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Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting demanded Dawn Fraser be approached to become Swimming Australia president and wanted to control how sponsorship money was spent before a fallout with the Olympic sport’s peak body. The mining company had stipulations such as serving only tea and coffee at board meetings and providing perks to Fraser, such as free international flights and a daily allowance. Rinehart has invested up to $80 million in Olympic sports since 2012, with swimmers crediting her for allowing them to continue competing.

An investigation revealed the extent to which Rinehart sought to influence Australian swimming and protect its public image through Hancock’s sponsorship. Even after parting ways with Swimming Australia in 2021, Rinehart continued to sponsor top swimmers through Swimming Queensland. The company made demands during sponsorship renegotiations, including appointing Fraser as president and directing how sponsorship money should be spent. The ultimatums were too much for Swimming Australia, leading to the termination of the relationship.

Rinehart’s sponsorship gives her influence over Australia’s swim team, with requests that go beyond financial support. She has been involved in decisions such as swimmers protesting against portraits of her in prominent galleries and requesting the removal of certain acknowledgments in staff communications. Her involvement in the sport includes unique requests, such as swimming in the competition pool at world championships and being present to send off Australia’s swimmers before the Tokyo Olympics.

Despite the acrimonious split with Swimming Australia, Rinehart retains a strong influence in swimming and other Olympic sports like rowing and volleyball. Her support provides a significant boost to athletes who may struggle for funding outside of government support. While there have been tensions with Swimming Australia, Rinehart’s relationship with other sports organizations remains positive. She is focused on ensuring her company is well represented and has a strong commitment to supporting athletes in pursuing their dreams.

Rinehart’s backing has had a significant impact on Australian athletes, providing them with financial support that complements government funding. Her contributions have been recognized by athletes and officials who appreciate her dedication to the sport and the opportunities she creates for athletes to compete at the highest level. Rinehart’s involvement in sports sponsorship extends beyond just financial support, as she plays a role in promoting her company’s brand and ensuring that athletes are well represented.

As Rinehart prepares to sponsor the Australian Olympic Committee at the upcoming Paris Games, her commitment to supporting Australian athletes remains unwavering. Despite the controversy surrounding her relationship with Swimming Australia, her influence and contributions to sports like swimming and rowing are widely acknowledged. Rinehart’s involvement in sports sponsorship has made a significant difference in the lives of athletes, enabling them to pursue their sporting dreams and represent their country on the world stage.

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