Games

Billionaire‘s shock $60 million move

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Australia’s richest person Gina Rinehart has made a $60 million surprise commitment to Aussie sports — but netball is reportedly not on the list.

It has been revealed that Rinehart, 69, stepped up her financial backing of Australian sport in the aftermath of the country’s tragic performance in the pool at the 2012 Olympics.

At those games, held in London, the Dolphins won just one gold medal, prompting Rinehart to get involved.

The mining magnate has pumped a staggering $60 million of her estimated $37.1b fortune into various Aussie Olympic teams in the years since, including swimming, volleyball and rowing.

The huge donations are thought to be the largest contribution by a sole benefactor to an Olympic team in the world, according to News Corp newspapers.

Not only that, but Rinehart is believed to place the cash directly with the athletes whom she deems need it most

According to the Herald Sun, there are now 75 Aussie swimmers and 50 rowers who receive annual compensation directly from Rinehart.

The surprising revelation comes after last year’s sensational clash between Rinehart and Netball Australia.

Rinehart ripped up X worth of funding for Netball Australia after it was revealed that Diamonds players had concerns about wearing a team uniform that included sponsorship branding from Ms Rinehart’s company.

Indigenous player Donnell Wallam was said to be uncomfortable wearing a uniform with the Hancock Prospecting logo, reportedly due to comments about Indigenous Australians made by Ms Rinehart’s father Lang Hancock in the 1980s.

Rinehart, whose fortune stems primarily from her mining company Hancock Prospecting, recently travelled to Japan to watch Australia’s swimming campaign at the World Aquatic Championships.

“A huge and warm congratulations to all our Aussie swimmers for their fantastic efforts in Fukuoka, representing Australia proudly and shining on the world stage,” she said after the event, where the Aussie team won more gold medals than any other country.

“I’m told this is Australia’s best ever international swimming performance. It’s very exciting to be here with these young role models and patriotic ambassadors.”

Australian swimming great Kyle Chalmers — who won three gold medals, in the men’s 100m freestyle, men’s 4x100m freestyle, and mixed 4x100m freestyle — even posted a photo of Rinehart and his mum watching side-by-side from the stands.

“My fourth World Championships was extra special,” Chalmers wrote, after his performance in the mixed 4x100m freestyle clocked a record time.

“I got to share my special moments with my Mum and Mrs Rinehart. The first time my Mum has seen me race live at a World Championships …! These are memories that I will cherish for a lifetime.”

Fellow Aussie swimmer Shayna Jack called Rinehart a “generous and supportive person”.

“More athletes would retire well and truly before their 30s if it wasn’t for Ms Rinehart’s generosity. Not only does she support us financially but she shows up,” Jack said.

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