Australia’s first openly gay Olympic gold medallist Matthew Mitcham was one of the guests of honour at the 24th annual Australian Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Melbourne’s Crown Casino last night.

Mitcham joined Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and other gold medallists Stephanie Rice and Steve Hooker along with former Australian cricket captain Steve Waugh and rugby league legend Wally Lewis to watch this year’s inductees welcomed into the annals of history.

Eight athletes of outstanding ability were inducted on the night as athlete and general members of the Hall of Fame in an event which was televised on Fox Sports.

Hall of Fame chairman and former Olympian sailor John Bertrand said the event was a highlight of the sporting calendar.

The Sports Hall of Fame inspires all Australians by recognising and promoting the outstanding sporting achievements of our greatest athletes and encourages everyone, young and old, to reach their sport and life potential, he said.

The annual dinner and induction ceremony is a fantastic celebration of sport.

Nine champions of the future will be honoured and will benefit through the allocation of a series of $5000 grants and mentoring programs through which young athletes are teamed up with current Hall of Famers.

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