Aussie Coach Laurie Lawrence, benefactor Gina Rinehart awarded Orders of Merit by Australian Olympic Committee

Two staples of the Australian swimming community were honored last month by the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC). Former Olympic coach Laurie Lawrence and businesswoman Gina Rinehart, a direct financial supporter of Australia’s elite swimmers, were each honored with a prestigious Order of Merit award.

Lawrence has been a steady presence on the Aussie Olympic team since 1984, serving on all 8 Olympic teams since the ’84 Los Angeles Games. Lawrence was a coach for the 1984, 1988 and 1992 games, and has stayed on with the team as an Athlete Liaison Officer and Village Activities Coordinator, according to the AOC. He’s well-known for his inspirational speeches, which often include Lawrence reciting poetry for his athletes.

Rinehart, meanwhile, works through the Georgina Hope Foundation to financially support athletes in both swimming and volleyball. The AOC reports that 122 swimmers receive direct financial support thanks to Rinehart’s generosity. She’s been supporting Australian sports like swimming through various avenues for nearly 20 years, says the AOC. This has been a big year for Rinehart, as she was also named Patron of Volleyball Australia in early 2014.

You can read the AOC’s official announcements for the two here:

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6 years ago

One of the great names of the Australian swimming history amongst so many of the past.

6 years ago

HIs two swimmers created the most stunning upsets in two olympics in a row:
1. Jon Sieben, who’s only 5’7″, broke WR and won 200 fly in 1984 where he stunned Gross, the albatross, the finest and greatest 200 flyer in the 80s. The analogy would be like if Le Clos beat Phelps in 2008 instead in 2012.
2. Duncan Armstrong broke WR and won 200 free in 1988, stunned Biondi, Gross, Holmertz, Wojdat.

Here’s the iconic Lawrence’s exuberance reaction in 1988:

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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