Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited (MMAL) has welcomed home their “Magnificent Seven”, the seven young athletes the automotive importer sponsored during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
Official partner of the Australian Olympic Committee until 2012, Mitsubishi extended their sponsorship earlier this year to offer these individual athletes a helping hand in the lead up to the Beijing Games.
The Olympians sponsored - pole vaulter Steve Hooker, Opals’ point guard Erin Phillips, hurdler Sally McLellan, Hockeyroo Kate Hollywood, track cyclist Katie Mactier, swimmer Kenrick Monk, and steeplechaser Donna MacFarlane – recorded some fantastic results during the games.
Their achievements were celebrated by all MMAL staff, and, according to Vice President of Marketing and Brand Management, Paul Unerkov, each athlete achieved genuine greatness by rising to the top of their respective sports.
“Everyone at Mitsubishi is extremely proud of each and every one of our sponsored athletes for their determination and strength of character in achieving such great sporting accomplishments.”
“It is an amazing achievement to reach the Olympic level in any sport, and Erin, Steve, Kate, Donna, Sally, Kenrick and Katie should all hold their heads high for their amazing efforts,” said Unerkov.
Pole Vaulter Steve Hooker became Australia’s first male track and field medallist in 40 years when he won the gold medal in the final. After a nail biting qualifying round, Steve’s results on first and second attempts in the final round appeared to threaten his gold medal placement. In a cliff-hanger conclusion, Steve triumphed with a jump of 5.9 metres to secure the gold medal.
Australia’s women’s basketball team, the Opals, were completely undefeated in their qualifying pool matches in the lead up to the final. Mitsubishi’s sponsored athlete, point guard Erin Phillips and her team-mates faced off against four-time consecutive gold medallists, Team USA, and were defeated 92-65 in the gold medal final. Erin and the girls were delighted to take home silver after a near-perfect Olympic performance.
Sally McLellan emerged victorious in the 100m women’s hurdles finals, taking out the silver medal in a highly memorable Olympic moment. With a finishing time of 12.64 seconds, Sally danced with joy around the track, celebrating the successful culmination of her Olympic journey after a photo finish separated second place from fifth by a mere two-hundredths of a second.
The Hockeyroos’ Beijing Olympic campaign was very reminiscent of their efforts at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, where the women’s field hockey team failed to qualify for the finals. Mitsubishi sponsored athlete Kate Hollywood’s team finished in a 2-2 draw against China in the preliminary round, but due to superior goals difference, the host country was elevated into the semi-finals. Knowing their quest for a medal was over, Kate’s Hockeyroos then played off against Great Britain, winning 2-0 and finishing 5th.
Track cyclist Katie Mactier was a good chance for an Australian medal in the 3000m Individual Pursuit. In the qualifying round, Katie placed 7th, taking her into the semi-final round. In the semi-finals, Katie placed second overall, and was in hot contention for a medal in the final. In an unexpected turn of events however, Katie’s performance in the final left her in 7th place, with a time of 3:37.296.
A rising star in the Australian Olympic swimming team, Kenrick Monk was placed fifth in the preliminary round of the 200m Freestyle. Despite his admirable efforts against extremely strong competitors, Kenrick did not qualify for the semi-finals.
Donna MacFarlane admirably returned to elite athletics in the 3000m Steeplechase at the Beijing Games after a five year hiatus from competition. Her personal best had her tipped as a medal contender, but on the day Donna was placed 21st, failing to qualify for the final of her event.
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