2020 Nominations are Open

The National Awards Program is an exciting opportunity to celebrate our dedicated athletes and volunteers. We are delighted to have the following awards to recognise the contribution of outstanding athletes, coaches and volunteers.

The National Awards categories are:

  • Athlete of the Year
  • Young Athlete of the Year (16 - 26 years old)
  • Coach of the Year
  • Young Coach of the Year (16 - 26 years old)
  • Volunteer of the Year
  • Young Volunteer of the Year (16 - 26 years old)
  • Community Hero

We have included an additional category for this year to identify those people who have gone above and beyond to show community spirit and support during the COVID-19 shutdown. The ‘Community Hero’ is awarded to any person, internal or external, who has supported and engaged their Special Olympics community in any way.

Find out more here and make a submission here

Nominations close 5pm, Wednesday 30 September 2020.

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.

National Awards:

The National Awards Program is an exciting opportunity to celebrate our dedicated athletes and volunteers.

The National Awards categories are:

  • Athlete of the Year and Young Athlete of the Year (16-26 years old)
  • Coach of the Year and Young Coach of the Year (16-26 years old)
  • Volunteer of the Year and Young Volunteer of the Year (16-26 years old)


2019 National Award Winners

Athlete of the year Winner

Evan Wilson, Melbourne Inner East (VIC) 

Evan has been participating heavily in Special Olympics for approximately 17 years. He represented Victoria in swimming winning gold at both the QLD and WA Games as well as Gold in the Unified Basketball team. Evan is also a participant in the Athlete Leadership Program.

2019 Athlete of the Year Nominees: Brittany Anderson, Illawarra (NSW) | Hayden Weir, Logan (QLD)


Young Athlete of the year Winner

Chelsea Haag-Witherden, Melbourne Inner East (VIC)

Chelsea has been involved with Special Olympics and recently won the Melbourne Inner East Club’s Athlete of the Year Award for 2019. She has shown exceptional commitment to her sport, the Club and Special Olympics. She was selected to participated on the LETR Gippsland Regional Engagement and Awareness Tour and selected to deliver a speech on International Day of People with a Disability at the MCG. Above her sporting commitments, Chelsea has taken on a mentoring and coaching role at Athletics Training following her award for the Clubs Athlete of the Year 2019.

2019 Young Athlete of the Year Nominees: Marc Barnesby-Buie, Perth Metro (WA) | Chris Bunton, Flinders (NSW) | Sarah Chaplin, Melbourne Eastern Ranges (VIC) | Britney Gardner-Hudson, Logan (QLD) | Cameron Pollard, North Coast (NSW) | Krystel Pugsley, Barker (SA) | Madison Sims, Illawarra (NSW)


Coach of the year Winner

Greg Gibson, Flinders (NSW)

*Greg's nomination was written and submitted prior to Greg's untimely and sad passing on 24 December 2019.
Greg is passionate about tennis and athletes with a disability and ensuring they have the same opportunities as all other tennis players do. Greg has volunteered with Special Olympics since 1993, after completing a coaching course for athletes with a disability. He then started the tennis program with Special Olympics Roselands Region (now Flinders) and has been coaching for Special Olympics on a Saturday morning ever since. Greg became a part of the International Sports Resource Team for Tennis. In 2011 Greg was appointed the Chair of the committee and has only just passed this role on to another committee member but remains in on the committee himself. Greg has been a Technical Delegate for National Games, Head NSW Coach for Tennis for the last 6 National  Games, Head Coach for several World Games Teams and Technical Delegate for several World Games in his time with Special Olympics. Greg has also been the NSW Tennis Coordinator for the past 10 years

2019 Coach of the Year Nominees: Angela Chandra, Logan (QLD) | Peter Garlinge, Melbourne Inner East (VIC) | Michael Harris, Sydney South (NSW) | Bruce Hill, Melbourne North (VIC) | Keith Seiler, Barker (SA) | David and Kate Wilson, Sydney West (NSW)


Young coach of the year Merit Award

Kimberley Robertson, Redlands (QLD)

Kimberley joined Redlands club as a volunteer basketball coach at just 16 years of age and still at High School. She has generously given her time and knowledge over the last 9 years. Kimberley always conducts herself in a very professional manner whilst still gaining the respect and love of all our basketball athletes. She has coached at the 2014 and 2018 National Games as well as the 2016 and 2020 Junior National Games. Further to this she organises Come and Try events for all community members and arranged for the Brisbane Bullets to attend a skills session for club attendees. Kimberley is also a mentor for the Athlete Leadership Program and is the Regional Basketball coordinator.

2019 Young Coach of the Year Nominees: Georgia Brown, Melbourne Inner East (VIC) | Chelsea Palmer, Flinders (NSW)


Volunteer of the year Winner

Patricia Goodrem, Melbourne Inner East (VIC)

Trish has been a registered volunteer since 2015 but her involvement with Special Olympics bowling goes further back with her son Rob. She has acted as a lane manager and provided support to the previous Bowling co-ordinators prior to their retirement. Trish is always happy and despite her enormous group of athletes, Trish was also a member of the Victoria National Games team and is a mentor for the Athlete Leadership Program. As the Club's social coordinator, Trish organized all club events including the 2019 Christmas Dinner Dance where over 150 people attended.

2019 Volunteer of the Year Nominees: Janet Heath, Logan (QLD) | David Johnson, Sydney East (NSW) | David Wilson, Sydney West (NSW)

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)