Sydney, Aug.11 : Olympic gold medallist Stephanie Rice's grandfather, Jack, has refuted allegations that his granddaughter is a party animal, and describes as a swimmer par excellence with a down to earth approach to life.
"The media has tried to portray her as a party girl, but that is not right. She is really down to earth and she puts on that act just for a bit of fun," an Australian daily quoted Jack, as saying.
"What you see on television - there's no airs and graces about Stephanie, that's just natural. That's just the way she is," he adds.
With a cabinet that is already overflowing with medals, Jack has suggested Stephanie now reserve the wooden cabinet for gold medals only.
"I made her this cabinet to put on the wall, to show (her medals) off," Jack, 90, said this morning.
"There was room for about 50 medals in that and she filled that in no time.
"Now I told her she will just have to reserve that for gold medals and put the others in a drawer."
Clearly elated at the thought of his Clayfield granddaughter capturing Australia's first gold medal of the Games in the 400 metres individual medley yesterday, Jack said the result was never in doubt.
"I thought it was a well-controlled race and I always felt quite confident that she would win it," he said.
"She's a great fighter. She is in wonderful condition and that is one of her great attributes that she can swim flat out for the full distance."
And, if Jack is a good judge, a second gold medal for Stephanie is close at hand.
He rates her a strong chance of adding to her gold medal tally in the 200 metres individual medley later this week.
Jack said it was during a holiday at Caloundra when the family realised the young Stephanie had a special touch.
"She seemed to have a natural tendency to be able to swim up and down the pool. There would hardly be a ripple in the water," he said.
"It was a unit where we were having a holiday up at Caloundra and there was pool at the back of the unit block.
"That was the first I saw her swim and you would have thought she had been swimming for years. And she has gone on from there."