Wheelchair racer Kurt Fearnley among magnificent seven inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame
Wheelchair marathon racer Kurt Fearnley is pinching himself after being named among seven athletes inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame
READING LEVEL: GREEN
With three Paralympic* gold medals, four world titles and two Commonwealth Games gold medals, Kurt Fearnley seems to be the only one questioning his inclusion* in the Sport Australia Hall of Fame*.
The wheelchair racer, who has had an impressive career across more than two decades, is one of seven new inductees* into the prestigious* group with rower Kim Brennan, footballer Tim Cahill, aerial skiing champion Lydia Lassila, NRL legend Johnathan Thurston, Hockeyroo Nova Peris and rowing coach Tim McLaren, also earning a spot in the Hall of Fame.
But Fearnley wasn’t convinced he belonged.
“The one room that I’ve ever been overwhelmed in, that I’ve ever felt completely out of my depth in, is any function that I have been to with the Sport Australia Hall of Fame,” Fearnley said.
“You look around and you see the legends of Australian sport.
“You know, collectively, that room is both incredible to be a part of and one of the most intimidating* spaces I’ve ever been in. It’s one of those ‘is this real?’ kind of moments.
“I don’t think it’s in me to ever feel that (like one of the greats).”
Fearnley, well known for his success in wheelchair marathons, conquered* events in New York, Chicago, Tokyo and London. Beyond his athletic feats, his never-ending commitment to championing disability rights saw him become the first athlete with a disability to win The Don Award (given to honour those whose achievements inspire our nation) in the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2018.
All seven inductees for 2023 will be honoured at a Sport Australia Hall of Fame event to be held at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney on October 16. Here is some background on the other inductees.
Tim Cahill: The only Socceroo* to have played at four FIFA* World Cups. Across his career he donned* the gold and green 108 times, scoring 50 goals – celebrated with his trademark* shadow boxing routine with the corner flag.
Cahill was the first Aussie to score a goal at a World Cup and at an Asian Cup.
He also played across four continents – playing more than 200 games for Millwall and Everton in the UK.
“When they called me to tell me the news it was a mixture of shock and then gratitude*,” Cahill said. “It’s a very special feeling to see the list of athletes who have been inducted before me, with everything that they have achieved, and know that I will be joining that group.”
Kim Brennan: As an Olympic gold medallist and two-time world champion, Brennan is one of the most successful rowers Australia has ever produced.
Lydia Lassila: One of Australia’s most decorated Winter Olympic athletes. Her career in aerial skiing finished with a gold and bronze medal and she became the first Australian female to compete in five Winter Games.
Johnathan Thurston: His 16-year rugby league career as a half-back or five-eighth from 2002 to 2018 saw him win four Dally M Medals for best player of the year. He played an important role in North Queensland’s first premiership victory in 2015, was a dominant figure in Queensland’s State of Origin success over the years, and won the global Golden Boot Award three times.
Nova Peris: As the first Indigenous Australian to win an Olympic gold medal with the Hockeyroos in 1996, she etched her name in history. Peris then transitioned* from hockey to athletics, securing two gold medals at the 1998 Commonwealth Games and representing Australia in two Olympic Games.
Tim McLaren: His commitment to rowing across more than 40 years, as a competitor and a coach and educator, has stamped him as one of the sport’s most influential* contributors.
- Paralympic: relating to the Paralympic Games, which are the equivalent of the Olympic Games for disabled sportspeople
- inclusion: being included in something
- Sport Australia Hall of Fame: a body to recognise the achievements of Australian sportsmen and sportswomen
- inductees: those who are formally added to an organisation or social group
- prestigious: having high status, inspiring respect
- intimidating: having a frightening, overawing, or threatening effect
- conquered: won a tough battle
- Socceroo: a member of the Australian men’s soccer team
- donned: wore
- FIFA: stands for Fédération Internationale de Football Association which is the international governing body of association football.
- trademark: a word, logo, or action that the owner is recognised by
- gratitude: being thankful
- transitioned: moved from one thing to another
- influential: having an effect on something
1. In which four international cities has Kurt Fearnley won a wheelchair marathon?
2. What has Tim Cahill achieved 108 times and 50 times?
3. What honour is recognised by The Don award?
4. Aerial skier Lydia Lassila was the first Australian female to achieve what?
5. Who was the first Indigenous Australian to win an Olympic medal and in which sport?
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1. Design a certificate
You have been asked to create a certificate for the new inductees of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.
Use an A4 piece of paper to create the certificate.
You could name it CERTIFICATE OF ACHIEVEMENT at the top.
It should include which inductee the certificate is for, who has awarded the certificate to them, what they have achieved, when, and also include the signature of someone from the Sport Australia Hall of Fame who has authorised the certificate (research their CEO and Board members).
You can create a decorative frame on the paper, or include a logo or photo. Be creative.
You can find lots of certificate template examples online or maybe in your school halls.
Time: allow 25 minutes for this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Critical and creative thinking, Arts.
Think of 5 current athletes still competing at the highest level that may one day be included into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.
Write a submission of 200 words or less on why you believe this athlete would be a worthy inductee.
Time: allow 30 minutes for this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Critical and Creative Thinking, Sport.
1. Grammar and VCOP
The glossary of terms helps you to understand and learn the ambitious vocabulary being used in the article. Can you use the words outlined in the glossary to create new sentences? Challenge yourself to include other VCOP (vocabulary, connectives, openers, and punctuation) elements in your sentence/s. Have another look through the article, can you find any other Wow Words not outlined in the glossary?