Published: Oct 30, 2012 09:26:02 AM Updated: Oct 30, 2012 02:11:00 PM
Six of Australia’s best athletes are finalists in the Australian Institute of Sport’s (AIS) prestigious 2012 Athlete of the Year Award.
Anna Meares (Track Cycling), Alicia Coutts (Swimming), Evan O’Hanlon (Paralympic track and field), Ellie Cole (Paralympic Swimming), Tom Slingsby (Sailing) and Malcolm Page (Sailing) will all vie for the honour of being named athlete of the year at the AIS on 16 November.
O’Hanlon played a big part in Australia’s strong showing at the Paralympic Games by taking out both the 100 and 200-metre sprints in world record times in London this year.
Coutts demonstrated her versatility at the highest level in swimming by securing five medals including gold in London. In doing so, she equalled Shane Gould and Ian Thorpe as the greatest Australian total medal winner at any single games.
Cole was also a huge contributor to Australia’s Paralympic success with a staggering six medals winning gold in the 100m freestyle. Ellie backed this up with gold in the 100m backstroke and bronze in the 400m freestyle and 50m freestyle as well as gold medals in the 4 x 100m freestyle relay and the 4 x100m medley relay.
Tom Slingsby and Malcolm Page were instrumental in Australia’s highly successful Olympic campaign in sailing that included three gold medals. Slingsby won gold at the London Olympics capping off an extremely successful year that also included winning two world championships. Page won back-to-back gold medals after his triumph in 2008 at the Beijing Games. His two gold medals place him as Australia’s most decorated Olympic sailor.
Last year’s AIS Athlete of the Year Anna Meares again took the fight to her arch rival Victoria Pendleton winning two gold medals at the UCI World Championships before going on to win the Olympic gold medal in the women’s individual sprint and bronze in women’s team sprint teaming up with Kaarle McCulloch.
AIS Director Matt Favier congratulated all the athletes, coaches and programs chosen as finalists for the 2012 AIS Awards.
“In a year when we have seen Australia compete at the London Olympic and Paralympic Games there have been some exceptional performances from our AIS athletes,” Favier said.
“The six finalists for AIS Athlete of the Year can be justifiably proud of their achievements in 2012 and I wish them the best of luck when the winners are announced on the night.”
Other awards to be announced on the night include Junior Athlete of the Year, Team of the Year, Coach of the Year and Program of the Year.
The 2012 AIS Awards will be presented at the AIS in Canberra on Friday evening, 16 November.