Gymnastics Australia Hall of Fame Recipients

At the 2021 Australian Gymnastics Championships, Gymnastics Australia had the pleasure of inducting the following four individuals into the Gymnastics Australia Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame Award was established to enable Gymnastics Australia to recognise an athlete or coach who is determined to have achieved “legend” status in the sport of gymnastics. 

Barry Cheales OAM

Hailing from Queensland, Cheales’ involvement in Men’s Artistic Gymnastics (MAG) has spanned more than 50 years, having competed at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and the 1970, World Championships and as the National Coach at the 1972 Olympics.

Cheales took the technical area of Men’s gymnastics to a truly national level over the 10-year period he was the Coaching Director at the Australian Gymnastics Federation. Some of his efforts included, writing, and publishing the Federation’s first publication of the Men’s National Levels Scheme, introducing a National Coaches Certification system, and setting the training standards for national squad members.

It was because of this outstanding service that led to the improvement in gymnastics coaching at all levels within Australia resulting in the improvement in Australia’s international ranking in gymnastics during his tenure.

Cheales is also recognised on the Gymnastics Australia Athlete Roll of Honour. 

Linsday Nylund

Nylund was the first Australian gymnast to win an individual international medal, winning a silver medal in the All Around at the Australian 1978 Commonwealth Games.  He also won a bronze medal as part of the Australian team at the event. 

Achieving another first, Nylund was the first Australian an all-around Olympic finalist at the Moscow Olympics. As a result of his achievements as an athlete Lindsay was included on the Gymnastics Australia Athlete Roll of Honour. 

After retiring as an Athlete, Nylund continued his career in gymnastics as a Coach, producing significant results in both Men’s and Women’s Gymnastics.  His achievements as a Coach included being the Assistant National Coach at two World Championships and being named the Australian Gymnastics Federation Coach of the Year in 1989. 

Dexter Lorback

Lorback’s long and distinguished career in gymnastics began in 1935 where he coached at various schools and clubs in Melbourne. He was also a competitor at the same time as his coaching career took off, competing in the first Australian titles in 1950/1.

He continued coaching then at the YMCA in Melbourne and also in Queensland in the 1970’s, a coaching career spanning some 40 years. Most notably, Dexter coached Ian Clark at the Olympics and Margaret Jack to the Commonwealth Games.

It can be said that Lorback’s coaching career helped develop and improve Australia’s international ranking from 1954 – 1978 at a pivotal time in the sport’s history. The competitions he organised with the men’s gymnasts from the YMCAs in Melbourne and Sydney (where most of the sport was conducted) gave opportunity for accelerating the development of the sport between those states and thus nationally.

Ferenc Vig OAM  

Originally from Hungary, Vig immigrated to Australia in the late 1940’s and began developing Australian gymnastics as a competitor and a coach.

Vig coached many international athletes including Olympians Inga Fraser and Graham Bond. Ferank also coached his fellow Hall of Fame Recipient, Barry Cheales, OAM.

Over a long period, he was influential at a national level and at a state level as not only a coach and a competitor but also as an influential administrator developing systems within the state mentoring many gymnasts and coaches who worked sub sequential at a national level.

The awarding of an Order of Australia in 1996 was in recognition of this influence on a national level of his contribution to the sport. Even at the young age of 93, Vig was still taking an active interest in the affairs of the Associations and the athletes and coaches.

Congratulations to all our Hall of Fame Recipients.