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: