ACU Business student Mack Horton has won Australia’s first gold medal of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, taking out the 400 metres men’s freestyle swimming final.
Capping off an amazing opening weekend in Rio for ACU, Exercise and Sports Science student Anabelle Smith produced a remarkable comeback performance in the diving pool to claim the bronze medal in the women’s synchronised 3m-springboard event overnight.
Mack held off defending Olympic champion Sun Yang from China to become the sixth Australian to win gold in the 400 metres freestyle, joining the likes of sporting greats Ian Thorpe and Murray Rose.
ACU Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Craven congratulated both ACU students on their success in Rio.
“It is with immense pride that on behalf of all the ACU community, I congratulate Mack on becoming an Olympic gold medallist and Anabelle on her bronze medal, continuing Australia’s fine tradition of success in the pool,” Professor Craven said.
“As part of the Elite Athlete and Performer Program (EAPP), Mack and Anabelle have been able to prepare for the Olympic Games while studying. EAPP provides athletes and performers like Mack and Anabelle with tremendous support so they can realise their dreams, and this is the perfect example.
“We wish Mack, Anabelle and the rest of our ACU students and alumni competing in Rio the best of luck for the remainder of the Olympic Games – we all will be cheering them on.”
Mack and Anabelle are among eight ACU students past and present competing at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, including Australia’s first Olympian and Paralympian Melissa ‘Milly’ Tapper (table tennis) – a graduate of Exercise and Sports Science, Occupational Therapy student and Rugby Sevens star Emma Tonegato, and Exercise and Sports Science alumnus Grant Nel who is competing in the diving pool.
ACU’s most successful Paralympic athlete is Ellie Cole (Health and Exercise Science), who already sports nine Paralympic medals and will again be favoured to star in a swathe of swimming events at her third games, while Nursing graduate Rachael Lynch will be hoping to end a run of three Olympics without a medal for the Hockeyroos, and fellow Nursing graduate Paul Adams will be competing in the skeet shooting event.
Many of the ACU stars in Rio past and present have been a part of the Elite Athlete and Performer Program (EAPP), which provides athletes and performers with support and assistance as they aim to compete and perform on the biggest stage.
To find out more about ACU’s EAPP visit www.acu.edu.au/eapp.