ACU students win gold in Rio!

ACU wish to congratulate our students and alumni who competed at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, and wish our Paralympians much luck for the rest of the games.

ACU students Emma Tonegato, Mack Horton and Annabelle Smith won medals at the 2016 Olympic Games and Ellie Cole has claimed two medals at the 2016 Paralympic Games.

Athlete students are given the opportunity to be part of ACU’s Elite Athlete and Performer Program (EAPP). Many of the ACU athletes have been a part of this program which provided them with support and assistance as they prepared for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio.

Learn more about ACU’s Rio Olympic and Paralympic athletes:

Current Students:

Ellie Cole (Paralympics)

Medals: SILVER in the 400m freestyle and BRONZE in the 100m freestyle

Sport: Swimming (freestyle and backstroke)
Course: Bachelor of Health and Exercise Science

The golden girl of ACU’s Rio contingent, Ellie is competing at her third Paralympics and has successfully just added two more medals to her existing nine Paralympic medals tally (including four gold medals). At 24, Ellie is at the peak of her powers having come back from a career-threatening shoulder injury in 2013. Ellie was made a Member of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 2014.

Emma Tonegato (Olympics)

Medal: GOLD in the first rugby sevens Australia and NZ (score 24-17)
Sport: Rugby Sevens (back)
Course: Bachelor of Occupational Therapy

Emma created history by winning the first Olympic Gold medal for Rugby Sevens in Rio. Emma has played a leading role in the Australian team that won the Women’s World Sevens Series title, establishing herself as one of the best players in the world at just 21.

Mack Horton (Olympics)

Medal: GOLD in the 400m freestyle
Sport: Swimming (freestyle 1500m, 400m and 4x200m relay)
Course: Bachelor of Business

Mack won the Olympic Gold medal in the 400m freestyle.  He was also in the running to win the 1500-metre freestyle as he had already swum the second fastest time over the distance by an Australian.

Anabelle Smith (Olympics)

Medal: BRONZE in the synchronised 3m springboard
Sport: Diving (3m springboard synchronised)
Course: Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science

Anabelle won the Olympic Bronze medal in the synchronized 3m springboard. This medal adds to her Commonwealth Games (2010 and 2014) and World Championship (2011) bronze medals.


Melissa “Milly” Tapper (Olympics and Paralympics)
Sport: Table Tennis (singles and team event)
Course: Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science

Milly has already etched her name in sporting folklore becoming the first Australian athlete to qualify for the Olympic and Paralympics, earning selection for both competitions as part of the table tennis team. The 26-year-old will be eyeing off a medal in the Paralympic competition after a 4th place finish in London four years ago.

Rachael Lynch (Olympics)
Sport: Hockey (goalkeeper)
Course: Bachelor of Nursing

After a decade in the Hockeyroos program, Rachael’s dream to compete in Rio came true. A mainstay around the women’s hockey team since 2006, the 30-year-old has two Commonwealth Games gold medals to her name.

Paul Adams (Olympics)
Sport: Shooting (skeet)
Course: Bachelor of Nursing

After narrowly missing out on the London Games, the 23-year-old earned a place to compete at Rio. Paul is one of the most recent graduates from ACU and wasted little time becoming a theatre nurse in Brisbane and our latest Olympian.

Grant Nel (Olympics)
Sport: Diving
Course: Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science

Born in South Africa, Grant has made Australia his home, and finally gained a place at his first Olympics in Rio after two Commonwealth Games, four World Cups and five World Championships. Grant has athletics in his genes, with his mother representing South Africa at the Gymnastic World Championships.

To find out more about ACU’s EAPP visit