Margaret Birtley and Jennifer Williams also recognised in announcement
Rowing’s golden girl, Kim Brennan, has been included in the 2017 Australia Day Honours List. The 31-year-old, who won gold in the Women’s Single Sculls at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games has been awarded Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her services to rowing.
Joining Brennan on the Australia Day Honours Lists, were two other members of the Australian rowing community, Margaret Birtley and Jennifer Williams, both of whom were awarded Members of the Order of Australia.
Victorian-based rower Margaret Birtley (nee Swan) has been awarded an AM for her significant service to cultural heritage, particularly to education, and to historical preservation; Ms Birtley is a member of Rowing Australia’s 1919 King’s Cup Centenary Committee. Ms Williams is an active member of Victoria’s masters rowing community and was awarded her honour for significant service to the community through leadership in public health sector, and to NGO governance.
Brennan was very humbled to receive the honour saying: “This award is incredibly special. It is so humbling to be named among such distinguished Australians.
“I have been incredibly lucky with the opportunities I have had growing up in Australia, and it is particularly special to be acknowledged not only for my rowing performances, but also for my work off the water Chairing the Australian Olympic Committee Athletes’ Commission and contributing to sport at the grassroots level.”
Rowing Australia President, Rob Scott, offered his congratulations to Brennan and the other recipients: “It is truly wonderful to see Kim recognised in the Australia Day Honours. Her Member of the Order of Australia is a richly deserved recognition for her contribution to the sport of rowing as well as her own on and off-water achievements.
“I would also like to offer the congratulations of the whole rowing community to the other recipients of honours today, Margaret Birtley and Jennifer Williams, it is fantastic to see so many recognised for their contributions to Australian society.”
Post-Rio Brennan has been enjoying time away from the sport and working full-time, saying: “I am enjoying a new challenge in working full time at Ernst and Young. It is quite fascinating just how many of the skills learned in the elite sport environment are relevant in a high performance business.
“I am also enjoying spending more time at home with my husband, enjoying rowing socially and with some of the younger Canberra athletes, and contributing to sport and the community in different ways. It is definitely nice to have the time to be able to say “yes” to things I would have had to knock back when I was training full time.”
Brennan thanked a number of people that supported her in the lead up and during her Olympic campaign, commenting: “I’ve had amazing support from the whole Australian rowing community, particularly my husband Scott, the Melbourne University Boat Club, my coach Lyall McCarthy and my wonderful teammates. I’ve also been so fortunate to have had such great parents who have given me amazing opportunities in life.
“I would also like to offer huge congratulations to all the other recipients. It is such a special honour to wear the green and gold, and even more special to be honoured for a contribution to the Australian community.”