Monday, July 2, 2012

Stephanie Rice info

OLYMPIC gold medallist Stephanie Rice was just four months old when she first became fixated with water, her mother Raelene Clark says.She says that, as corny as it sounds, once her tiny daughter saw a pool there was just no holding the waterbaby back."She just loved it, and if there was a pool or people were in the pool, her little legs would just go," she said."She just really wanted to get into the water. She always just loved it."

But even Clark had no inkling of just how important water would become  until the then Brisbane private school girl turned 14 - revealing dreams of becoming an Olympic champion.By that stage Stephanie Rice had already won a couple of age group titles, so there was no question of not taking her seriously.

Three years ago Clark handed Stephanie's coach Michael Bohl a bottle of  expensive French champagne and they vowed to save it for something special. Now, with the 20-year-old medley queen Australia's first Beijing gold medallist and world 400m individual world record holder as well,  Bohl says  that time has finally arrived.

"When Stephanie Rice won the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games her mum said 'have you opened that bottle of French champagne yet?' and I said 'no, no, no, she's got the Olympics to go yet'," Bohl said. "Now I can almost taste it."Rice, who swims for St Peters Western, says the 400m individual medley used to be her least favourite event.

She said it was Bohl who encouraged her to try  individual medleys because of her prowess in all four strokes but the 400IM took a lot longer to learn to love."I really hated the 400IM, but Bohley kept saying this is the event you could win at the Olympics," she said.Clearly he was right.Clark said that by the time  Rice had  won a couple of age group titles, it was clear sacrifices would have to be made.

"She was really determined at that age that was what she wanted to do, so the family, my husband (Allan Hickey), myself and Stephanie's father Warren, we had to re-look at everything because of the financial coast and we had to make some decisions to try to minimise some of the money," Clark admitted earlier this year.

"She was at a private school with hideous school fees every year and then you had the swimming costs (plus) travel costs associated with getting them to these competitions. We told her we had to consider a different school and that it was really up to her."For a determined Rice the decision was easy, so when Clayfield College offered her a scholarship, she jumped at the switch.

Fortunately that decision more than paid off yesterday when the Brisbane glamour-girl became Australia's first Beijing gold medallist in the 400 individual medley - snatching her world record mark back from American Katie Hoff in the process.Multimillion-dollar smileSTEPHANIE Rice's killer smile is now worth millions.That's the word from media giant Max Markson, of Markson Sparks fame, who said yesterday that the 20-year-old was now well on the way to becoming "Australia's new golden girl".

He could not put an exact figure on the Olympic 400m individual medley gold medallist's net worth, but with her best event, the 200m individual medley to come, the joint six-figure advertising deal she and former boyfriend Eamon Sullivan signed could now be considered paltry."Let's just put it this way - she's the girl with the million-dollar smile," Mr Markson said.He said even her  public break-up with sprint star Sullivan would have no effect on the Rice  juggernaut because, quite frankly, "she doesn't need to lean on anyone else".

Mr Markson said he believed Rice had the potential to be the "next Ian Thorpe" in terms of sponsorship earning potential.And if the Brisbane glamour girl played her cards right, she could still be raking in the cash for decades to come."You only have to look at the likes of Duncan Armstrong, who won gold in the men's 200m freestyle 20 years ago, and he's still on the TV commentating," Markson said.

"Then there's Raelene Boyle doing the commentary on track and field for Channel Seven, so she's still earning money 40 years after her first Olympic medal - she won silver in Mexico in '68."Markson said from a marketability perspective Rice had it all - good looks, charisma, presence, personality and sex appeal.

He said she also had the advantage of a huge pre-Olympic media profile - so now she had consolidated her initial promise the sky was literally the limit."The fact that's she's now won an Olympic medal - and she didn't just win it either, she smashed the world record - she'll have that for the rest of her life," Markson said.

"From a profile point of view it has established her now, she'll always be an Olympic gold medallist and it's only just the start of the Games so we'll just have to see how the rest of it goes."Obviously that's going to be very, very lucrative for her long term."Bowled over by grandchildTHERE is no lack of competitive spirit in the Rice family.Not even his granddaughter's first Olympic final could keep Jack Rice, 90, away from the Aspley Bowls Club where his team was competing in the Mick Simpson Memorial Patron's Day tournament.

His plan was to watch Stephanie's 4 x 100m medley race on the small television inside the clubhouse and join his teammates afterwards but in a show of support, club patron Rob McPherson postponed play for half an hour until after the event."You've never seen so many elderly people going bananas," Mr McPherson said of the race. "Everyone was out of their chairs cheering her on - or at least the ones who could stand up."Mr Rice said it was a very proud moment for him.

"She is a lovely girl and this hasn't gone to her head. She's won numerous medals but this is a really good one. She'll be happy about this," he said."I felt confident she would win. She's a great fighter and she's in wonderful condition. Kathryn Hoff took this record off her but now she's got it back. It's great."Mr Rice said  the whole family loved sport and he had only given up playing tennis at age 85.

"I should've taken up bowls a bit earlier and I might have been a bit better," he chuckled.But they knew from the age of "about 7 or 8" that Stephanie was something special."Her father taught her to swim and she could swim up and down the pool and you'd hardly see a ripple on the water. She just had a natural aptitude."

He said Stephanie followed a rigorous training regime, swimming 7km in each of her twice-daily training sessions."She's not the party girl the media tries to make her out to be. She's down to earth but she can put on an act. She enjoys the publicity and what she gets out of it but she works very hard for it," he said.

Melbourne, Oct 24 : Olympic swimming sensation Stephanie Rice has been spotted dining with former Big Brother housemate Ed Cherry.The pair was seen munching on Vietnamese ricepaper rolls and vegetarian frittata at Brisbane hot spot Jade Buddha, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Rice, who has been subjected to a trail of romance rumours since breaking up with fellow Olympic medallist Eamon Sullivan in July, is not the first woman to have eyes for pro-surfer Cherry.Sex icon and former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson reportedly took a liking to the 22-year-old when she made a surprise visit to the Big Brother house in July.Cherry was also romantically linked to fellow housemate Brigitte Stavaruk.

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