UQ has celebrated the incredible achievements of its students, scholarship recipients, alumni, and UQ Sport club members on the world’s biggest stage.
Sixteen UQ athletes competed at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August, bringing home a collection of gold, silver and bronze medals, and recording a host of personal-best performances.
Former Bachelor of Health, Sport and Physical Education student Emilee Cherry was a member of Australia’s Women’s Sevens Rugby team, which became the sport’s first-time Olympic champions after defeating New Zealand in the gold-medal match.
Cherry starred for Australia on a dramatic final day of competition. The 2013–14 World Rugby Women’s Sevens Player of the Year scored two tries in Australia’s 17–5 semi-final win over Canada, and played a key role in the final, with the Aussie Pearls easing to a 24–17 win in the historic decider.
Cyclist and former Bachelor of Human Movement Studies student Michael Hepburn was part of Australia’s Men’s Team Pursuit foursome that claimed a silver medal.
Hepburn helped Australia to a big lead midway through the gold-medal race against Great Britain. But the world record-setting British squad – featuring Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish – stormed home in the final stages to claim gold. The medal adds to the silver Michael won in the Team Pursuit at the 2012 London Games.
Diver and Bachelor of Science student Maddison Keeney won a bronze medal in the Women’s 3m Synchronised Springboard event.
Competing in her first Olympic Games, UQ Sports Achievement Scholarship recipient Keeney and teammate Anabelle Smith trailed for much of the event, before a final-round dive lifted the duo into third place. The pair finished on 299.19 points to deny Canada bronze by 0.87 of a point.
Race walker and Bachelor of Health, Sport and Physical Education student Dane Bird-Smith claimed a bronze medal in the Men’s 20km Walk. The UQ Sports Achievement Scholarship holder, UQ Athletics Club member, and UQ Sport Sportsman of the Year set a personal best time of 1:19:37 to finish just 23 seconds behind China’s Wang Zhen, who won gold.
Other UQ Olympians included Caitlin Sargent (4x400m Relay, Athletics), Tonga’s flag-bearer Pita Taufatofua (Taekwondo), Bianca Hammett (Syncronised Swimming), Danielle Prince (Rhythmic Gymnastics), Alana Boyd (Pole Vault), Fiona Albert (Rowing), Ashley Stoddart (Laser Radial, Sailing), Josh Robinson (Javelin), Con Foley and Nick Malouf (Sevens Rugby), Cedric Dubler (Decathlon), and Emma Moffatt (Triathlon).
For the full results of all UQ's Olympians, visit UQ News.
UQ was also represented at the Paralympics in Rio in September, with students, graduates and members of the University community achieving success.
Swimmer Brenden Hall (S9 and SM9 classes) won gold in the S9 400m Freestyle, defending his Paralympic title from London in 2012.
The Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Sciences student also won a silver medal in the S9 100m Freestyle, finishing second behind Australian teammate Tim Disken. Brenden won his third medal of the Games, claiming bronze in the S9 100m Backstroke.
Fellow swimmer Blake Cochrane (SB7 and S8 classes) took silver in the SB7 100m Breaststroke. The former Sport and Exercise Science student and UQ Blue recipient added to the gold medal he won for the same event in London in 2012.
Debuting in Rio, 15-year-old UQ Swim Club member Katja Dedekind (S13 class) won a bronze medal in the women’s S13 100m Backstroke.
Chris Bond (3.5 class) was part of the Australian team to claim gold in the Wheelchair Rugby final win over the USA. Bond scored 21 goals in the Steelers’ 59–58 double-overtime victory.
Other members of the UQ community to compete at the Paralympics included Brad Mark (shooting, 2H2 class), Raissa Martin (goalball, B3 class), and Torita Isaac (athletics, T38 class).
For the full results of all UQ's Paralympians, visit UQ News.