Australia’s three-time Ironman triathlon world champion, Mirinda Carfrae is one of 12 nominations announced today for the prestigious “Don Award” regarded as the highest individual honour that can be bestowed on a current Australian athlete.
The winner will be announced at this year’s Sport Australia Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala Dinner in Melbourne next month on October 21 – a week after Carfrae lines up chasing Kona title number four.
The pint-sized Queenslander, who grew up playing basketball as a youngster, confirmed her status as one of the all-time greats of the Hawaiian Ironman world championship and only the fourth women to win the gruelling event three or more times in 2014.
She can thank a high school triathlon coach who noticed her speed on the basketball court and suggested she give multisport a go.
At the age of 19 she competed in her first triathlon and shortly thereafter–with no prior background in swimming, cycling or running–made the 2001 Australian Junior Elite Team.
She went on to represent Australia at the ITU Triathlon World Championships from 2001-2005, twice earning silver medals (2002 & 2003) before turning her attention to long distance racing.
The rest as they say is history and she has gone on to etch her name into the annals of Kona legend winning the coveted title in 2010, 2013 and again in 2014 and to win in 2015 will put her in even more lofty company.
All 12 nominees encapsulate the Sport Australia Hall of Fame values of courage, sportsmanship, integrity, mateship, persistence, excellence – underpinned by generosity, modesty, pride and ambition.
Values that stem from the inspirational words of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame’s first Inductee and Legend, Sir Donald Bradman AC.
The award bearing his name is awarded to a sportsperson who, through their achievements and example over the last 12 months, is considered to have most inspired the nation.
The 12 nominations will be shortlisted to four finalists prior to the announcement of the winner.
In a year where Australian sport has captivated sports fans like few others before it, the Sport Australia Hall of Fame has unveiled 12 outstanding nominations for ‘The Don’ Award for 2015.
“If anyone deserves this nomination is Mirinda – it is wonderful recognition for not only her achievements to have won three Ironman world titles but the way she has conducted herself in every way,” said Triathlon Australia’s CEO Anne Gripper.
“She has been a true inspiration to our nation and especially triathletes around Australia and world wide.
“To have Mirinda and triathlon included in this who’s who of Australian sport is very special indeed.
“And it comes after some wonder performances from our triathletes and paratriathletes in Chicago and the induction of Michellie Jones, Peter Robertson and Emma Snowsill into the ITU Hall of Fame.”
In an impressive list of whop’s who of Australian sport of the last 12 months, here are the other 11 nominations:
‘THE DON’ AWARD – 2015 NOMINEES
Anna Meares - Cycling
Anna's eleventh world title this year earned her the crown of the most successful female track cyclist in history.
Australian One Day Cricket Team - Cricket
Australia's world cup preparation could have easily been derailed following the tragic death of opener Phillip Hughes in December 2014. However, the team rallied and went on to an emphatic victory, inspired by their "little mate".
Australian Socceroos - Football
In one of the biggest moments in sport the Socceroos pulled off a stunning victory to win the 2015 AFC Asian Cup.
Australian Women’s Diamonds Netball Team - Netball
The Diamonds were crowned world champions on home soil, emulating the 1991 Australian team's win. This latest success was widely acclaimed as exciting and memorable.
Emily Seebohm - Swimming
Seebohm shifted her mental approach following her disappointing Olympic performances at London 2012. It resulted in an historic 100m, 200m backstroke double at the 2015 world championships.
Jarryd Hayne - NFL
Former two-time Dally M medallist and rugby league superstar made an incredible switch from the Australian game to America’s NFL. His dream became a reality when named in the starting 53-player roster for the San Francisco's 49ers. It’s a transition has stunned world sport and captured the hearts and minds of Australians.
Jason Day - Golf
Battling the effects of vertigo for much of the 2015 season, Day was crowned 2015 PGA Champion with a record breaking 20-under-par, in his maiden major win.
Kurt Fearnley - Wheelchair Marathon
Took out his fifth New York City Marathon with a dramatic finish in arguably the toughest race in the event’s history.
Mick Fanning & Julian Wilson - Surfing
Current world number two and triple world champion Mick Fanning’s close call with a shark during competition, and his attempted rescue by fellow Australian competitor Julian Wilson, both epitomise the spirit of Australian sport, and the values of 'mateship' and courage'.
Sally Fitzgibbons - Surfing
Managed the incredible achievement of not only competing with a perforated eardrum, but went on to win her second Fiji Pro surf tournament.
Shannon Eckstein - Surf Life Saving (Ironman)
Now Australia’s greatest ever ironman after winning his seventh national title in 2015, eclipsing Trevor Hendy’s longstanding record. Added a fifth world ironman title in 2014.
About the award
Established in 1985, the Sport Australia Hall of Fame plays a vital role in preserving and perpetuating Australia’s rich sporting heritage, whilst promoting the values of courage, sportsmanship, integrity, mateship, persistence, and excellence, all underpinned by generosity, modesty, pride and ambition.
For booking information or to book online, click here.
- The 31st Sport Australia Hall of Fame Annual Induction and Awards Gala Dinner
- What: Australia’s most prestigious sporting awards ceremony
- Date: Wednesday 21st October, 2015
- Time: 5:45pm – VIP & Member’s Reception & Red Carpet Arrival
- 6:30 for 7pm – dinner
- Where: Palladium at Crown, Melbourne
- Who: The largest collective gathering of Australian sporting greats and luminaries
- The Induction of eight new Australian sporting greats into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame
- Announcement of the 37th Legend of Australian Sport
- Naming of ‘The Don’ winner
- Celebration of the Spirit of Sport Award
- Recognition of The Great Sporting Moments and Team Sport Australia Awards
- Presentation to the recipients of the annual Scholarship and Mentoring Program