Sport Sport Focus Australia’s most influential sportsperson revealed

Australia’s most influential sportsperson revealed

Stephanie Rice won three gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Photo: Getty
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Stephanie Rice is best known to Australians as a three-time Olympic Games champion.

The swimmer, still only 28, called time on her career in 2014 due to a series of shoulder problems.

But she’s still making every post a winner after swimming, embarking on a successful career in business and public speaking.

And Rice’s influence was evident when she topped the list of LinkedIn’s most viewed sports professionals in Australia for 2016.

LinkedIn said the list was compiled using “member data over 2015-2016 to arrive at the Power Profiles 2016 list”.

“We also applied filters to capture engagement levels and other actions on the platform. LinkedIn employees were excluded from the list.”

The business-oriented networking website offers users a chance to ‘connect’ with each other and boasts more than 400 million members – of which, according to an IAB and Nielsen study earlier this year, almost seven million come from Australia.

Rice’s inclusion at the top of the sports list – and among the website’s ‘Power Profiles’ – could be seen as a surprise given the fact she retired more than two years ago.

Six-time BMX and mountain bike world champion Caroline Buchanan – favoured to win a gold medal at the Rio Olympics only to miss the final – was behind Rice in second.

Next was football coach and former player Mark Robertson, surfer Sally Fitzgibbons and Australia’s coaches in men’s football (Ange Postecoglou) and cricket (Darren Lehmann).

In an interview with LinkedIn, Rice said of her new life: “I get to travel, I get to work my own hours whenever I want and I get to meet really amazing people.”

She added that it was “important, definitely” to invest your own personal brand and added: “I do a lot of mentoring workshops.

“I try and use my spare time listening to audio books or YouTube clips, something that will grow my knowledge and education.”

Post-retirement life

While Rice retired in 2014, she last raced in 2012, giving her plenty of time to prepare for life after swimming.

Rice, who was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2009, won television show The Celebrity Apprentice in 2013.

Her victory, at just 24, made her the youngest contestant worldwide to win the program.

stephanie rice
Rice celebrates her win with The Celebrity Apprentice host Mark Bouris. Photo: AAP

Since then, she has co-authored a book The Art of Wellness – which focuses on nutrition – exercise and lifestyle, and has embarked on business ventures in India.

She will soon launch her children’s swimwear company RACERiCE, and is an ambassador for several companies including Russell Athletic and Bioglan.

Rice is busy on the public speaking and media circuit, explaining why she proves so popular on the LinkedIn platform.

When talking to The Daily Mail about why she was single in April, Rice said: “I can’t see how it [a relationship] would really work.

“I’m in Melbourne, or Sydney every week, I’m travelling to India, are they going to come with me?”

Rice has previously dated swimmer Eamon Sullivan and rugby union star Quade Cooper.

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