EKS Award

EKS Award

The EKS Award is presented annually to an athlete who has shown great leadership skills, both on and off the sporting field. The award is open to all Special Olympics Australia athletes.

This award honours Special Olympics founder, Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Australian volunteer, Dr John Day inspired this award when he donated the medal he received from Mrs Shriver in 1976 to mark the beginning of Special Olympics in Australia.

Let an athlete know their efforts are making a difference and nominate them today.

Honour Roll

2018 |Allister Peek (ACT)
2017 |Miles Fisher (QLD)
2016 | Martin Smith (QLD)
             Nicole Bartley (QLD)
2015 | Liam O'Donnell (ACT)
2014 | Joshua Frost (NSW)
2013 | Mel Eustace (NSW)
2012 | Steven White (VIC)
             Russell Nelligan (WA)
2011 | Andrew Williams (VIC)
2010 | John Faulkner (QLD)
2009 | Saxon Graham (NSW)
2008 | Gabrielle Clark (NSW)
             Kelly Wren (NSW)
2007 | Christopher Farmer (SA)

National Awards

There are so many people that make the Special Olympics Australia community rich, rewarding and welcoming. Special Olympics Australia has a range of annual rewards to say thanks.

2021 National Award Winners

Athlete of the year Winner

Robert Goodrem (Melbourne Inner East, VIC)

Robert is a good all-round sportsman. He is a member of Special Olympics Tenpin Bowling, Aquatics and Basketball Teams. He joined Special Olympics in 2006. He is an active and enthusiastic contributor to the club and a role model to other athletes. He shows excellent leadership and is an active member of the Athlete Leadership Group. Robert always greets everyone by name, and he never forgets anything you tell him. He is very caring to other athletes and always welcomes new athletes and encourages them to join in. He is always polite and very well mannered. He always demonstrates excellent sportsmanship. - Excerpt

2021 Athlete of the Year Nominee: Micaela Goodwin (Spencer, SA)


Young Athlete of the year Winner

Harry Mezger (Melbourne Inner East, VIC)

As an Athlete Leader, Harry attends regular Special Olympics meetings and events. In the past 12 months this has included an Athlete Leader Camp, multiple LETR Torch Runs, a Club Community Day, International Day of People with Disability activations at the Docklands and The Victorian Police Academy, and the Melbourne Sports Lunch. Besides being an active Athlete Leader, Harry also gives of his time as a volunteer. This includes taking on a weekend assistant coaching role in both his club’s Athletics and Junior Tennis programs. He also volunteers his time to speak to corporate groups and tertiary organisations about Special Olympics – educating people about the impact of sport on people, like himself, and about living with an intellectual disability. – Excerpt


Coach of the year Winner

Manuela Dalla Costa (Melbourne Inner East, VIC)

From the time Manny joined our club Athletics program, she has demonstrated assiduous commitment to our athletes and has provided strong leadership to the program. Besides head coaching our regular training program, she gave of her time to provide significant support to athletes, families and our athletics co-ordinator, at the 2021 Victoria Athletics State Games. She worked tirelessly the entirety of the day, ensuring our athletes (and parents/carers) knew where they had to be, when, and providing guidance and encouragement throughout the various events. When training was shut-down due to lockdowns, Manny kept our athletics athletes and families engaged via our WhatsApp group, encouraging them to stay active and share photos of them continuing to get exercise and stay fit. To help support this and keep athletes entertained, she created fantastic training-at-home programs for runners, throwers and jumpers – including stretching, circuits and running sessions. - Excerpt

2021 Coach of the Year Nominees: Michael Morgan (Gold Coast, QLD), Peter Muhlbock (Sydney South, NSW), Theresa Bourke (Moreton North, QLD)


Young Coach of the year Winners

Max Potter (Melbourne Inner East, VIC) & Pearl Jansz (Melbourne Inner East, VIC)

As nationally ranked tennis players themselves, Max and Pearl wanted to use their experience in their sport to give back to the community and the game. They enthusiastically agreed to come on as volunteer coaches to support the launch of a completely new Tennis program, one of the few in the state. They worked with club leadership and the club Tennis Co-ordinator to apply for and successfully receive a government grant to additionally launch the first Junior Tennis program in the state – with two false starts due to COVID and lockdowns but persevering and achieving a first come & try before the end of the calendar year. They ran a ‘Tennis Station’ during the 2021 post-lockdown club ‘return to sport’ community day, generating more interest from existing members who may not have had previous exposure to Tennis or the programs. - Excerpt


Volunteer of the year Winner

Karen Fox (Melbourne Inner East, VIC)

Karen always looks to improve the swimming program and, in the past year has streamlined the registration system and monthly aggregate nights. Following a very challenging 2020 year, with yet another series of multiple lockdowns, in the past 12 months Karen’s passion for the mental and physical health of her athletes and volunteers has shone through. She was determined that no matter how bad the circumstances, the swimmers would remain connected. Karen had already created a WhatsApp group for swimmers and families, so that when swimming was abandoned to COVID-19, she had a tool to check in with everybody. And she did. She set challenges for athletes around physical activities, mental health and healthy eating and the swimmers welcomed the challenges and encouraged each other. She established weekly Zoom meetings which included games nights, fine dining nights and most recently, dryland exercises. – Excerpt

2021 Volunteer of the Year Nominees: Cheryl Haack (Gold Coast, QLD), Sue Dodds (Melbourne Inner East, VIC), Gail Stevens (Sydney South, NSW)


Young Volunteer of the year Winner

Sarah Hamilton (Melbourne Inner East, VIC)

Sarah was one of the main organisers of the club’s Return to Sport Celebration in December 2021 and ran a station at the event. The day was very successful and over 100 athletes and their families participated. Sarah has contributed to the significant growth of the club’s athletics program from 12 athletes to over 30 participants. Her enthusiasm and support as an assistant coach at training makes new athletes and their families feel welcome and has certainly contributed to them returning. We are finding that athletes are bringing their friends along which shows that the program is fun and inclusive. – Excerpt

Hall of Fame Award

Hall of Fame

Each year Special Olympics Australia recognises a volunteer (or volunteers) who has shown dedication to our mission and long-standing commitment to our athletes by inducting them into the Hall of Fame. Nominations are sort from the Special Olympics Australia community and the National Selection Committee select the winner.

Hall of Fame Nominations Are Currently Closed

Honour Roll

2014 | Moira Ryde (VIC)
2013 | Albert Green, OAM (ACT)
2012 | Norm Maroney APM, OAM (NSW)
2011 | Robyn Cook OAM (VIC)
2010 | Susan Grealy (QLD)
2009 | Rex Langthorne AM (NSW)
2008 | Alan Burke (VIC)
2007 | Eric Jones OAM (VIC)
             Kurt Kraushofer OAM (VIC)
2006 | Barry Easy OAM (NSW)
             Marian York (QLD)
2005 | Robyn Hanson OAM (TAS)
2004 | Anna-Louise Kassulke (QLD)
2003 | Jan Sharp OAM (VIC)
2002 | Leon Burwell OAM (NSW)
2001 | Carol Tanner OAM (TAS)
2000 | Des Renford MBE, OHC (NSW)