This year was already a memorable one for Jack Hargreaves and the Nyngan product received another special accolade last week.
Hargreaves was part of the Australian men's coxless fours team which won gold at the Tokyo Olympics.
He and teammates Alexander Purnell and Spencer Turrin were last Thursday night awarded joint-winners of the Male Athlete of the Year Award at the NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) Awards.
In a hotly contested field, Hargreaves, Purnell, and Turrin beat out a field of finalists to claim the award. Sharing the honours as teammates they said felt right as the fourth member of the gold-winning crew, Alexander Hill, was named the South Australian Male Athlete of the Year.
The Team NSWIS trio combined with Hill to break Great Britain's 20-year Olympic gold medal-winning streak and lead the Australian team from three consecutive silvers to their first victory since Atlanta 1996 earlier this year.
Paralympian wheelchair racer Madison De Rozario and champion slalom canoeist Jessica Fox, who both also won gold this year, were popular joint-winners of the Female Athlete of the Year prize.
"In 2021, NSWIS proudly supported an athlete contingency of 105 Olympic and 44 Paralympic athletes head to Tokyo to compete on the world stage," NSWIS CEO Kevin Thompson said at the awards night.
"Four gold medals in both the Olympics and Paralympics, 14 medals in the Olympics and 21 medals in the Paralympics, and we had 33 staff for the Tokyo Games. So, it's remarkable the achievements in such a difficult year for everybody."
The CEO also hailed the effort of the athletes as they had to prepare for the Olympics and compete at the Games under strict COVID-19 guidelines.
"I cannot speak highly enough about the effort and commitment shown by our athletes, coaches, and support staff," Thompson added.
"Off the back of an extended lockdown, it's great to come together tonight and celebrate the fantastic results found in what has been one of the most challenging years, and a long five years since the last Games cycle.
"It's great to be in a room full of people that you admire, that you respect, and that have worked so hard to achieve such great results at Tokyo."
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