Bruce McAvaney joins the ranks of SA sporting legends

Sports commentator Bruce McAvaney has become just the eighth person to be recognised as a “legend” in the SA Sport Hall of Fame, joining an elite group reserved for sporting figures who hold a “revered place within the community”.

Mar 06, 2023, updated Mar 06, 2023
Bruce McAvaney speaking with event MC Sam Lane at the 2023 SA Sport Hall of Fame awards night on Friday. McAvaney was subsequently announced as a "legend" Photo: supplied

Bruce McAvaney speaking with event MC Sam Lane at the 2023 SA Sport Hall of Fame awards night on Friday. McAvaney was subsequently announced as a "legend" Photo: supplied

The Adelaide-born commentator, who was one of six South Australian sporting stars inducted into the hall of fame at an awards ceremony at Adelaide Oval on Friday, was revealed to be the hall of fame’s eighth “legend” in a surprise announcement at the end of the night.

Legend status is reserved for sporting figures who hold “a revered place within the community” and throughout their career delivered “exceptional performances that are almost beyond belief”.

The decision to recognise McAvaney as a legend was unanimously endorsed by the hall of fame’s selection committee and board of governors.

The elevation puts McAvaney in rare company alongside Sir Donald Bradman, Bart Cummings, Barrie Robran, Victor Richardson, Gillian Rolton, Anna Meares and Russell Ebert.

Bruce McAvaney and SA Minister for Sport Katrine Hildyard at Friday night’s awards ceremony. Photo: supplied

Speaking to the audience after learning the news, McAvaney described the award as a “massive shock”.

“I feel overwhelmed,” he said, adding that it was “the biggest compliment I think for anyone that’s in the position I’m in at the moment”.

“We, the six of us (inducted into the hall of fame tonight), will share something for the rest of our lives together on the same night.

“And we all know the highs and lows of elite sport, mine in a slightly different way… but I’ve also been through the highs and lows just the like the five that have come with me tonight.”

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(L-R) Peter Ormsby (son of hall of fame lawn bowler Mary Ormsby); footballer Di Alagich; Greg Quinn (son of hall of fame footballer Bob Quinn); ironman Dwayne Thuys, commentator Bruce McAvaney and rollerskater Tammy Bryant. Photo: supplied

He concluded his speech by highlighting the similarities between all members of the hall of fame.

“Those who’ve been inducted prior to us, we do share one thing, I reckon, in common: somebody along the way inspired us,” he said.

“Whether it was your father, your mother or (Victorian race caller and McAvaney’s childhood idol) Bill Collins, there was somebody out there who inspired us.

“Our gift is this: there is somebody out there in South Australia who’s watched us play or heard us call and thinks, ‘I’d love to do that, I reckon I can do that’.”

Earlier, the audience heard tributes to McAvaney from Channel 7 general manager Andy Kay, Events SA executive director Hitaf Rasheed and hall of fame cycling coach Charlie Walsh, one of McAvaney’s childhood friends.

SANFL footballer Bob Quinn, lawn bowler Mary Ormsby, ironman Dwayne Thuys, skater Tammy Bryant and Matildas footballer Di Alagich were all officially inducted into the SA Sport Hall of Fame on Friday.

Read InDaily’s full profile of Bruce McAvaney here.

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