Victorian Institute of Sport

Mighty Mack wins Award of Excellence

Thursday, 01 December 2016

Mack Horton has topped off an exceptional year, being awarded the Victorian Institute of Sports’ most prestigious Award of Excellence.

The award honours athletes who have achieved outstanding sporting results during the year, while contributing to the promotion and development of their sport. It is the pinnacle of VIS Awards.

At just 20 years old and competing at his debut Olympics, Horton swam a personal best time (3:41.55) to win 400m freestyle gold, edging-out fierce rival Sun Yang by 0.13 of a second. Horton showed composure and stamina tin the pool and maturity and leadership beyond his years out of the water.

Horton was also the first Victorian male swimmer to win an individual Olympic gold in the Games’ 124 year history.

Five other awards were also presented on the evening including the ‘Elite Athlete with a Disability Award’, ‘2XU Youth Award’, the ‘William Angliss Personal Excellence Award,’ the ‘Frank Pyke Award’ and the very special ‘Sarah Tait Spirit Award’ presented by Gatorade.

Dylan Alcott – who won the 2015 Award of Excellence - was presented with the Elite Athlete with a Disability Award following his double gold performance in Rio. Dylan won the quad wheelchair tennis singles and doubles titles to add to his wheelchair basketball gold won in Beijing 2008. In doing so, he joined an exclusive list of athletes to have won two Paralympic gold medals across two different sports

Alec Potts and Conor Rowley tied for the 2XU Award. Potts made his Olympic debut in 2016 and took home a bronze medal in the men’s team archery. Meanwhile, Mt Waverley teenager Conor Rowley won his maiden world title in July, with victory in the men's Keirin at the 2016 UCI Junior Track World Championships Switzerland.

The Spirit Award, which recognises the often difficult journey to sporting success rather than the ultimate sporting achievement itself, was renamed in honour of the late rower Sarah Tait.

“Sarah gave so much to Australian rowing and was an exceptional role model and will go down in the annals of Australian sporting history, and the VIS is extremely proud to be able to recognise her contribution by renaming the Spirit Award,” said VIS CEO, Anne Marie Harrison.

Stuart Tripp and Anabelle Smith both received the Sarah Tait Spirit Award. Anabelle won Olympic bronze in the women’s diving 3m synchronised springboard final in Rio, while Stuart won Paralympic silver in the cycling time trial H5.

Todd Hodgetts was presented with the William Angliss Personal Excellence Award recognising his sporting and individual achievements throughout 2016. As well as winning Paralympic bronze in the shot put F20, Todd has also completed a Certificate IV in Leadership & Management at MIT (MSAC Institute of Training) and commenced part time studies in the Diploma of Remedial Studies at Victoria University.

The Frank Pyke Award was awarded to Australian swimming great and previous VIS scholarship holder Nicole Livingstone, recognising Nicole for not only her achievements in the pool but also for her host of media and commentating roles. Nicole was also recently appointed as the new Chairman of the Victorian Institute of Sport.

The Coaches Awards, given by the coaches to the athlete in each Tier 1 sport who is most deserving within the calendar year, were also acknowledged at the event;

Aerial Skiing

Danielle Scott


Ryan Gregson


Braeden Dean


Anabelle Smith


Brett Coletta


Larrissa Miller

Hockey – Men’s

Kiran Arunasalam

Hockey – Women’s

Sophie Taylor


Emily Mannix


Josh Booth


Will & Sam Phillips


Mack Horton


Marcel Walkington

Water Polo

Rowie Webster


The full list of Award winners from the night below:

Photo Credit: Mark Dadswell:


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