The Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre’s Helen Mantellato has been honoured with an Order of Merit in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the Olympic movement over the past 20 years.
The Director of Sales – Exhibitions at the Centre, Ms Mantellato joins a small and distinguished group of Australians who have been awarded the Order by the New South Wales Olympic Council.
The distinction acknowledges Ms Mantellato’s work in helping the Olympic movement stage a range of fundraising dinners at the Centre since 1993, the year that Sydney won its bid for the 2000 Olympic Games.
Presenting the Order of Merit at a recent special ceremony at the Centre, the Australian Olympic Committee’s General Manager of National Fundraising and Community Programs, James Edwards, said Ms Mantellato and her team had become an integral part of the Australian Olympic team appeal in NSW.
Mr Edwards said more than $18 million had been raised for Australian Olympic Teams by the New South Wales Olympic Council since 1993, much of it through its fundraising dinners at the Centre. Over the 20 years, the funds had been used to prepare and send no fewer than five summer Olympic Teams to the Olympic Games from Atlanta 1996 through to London 2012. During that time Australia has won 63 gold medals, 81 silver and 86 bronze.
“The major Olympic dinners have been so professionally run. It has been a pleasure to work with Helen and her team at the Centre,” Mr Edwards said.
Speaking at the presentation, Australian Olympic Committee Vice-President Helen Brownlee OAM also paid tribute to Helen.
“We like to think of you as part of the Olympic family as you’ve contributed so much,” Ms Brownlee said.
Ms Mantellato said she was very humbled and honoured to receive the prestigious award, and thanked her team for all their work at the Olympic events.
Helen said the Olympic dinners had been a huge part of her 25-year career at the Centre.
“Thank you for trusting us with these events,” she said.