News

John Bertrand elevated to Legend & Adam Scott wins ‘The Don’

11 October 2013

Just weeks after celebrating the 30th anniversary of the historic America’s Cup victory, Australia II skipper John Bertrand AM has been elevated to “Legend” status by The Sport Australia Hall of Fame, becoming the “35th Legend of Australian Sport”.

In other awards, presented to a sell-out crowd featuring the who’s who of Australian sport, 2013 US Masters golf champion Adam Scott was awarded ‘The Don’ as the Australian athlete who most inspired the nation through his achievements in the past twelve months.

Seven Australian sporting greats were Inducted as Members into The Sport Australia Hall of Fame and five young athletes were awarded Scholarship and Mentoring Programs to assist them achieve their sporting dreams.

Black Caviar (and her connections) was awarded the “Spirit of Sport” Award for her feats on the race track. It’s only the fourth time the Award has been given for performances or events that capture the ‘heart of the nation’. She joins Jessica Watson (2010), the Melbourne Cricket Ground for its transformation for the 2006 Commonwealth Games and Makybe Diva (2005) as previous winners.

Finally three “Great Sporting Moments” were enshrined into the Hall of Fame and two Australian sporting teams also acknowledged as now part of Australian sporting history (more details below).

Bertrand elevated to become the “35th Legend of Australian Sport”

John Bertrand AM was honoured for his remarkable contribution to Australian sport, as a competitor, Olympic medallist, and now admired sports administrator who chairs The Sport Australia Hall of Fame and was recently elected President of Swimming Australia.

Bertrand became an instant legend the moment Australia II swept through the wind shadow of rival Liberty off the shores of Newport, Rhode Island, in September 1983 to wrest the America’s Cup from America for the first time in 132 years.

Like many triumphs, the foundations had been laid years before: Bertrand had demonstrated his tactical skills with a bronze medal in the Finn class at the 1976 Olympics and had spent years working with designer Ben Lexcen, owner Alan Bond and a hand-picked crew of sailors to forge the boat and team that would lift yachting’s ultimate prize in 1983. 

His competitive edge remains strong.  In 2010 he won the world etchells class sailing championships and in 2012 was Chairman of Selectors for Australia’s triumphant sailing team at the London Olympics.  He brings the same focus and commitment to his current charitable work as Chairman of The Alannah and Madeline Foundation and to his role as Chairman of The Sport Australia Hall of Fame.

In accepting the honour of being elevated to Legend of Australian Sport, Bertrand said it’s the ultimate sporting honour in this country.

“To be next to the Legends of sport, from Don Bradman through to Susie O’Neill it’s just something myself and my family are over the moon about,” Bertrand said.

“It has been an amazing year. Last month we celebrated our 30 year anniversary of the Australia II victory with all the sailing team, including Alan Bond and Bob Hawke in Sydney. The US Oracle team skippered by Australian Jimmy Spithill won the America’s Cup on the same day, and here I am now being elevated to Legend status and also carrying the flag of the Australian swimming team as President, it’s been a big few months.”

Bertrand said one of his proudest achievements is to see The Sport Australia Hall of Fame continue to grow.

“I think the best way to describe it is, John Eales when he was Inducted several years ago he said to me on the night, I cannot believe it, my heroes are all here in one room. I think that sums it up. It’s just one of those magic moments of Australian sport and to be able to celebrate the spirit of sport in such illustrious company is an amazing environment to be in.”

The Sport Australia Hall of Fame Selection Committee Chairman Rob de Castella MBE said Bertrand was very reluctant to receive the honour, as he felt as Chairman he shouldn’t be eligible.

“Through all of his achievements John Bertrand exhibits modesty and continually contributes his support ‘on and off’ the sporting field making him a true Australian sporting Legend,” de Castella said.

“His elevation to Legend was unanimous amongst the Selection Committee and The Sport Australia Hall of Fame Board agreed, and we are delighted that John, albeit very reluctantly, agreed.”

“His America’s Cup and sailing accolades are just phenomenal. And now that they are into the 30th year celebrations of the America’s Cup victory it’s a fitting milestone for John’s elevation from Member to Legend.

“To reflect on the achievement of the America’s Cup and beyond that the contribution he has made, not just to the Hall of Fame, but to sport in the broader sense, is immense.”

“As a sailor, as a captain, and as a leader, John and his America’s Cup team looked at Sailing from a whole different perspective; they looked outside the box and changed the way things were done,” de Castella said.

Adam Scott masters The Don

Adam Scott joined Australia’s sporting greats when he won a sudden-death playoff to become the first Australian in history to win the prestigious US Masters in April.

The performance was unanimously voted by The Sport Australia Hall of Fame Selection Committee as the 2013 winner of ‘The Don’ award, which is named after inaugural Inductee and Legend of Australian sport Sir Donald Bradman AC, and celebrates the athlete whose achievements have most inspired the nation through his or her example in the past twelve months.

Scott triumphed over an exceptional field of finalists including Casey Stoner AM (Motorcycling), Michael Clarke (Cricket), Kurt Fearnley OAM (Wheelchair Marathons), Cate Campbell (Swimming), Kimberley Crow (Rowing) and Jessica Fox (Canoeing, Kayak).

Former winners of the award which commenced in 1998 include Sally Pearson (2012), Cadel Evans OAM (2011), Lydia Lassila (2010), Steve Hooker OAM (2008 with Mathew Mitcham OAM & 2009), Glenn McGrath AM (2007), Pat Rafter (2001) and Cathy Freeman OAM (2000).

Scott, who is playing the end of season PGA Grand Slam in Bermuda said by video message, “I am humbled and honoured to have won this award and join many great champions before me.”

“I’d like to congratulate the other finalists on their achievements this year and I’d like to thank The Sport Australia Hall of Fame for this honour.”

Magnificent seven Inducted into the Hall of Fame

The night also saw The Sport Australia Hall of Fame Induct as Members seven of the nation’s greatest champions who have achieved the highest honours at the top level of competition and shown outstanding achievements in roles supportive to sports participants and sport.

The Inductees will join 518 Members who represent the pinnacle of 200 years of sporting excellence.

“To be selected into The Sport Australia Hall of Fame is not just a matter of being a champion athlete or sportsperson, you actually have to have a little bit of extra intangible quality that really elevates you into that level of greatness which the Hall of Fame acknowledges and represents,” de Castella said.

2013 SPORT AUSTRALIA HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES

Alyson Annan OAM    Women’s Hockey
Ron Coote AM    Rugby League
Graeme Lloyd     Baseball
Stan Longinidis    Kickboxing
Clint Robinson OAM    Multisports (Canoeing, Kayak, Surf Life Saving)
Ted Harris AC    Sports Administration/Media
Victor Kovalenko OAM    Coach Sailing

Great Moments in Australian sport

Three sporting moments that defined our nation were recognised for enshrining. They are:

•    The Announcement by IOC President Samaranch that the Sydney has won the right to host the 2000 Olympic Games.

•    Stephen Bradbury’s Gold victory in the 1000m speed skating final in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.

•    The Australia Women’s Water Polo Teams last second goal to defeat USA to win Gold in the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.