Article WORDS Tom Ransley PHOTOGRAPHY Steve McArthur courtesy of ROW360.
Rowing Australia’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic gold-medal-winners have been recognised for their service to sport on the 2022 Australia Day Honours List. Each of the eight Olympic champions will receive the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in a ceremony later in the year.
Australia’s eight Olympic champions recognised in the Honours List are from their two coxless fours. The men’s four of Alex Purnell, Spencer Turrin, Jack Hargreaves and Alexander Hill secured Australia’s first Olympic gold medal in this event since Atlanta 1996, and ended Great Britain‘s run of Olympic successes. In the women’s four Lucy Stephan, Rosemary Popa, Jessica Morrison, and Annabelle McIntyre were imperious and held off a fierce charge from the Dutch crew.
For two-time Olympian and double world champion Lucy Stephan the OAM nomination is becoming something of a family tradition. Her mum Mandy Stephan who works as a nurse in rural Victoria, Australia, was awarded the OAM in 2021 for her service to nursing, particularly to child and maternal health. “It has become a bit of a joke with the family and close friends that the women in my family have excelled and the blokes need to step up,” says Lucy. “My Dad’s response to this is that he is going go straight to receiving the knighthood.”
Rowing Australia‘s patron Gina Rinehart was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO). Rinehart is a mining magnate and Australia’s richest person. She is the Executive Chairman of Hancock Prospecting, a privately-owned mineral exploration and extraction company. Her appointment was, “for distinguished service to the mining sector, to the community through philanthropic initiatives, and to sport as a patron”.
Rinehart and the Australian women’s four are part of the record number of women recipients. Almost half (47%) of the 732 recipients were women, the highest ever percentage. There were 25 recipients of the AO awards, and 545 recipients of the OAM awards.