Brooke Hanson, left, hosted the virtual ceremony ©AOC

The Australian Olympic Committee has recognised 810 teenagers as "Olympic Change-Makers".

The programme, first introduced in 2019, honours school pupils "for inspiring their community and using sport to make positive changes within their schools".

Those chosen were drawn from years 10 to 12, meaning they are aged 15 and up.

Winners came from every Australian state including eight from the outback in the Northern Territory. 

Projects recognised included coaching initiatives and designing online programmes to keep classmates connected during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Instead of a physical forum, winners were invited to participate in an online ceremony hosted from the Gold Coast by swimmer Brooke Hanson, a member of the gold medal-winning medley relay squad at Athens 2004 who also won individual silver in 100 metres breaststroke.

Melissa Wu, an Olympic silver medallist, also spoke to those honoured ©Getty Images
Melissa Wu, an Olympic silver medallist, also spoke to those honoured ©Getty Images

"Nominations this year have shown how you have adapted to this crazy situation," Hanson said.

"You have made an incredible impact on their school and wider community by embracing the Olympic values of striving for excellence, friendship, respect and responsibility.

"The modern, youthful ideas they create to motivate those around them and lead change within their community is what the Olympic spirit is all about."

Rio 2016 beach volleyball player Taliqua Clancy spoke the now traditional Acknowledgement of Country.

At a studio in Sydney, 2016 rugby sevens gold medallist Chloe Dalton joined London 2012 400m finalist Steve Solomon and Beijing 2008 silver medal-winning diver Melissa Wu.

Wu told the young Change-Makers: "It has been a tough time for everybody and it has been really important to have people to help others to see the light at the end of the tunnel."