|Known for||First woman to be elected vice president of the Australian Olympic Committee Executive Board|
|Honours||Order of Australia Medal (1985) |
Olympic Order (2015)
Order of Australia (2018)
The daughter of a founding member of Australian Canoeing, Brownlee began canoeing at a young age. She specialized in Canoe slalom and served as a judge at various Summer Olympic Games. In 1976, Brownlee became the first women elected to the International Canoe Federation (ICF) Slalom and Wildwater Committee and was eventually promoted to the ICF Board of Management
In 1985, Brownlee was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for her contributions to the sport of canoeing. In 2015, she was honoured with the Olympic Order for her contribution to the Olympic Games and was inducted into Sport Australia Hall of Fame. In 2018, she was awarded the Order of Australia.
With her father's help, Brownlee trained on the Parramatta River in the K1 and K2 classes but shortly thereafter switched to Canoe slalom. As a slalom canoer, Brownlee won Australia’s first international slalom medal. However, because Australian Canoeing focused mostly on sprint canoeing, she was unable to compete in the 1972 Summer Olympics. As a result, Brownlee served as a judge for both the 1972 and 1988 Summer Olympic Games and later was a member of the competition jury at the 1992, 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games. In 1976, Brownlee became the first women elected to the International Canoe Federation (ICF) Slalom and Wildwater Committee and was eventually promoted to the ICF Board of Management. In 1985, Brownlee was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for her canoeing career and contributions.
In 1992, Brownlee created the Pierre De Coubertin Awards to recognise those who are active participants in sport and demonstrate fair play and sportsmanship. After the 2000 Summer Olympics witnessed a spike in female participation of Slalom Canoe events, Brownlee was awarded the 2002 Trophy for Oceania by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for encouraging females to participate in Olympic canoeing.
Starting from the 1972 Olympics, Brownlee served as an official or jury member for the sport of Canoeing until 2010. In 2010, Brownlee was inducted into the International Whitewater Hall of Fame.
In 2013, following referendums for gender equality, Brownlee became the first women to be elected vice-president on the Australian Olympic Committee. While serving as vice-president, Brownlee was inducted as a General Member of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2015.
Since 2015, she has served as Chair of the Oceania National Olympic Committees Women and Sport Commission which encourages more female participation in sports as well as president of the Commonwealth Canoe Federation and Oceania Canoe Association. On 5 May 2015, Brownlee was awarded the Olympic Order for her contributions to bringing international recognition to the sport of canooing.
In 2017, both Brownlee and her father were inducted into the Paddle Australia Hall of Fame. She was later re-elected to her vice presidency position with the AOC alongside Ian Chesterman that same year.
- "Paddle Australia congratulates Helen Brownlee on Queens Birthday Honours". paddle.org.au. 11 June 2018. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
- "Helen Brownlee to join Sport Australia Hall of Fame". olympics.com.au. 14 October 2015. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
- "Helen Brownlee OAM". paddle.org.au. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
- "Helen Brownlee Australia". iwhof.org. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
- Etchells, Daniel (19 June 2017). "Australian Olympic Committee presents 70 students with Pierre de Coubertin award". insidethegames.biz. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
- "IOC 2002 WOMEN & SPORT TROPHY WINNERS". olympic.org. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
- "Helen Brownlee: A Lady of Many Firsts!". sportscene.tv. 24 March 2012. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
- Lane, Samantha (5 April 2013). "Women added to AOC board". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
- "PROMOTION OF WOMEN IN SPORT: ACTION IN EUROPE". olympic.org. 11 May 2015. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
- "Olympic Order awarded to Helen Brownlee". olympics.com.au. 5 May 2015. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
- "Canoeing greats recognised in inaugural Hall of Fame". olympics.com.au. 6 November 2017. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
- "John Coates re-elected AOC President". olympics.com.au. 6 May 2017. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
- "Helen Brownlee, AM, amongst Seven Australians Appointed to IOC Commissions". paddle.org.au. 13 August 2018. Retrieved 22 February 2019.