Grant HackettFive Bond University scholars have represented Australia with distinction at the Beijing Olympics.

Bachelor of Commerce/Law graduate Grant Hackett led the charge as Captain of the Australian Swimming Team, aiming for his third consecutive Olympic gold medal in the 1500m freestyle event.

While he narrowly missed out on gold by just 0.69sec to Tunisian Oussama Mellouli, his silver medal and the Olympic Record time he set in his heat, along with his sixth place in the 400m freestyle event, cemented his place as one of our country’s greatest Olympic champions.

Lara DavenportBond student Lara Davenport also made waves at the 'Water Cube', as part of the 4 x 200m freestyle relay team. Her heat swim helped secure a place in the final for eventual gold medal winners, Kylie Palmer, Bronte Barratt, Linda Mackenzie and Stephanie Rice, who won in world record time.

The Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology) student swam a personal best to clinch Australia a place in the finals.

Ky HurstAnd still in swimming, but in the tougher conditions of the 10km open-water marathon swim, Bond sporting scholar and four-time Australian ironman champion Ky Hurst also put in a gutsy performance to finish 11th.

Having deferred his Bachelor of Property and Sustainable Development studies to achieve his dream of competing for Australia in the Olympics, Hurst said of his Olympic debut that it was a "privilege to be a part of the Australian swim team".

Courtney AtkinsonBond Alumnus and Triathlete Champion Courtney Atkinson also battled tough conditions and stifling heat to finish 11th in what was a very competitive Men’s Triathlon field. After describing the conditions as "unbelievably hard", Atkinson is already aiming to compete in the London Games in 2012.

Annabelle WilliamsBond was also proudly represented at the Paralympic Games, which commenced on September 6, by Law and International Relations student Annabelle Williams.

Born with a congenital lower left limb deficiency (otherwise referred to as an ‘arm amputee’), Williams competed in the 100m Butterfly, 50m Freestyle and 100m Freestyle.

She put in an outstanding performance, reaching the final of each of her events and taking out bronze in the 100m butterfly.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Robert Stable said the University was extremely proud of the outstanding achievements of each of its Olympic athletes.

"To represent your country at the Olympics is the pinnacle of achievement in sport and I congratulate you on your commitment, dedication and hard work. Not only is your university proud of you, but the entire nation is proud of you. Well done," he said.

Bond University’s flexible study program, personalised approach to education, world-class sporting facilities and generous sporting scholarship program has seen many an elite athlete pass through its halls, including Olympians Giaan Rooney, Daniel Kowalski, Michael Murphy and Andrew Utting.

As an Elite Athlete Friendly Network University, Bond is committed to responding to the specific needs of elite student athletes by developing new, or promoting existing policies and practices, that assist elite student athletes to undertake sporting opportunities whilst pursuing and achieving academic excellence.

In the lead-up to the Beijing Olympics, Ky Hurst said; "Bond University is very supportive of my ambitions, and my goal to be part of the 2008 Olympic Swim Team, and fortunately they are willing to be flexible with my study program and work around my individual needs."

Annabelle Williams also praised Bond’s personalised approach, commenting; "In addition to letting me mould my degree to suit my career aspirations, the flexible nature of Bond also allows me to take the time required to swim competitively and train at the elite level."

This article is an extract from the Bond University newsletter.
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