BREAKING: Dylan Alcott crowned Australian of the Year

Athlete and disability advocate Dylan Alcott has been named the 2022 Australian of the Year.

Alcott, who on Thursday will compete in what will be his last Australian Open final, is the first person with a disability to win the award in the program’s 62-year history.

The 31-year-old is a three time Paralympic gold medallist in wheelchair tennis and wheelchair basketball.

On the tennis court, Alcott has won 23 quad wheelchair Grand Slam titles and a Newcombe Medal – awarded to the most Australian outstanding tennis players in a given year.

‘I want to win this f***ing thing!’ | 00:53

Last year, he became the first male, in any form of tennis, to achieve a Golden Slam when he won the Quad Singles at the US Open.

But it is the sporting star’s achievements and leadership off the court that set him apart.

Alcott, who was born with a tumour wrapped around his spinal cord, has credited sport for saving his life.

“I don’t get out of bed every day to play to win a tennis tournament, I honestly don’t,” Alcott said.

“I do it because I love it, but it also provides me with a platform to do what I really want, which is to continue to change the perceptions around disability.”

In 2017, he founded the Dylan Alcott Foundation to provide scholarships and grant funding to marginalised Australians with a disability.

He also founded AbilityFest, the nation’s first and only fully accessible music festival.

Frustrated by the lack of media representation, Alcott now holds several high-profile media roles spanning TV, radio and podcasting.

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National Australia Day Council chair Danielle Roche paid credit to Alcott’s “sheer grit and determination”.

“Dylan Alcott is a champion who has risen to the top of the world rankings through sheer grit and determination. His Golden Slam is an incredible feat, the first for any male tennis player,” she said.

“Dylan is an inspirational Australian on and off the tennis court. Through the Dylan Alcott Foundation, he is giving young Australians facing disadvantage the promise of a better future.”

Alcott will on Thursday compete in his last Australian Open final. He will leave the game after eight years on top.

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