Universiade and Olympic Medallists
Of the 419 members of the Australian Olympic team to compete at the 2016 Olympic Games, 58% were elite student-athletes. Selection to and competing as an Australian UniRoo at the Summer Universiade enables a leap forward in terms of Australia’s international competitiveness and encourages and develops more student-athletes, while at the same time, better aligning university elite sport programs with the national high performance pathway, especially towards Olympic representation.
For many, the Universiade is a crucial stepping stone for talent progression on the international scene as young stars strive for Commonwealth and Olympic Games selection.
Trap shooter and 2013 Summer Universiade champion, Catherine Skinner led the UniRoos into the opening ceremony at the 2015 Summer Universiade before going on to win two bronze medals, first in the individual trap event as defending champion, and then as the leader of the women’s teams event. In 2016, Skinner won Olympic gold in Rio in the women’s trap with a near flawless campaign that will be etched in history as one of the greatest performances of the 2016 Olympic Games.
In Gwangju (2015), race walker Dane Bird-Smith battled through rainy conditions to win gold in the 20km event before heading to Rio in 2016 and winning bronze in his maiden Olympic Games.
Elsewhere in Rio, 2015 UniRoo Anabelle Smith competed alongside student-athlete Maddison Keeney in synchronised diving and brought home a bronze medal.
Murray Stewart is a Unisport Honour Roll medallist for his medal winning performances at the 2010 World University Championship Canoe Sprint in Poznan, Poland. Murray won a silver medal in the K1 500m and a bronze medal in the K1 1,000m. Murray then went on to win a gold medal in the K4 1,000m at the 2012 London Olympics.
Australian Cate Campbell is also a Unisport Honour Roll Champion for her medal-winning performances at the 2011 Summer Universiade in Shenzhen, China. Campbell won a gold medal in the 4 x 100m freestyle relay and a bronze medal in the 50m freestyle. At the 2012 London Olympics, Cate went on to also win a gold medal in the 4 x 100m freestyle relay. Campbell made her Olympic debut at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. At just 16 years of age, she won bronze in the 50m freestyle and also won bronze in the 4 x 100m freestyle relay. At the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Cate brought home gold in the 4 x 100m freestyle relay after contributing to a new world record with fellow student-athletes Bronte Campbell, Brittany Elmslie, Emma McKeon and Madi Wilson. She also brought home a silver in the 4 x 100m medley relay.
These mentioned athletes are but a few of an extensive list of champions such as cross country runner Steve Moneghetti, pole vaulter Steve Hooker and sailor Lucinda Whitty, who have all combined a successful sporting career with university study, achieving great sporting and academic feats.
In the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, 46 per cent of the Australian team was made up of student-athletes and they claimed 57 per cent of the nation’s medals. In London in 2012, 40 per cent of the team were student-athletes whom contributed to 63 per cent of Australia’s medals won.