The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has presented 70 New South Wales (NSW) secondary students with the Pierre de Coubertin award.
The year 11 and 12 students received the accolade, named after the French founder of the International Olympic Committee, as part of an Olympic Academy day at the University of Technology Sydney.
The annual award recognises those who are active participants in sport and demonstrate the ideals of the Olympic Movement - fair play and sportsmanship.
Among this year’s recipients was 18-year-old S8 swimmer Maddison Elliott, winner of nine Paralympic medals. including four gold.
Elliott became the youngest Paralympic medallist in Australian history at London 2012, where she won a gold in the 4x100 metres freestyle, silver in the 50m freestyle and bronze in the 100m freestyle and 400m freestyle.
At Rio 2016, she claimed gold in the 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle and 4x100m freestyle, and silver in the 100m backstroke and 4x100m medley.
"It was unreal to get to the Paralympics in London and even more unreal to come out with a medal," Elliot, who was only 13-years-old when she competed at London 2012, said.
"That memory [of winning a medal] will stick with me forever."
Elliot, a year 12 student at Bishop Tyrrell Anglican College in Gillieston Heights, described Rio 2016 as a "completely different experience".
"I was a lot more experienced," she said.
"It is definitely special winning this award and nice to be able to meet students from different schools and in particular different sports.
"I'm sure my school will be very happy to show it off."
In addition to receiving their awards, the students heard from three Olympians; rower Cameron Girdlestone, swimmer Matthew Abood and snowboarder Stephanie Magiros.
Girdlestone re-lived with students his Rio 2016 race, which saw him secure men’s quadruple sculls silver medal alongside Karsten Forsterling, Alexander Belonogoff and James McRae.
A full-time teacher in Sydney, he revealed it was students that inspired him to end a break from the sport and aim for last year’s Olympics.
"It was students like the ones here," he said.
"I thought if they can do it, I can do it.
"It was those students who were my inspiration."
The Olympic Academy day also featured a boxing session with Rio 2016 boxer Shelley Watts, focusing on specific skills and techniques.
"All of the students were so enthusiastic and willing to give it a go, it was fantastic," Watts, the women’s Commonwealth Games lightweight gold medallist at the Glasgow 2014, said.
"It’s that attitude that proves why these kids were given the Pierre de Coubertin award - always being up for a challenge and understanding that the most important thing is just to try."
All four athletes focused on how the Australian Olympic team's A.S.P.I.R.E values - attitude, sportsmanship, pride, individual responsibility, respect and express yourself - can relate to the lives of all young Australians, both in sport and in education.
Students were presented with their Pierre de Coubertin certificates by NSW Olympic Council President and AOC vice-president Helen Brownlee, who inaugurated the award 25 years ago.