Two greats of Australian rowing have been announced as inductees of the prestigious Sport Australia Hall of Fame (SAHOF), with Kim Brennan AM and Tim McLaren OAM to join the ranks of legends and household names on the honour board.
Brennan and McLaren were among seven inductees announced by SAHOF, with Socceroos icon Tim Cahill AO, three-time Paralympic Gold Medallist Kurt Fearnley AO, Olympic aerial skiing champion Lydia Lassila OAM, Hockeyroos star and indigenous trailblazer Nova Paris OAM and rugby league superstar Johnathan Thurston AM rounding out the list..
The inductees will be honoured at a Sport Australia Hall of Fame event to be held at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney on October 16.
Brennan is an Olympic Gold Medallist and two-time World Champion, making her one of the most successful rowers Australia has ever produced.
Her athletic career began with aspirations in hurdles, marked by a Silver Medal at the World Youth Athletics Championships. However, destiny intervened with stress fractures, redirecting her towards rowing.
Incredibly, within just three years she represented Australia at her first of three consecutive Olympic Games. Brennan’s Olympic journey was marked by the complete set of medals, including Silver and Bronze in London 2012 and a dazzling Gold in Rio 2016 (Single Sculls), where she became the first Australian woman in 20 years to win an Olympic rowing Gold medal.
“It is such a huge honour and joining some remarkable people in Australian sport is very exciting and really humbling,” Brennan said. “Sometimes you undervalue what you did and it’s like, ‘oh it’s something I did seven years ago, no big deal’, and then something like this reminds you that what you did was very special.”
McLaren’s commitment to rowing across more than 40 years, as a competitor and a coach and educator, has stamped him as one of the sport’s most influential contributors.
Initially an accomplished rower who narrowly missed Olympic Gold in 1984, he transitioned to coaching, becoming a revered figure in the sport.
His coaching journey took him from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) Rowing Club to international prominence, guiding athletes to Olympic success, including the Gold medal-winning Double Sculls team in 1992.
McLaren’s technical expertise and dedication transformed Australian rowing, earning him an Order of Australia medal (OAM) in 1998.
“John Bertrand gave me a call. I thought he might have been calling because I’m often a reference for some of my athletes going for jobs or doing something impressive, so it was a surprise for me,”McLaren said.
“I was very surprised in fact. It’s nice, and of course you feel a little under-qualified in a group of such famous names.”
Rowing Australia congratulates Brennan and McLaren and is proud to have such humble champions involved in our sport.