Praise pours in for Dylan Alcott after being named Australian of the Year

Sports stars and disability advocates are applauding Dylan Alcott after he was named the first-ever Australian of the Year with a visible disability.

Dylan Alcott during the 2022 Australian of the Year Awards ceremony,

Dylan Alcott during the 2022 Australian of the Year Awards ceremony. Source: AAP

Paralympian Dylan Alcott made history on Tuesday night, becoming the first Australian of the Year with a visible disability in the award's 62-year history.

He also made history last year, becoming the first man in any form of tennis to achieve the 'golden slam' after winning all four major singles titles and a gold medal at the Paralympics in one season.

The wheelchair tennis champion was a favourite for the award, with many praising the athlete for his vocal advocacy for disability, as well as his sporting triumphs.

Paralympian Kurt Fearnley dubbed the decision to honour Alcott as Australian of the Year as "bloody brilliant."

"We’ve had some remarkable Paralympians over the last 60 years. Uncle Kevin Coombs, Libby Kosmala, Sandy Blythe, Louise Sauvage and many more!" he tweeted.

"Many deserving but tonight is the night we get one of our mob as #ausoftheyear!"

Rod Laver, former Australian tennis player and world number one, also took to Twitter to celebrate Alcott's accomplishments. 

"You are so deserving of this great honour my friend, good luck in your quest for an 8th Australian title!" he wrote.

But it wasn't just athletes who approved of the selection.

Carly Findlay OAM, who describes herself as an appearance activist, congratulated Alcott on the achievement.

"Congratulations @DylanAlcott on Australian of the Year," she said.

"Looking forward to seeing you advocate for a wide range of disability issues in your tenure."

Mike Cannon-Brookes, the billionaire co-founder of software company Atlassian, applauded Alcott's honour as a "fantastic choice".

He said while former will be a "hard act to follow", he believes Alcott is a "fantastic" choice to carry the baton.

Musician Jimmy Barnes tweeted he "couldn’t think of a better person to be named Australian Of The Year."

"@DylanAlcott, you’re an absolute champion, and I look forward to seeing what you go on to achieve this year. Congrats mate," he said.

Comedian Adam Hills described Alcott as "an absolute champion of a human being" and said he knows the athlete will "use this honour to make a positive difference." 

NSW Commissioner of Resilience, Shane Fitzsimmons - who was also recognised on the Australia Day honours list - expressed his pride for Alcott.

"Congratulations to VIC Australian of The Year, Dylan Alcott OAM, on being announced as our National Australian of The Year!," he tweeted.

"So thoroughly deserved and what a remarkable and inspiring Australian."

3 min read
Published 26 January 2022 at 8:05am
By Eden Gillespie
Source: SBS News