailing. He is a wonderful of example to all volunteers and shows just how much can be achieved in this very important area of our sport through dedication and hard work.'
Also, over the Australia Day week-end three of our Australian sailing athletes were recognised in the top 25 as part of leading sportswriter Richard Hinds' countdown of the Top 100 current Australian sportspeople. Two-time America's Cup winning skipper of Oracle Team USA, James Spithill, was the highest ranked Australian sailor in fifth position. Olympic gold medallist and 2013 Rolex ISAF World Sailor of the Year Mat Belcher was ranked in the top 20 athletes amongst the likes of Adam Scott and Mark Webber, and Olympic gold medallist Tom Slingsby was ranked 22. Richard Hinds Counts Down the current 100 greatest Aussie sports stars: click here
Yachting Australia joins the entire sailing community in congratulating Liesl Tesch, Daniel Fitzgibbon, Mathew Belcher, Tom Slingsby, Iain Jensen and Nathan Outteridge as well as Bob Oatley, David Tillett and Peter Campbell for the well deserved recognition for their services to the sport of sailing in the Australia Day honours list. Australian sailing is richer for their enormous contribution to our sport.
See the full list here: click here
Medal (OAM) Of the Order Of Australia in the General Division
Mr. Mathew Anthony Belcher – For service to sport as a gold medallist at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Mr. Daniel Gerard Fitzgibbon – For service to sport as a gold medallist at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Mr. Iain Valjean Jensen – For service to sport as a gold medallist at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Mr. Nathan James Outteridge – For service to sport as a gold medallist at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Mr Thomas David Slingsby – For service to sport as a gold medallist at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Mr. Peter McEachern Campbell – For service to yachting as a journalist.
Officer (AO) in the General Division Of the Order Of Australia
Mr. Robert Ian Oatley Bem – For distinguished service to the Australian wine and tourism industries, to yacht racing, and to the community as a supporter of medical research and visual arts organisations.
Member (AM) in the General Division Of the Order Of Australia
Ms Liesl Tesch – For significant service to sport as a gold medallist at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, and through the promotion and facilitation of sport for people with disabilities.