2. Stephanie Rice
Stephanie Louise Rice was born on 17 June 1988.She is an Australian swimmer. She won three gold medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Rice is trained by Michael Bohl from the St Peters Western Swimming Club in Brisbane. She was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia on 26 January 2009.
Rice was the gold medallist in the 200 metres individual medley at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia where she defeated Olympians Brooke Hanson and Lara Carroll to claim the gold medal in the event in a time of 2:12.90, a personal best by 1.19 sec. She also won the 400m individual medley.
At the 2007 Melbourne World Championships she won a bronze medal in the 200m individual medley in a time of 2 minutes 11.42 seconds, breaking the previous Australian record by a second. American Katie Hoff won the gold in 2:10.13, with Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe in second place. Rice once again placed third, earning her second bronze medal in the 400m individual medley final. In a new personal best time Rice finished in 4:41.19, taking 0.54 sec off her previous best.
Rice continued her strong performance, setting a new personal best time in the 400m individual medley at an Italian meet in June 2007. Rice went a 4:40.79, edging closer to the elusive 4:40 barrier in the event. At the 2007 Japanese Open Championships, Rice smashed her personal best time in the 400m individual medley and finally cracked the 4:40 barrier. In placing second to Zimbabwean champion Kirsty Coventry, Rice set a new Australian and Commonwealth record of 4:37.18, a personal best by 3.61 sec.
At the 2008 Australian Olympic trials, Rice broke the world record in the 400 m individual medley. Rice stopped the clock at 4 minutes 31.46 seconds, 1.43 seconds under American Katie Hoff’s mark of 4:32.89. On 29 June 2008, at the U.S. Olympic Trials, Hoff regained the world record from Rice with a time of 4:31.12. Rice claimed her second world record of the meet, when she broke the 200 m individual medley world record, clocking 2 minutes 8.92 seconds to slash almost a full second off the previous record held by China’s Wu Yanyan.
At the Beijing Olympic Games, Rice received her first-ever Olympic medal, Australia’s first gold medal of the games and its 400th summer Olympic medal, winning the 400m individual medley in a time of 4 minutes 29.45 seconds. In the process she reclaimed the world record from Hoff bettering the mark by 1.67 seconds, thus becoming the first woman to break the 4:30 in the event, (Kirsty Coventry also went under 4:30 in taking the silver).
In 2009 World Championships, Rice began the meet with a solid performance in the 200m IM. Despite losing her world record, she sliced 1.42s off her personal best time while capturing a silver medal. Experimenting with the 200 freestyle did not end well as she failed to make the final. With the absence of Linda Mackenzie, Kylie Palmer and Meagan Nay, the team was never in medal contention, finishing 5th. Rice retained her 400 IM record however finished with a bronze in the final. She was awarded a silver medal for her contributions in the medley relay heats.
- 2008 Telstra Australian Swimmer of the Year.
- Swimming World Magazine named Rice as (female) 2008 World Swimmer of the Year as well as Pacific Rim Swimmer of the Year
Rice attended Clayfield College in her high school years in Brisbane, Queensland. She was romantically linked with fellow Australian swimmer and 50m freestyle world-record-holder Eamon Sullivan. They ended their 2 year relationship in July 2008, just prior to the Beijing Olympics.The couple lived in separate states of Australia (Sullivan in WA and Rice in Queensland) and said the stress of living so far apart and the impending Olympics caused the split, but have conceded that the two are still good friends.
Her official website: http://www.stephanierice.com.au
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