Melanie is our guest

SPECIAL GUEST: Olympic gold medallist Melanie Schlanger will be the special guest at the Ballina Shire Australia Day celebrations to be held in Alstonville on January 26.
SPECIAL GUEST: Olympic gold medallist Melanie Schlanger will be the special guest at the Ballina Shire Australia Day celebrations to be held in Alstonville on January 26.

LONDON Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Melanie Schlanger will be the special guest at Ballina Shire's Australia Day ceremony in Alstonville on January 26 next year.

Melanie was part of the 4x100m freestyle relay team which won Australia's first gold medal at the 2012 Olympics.

Melanie then went on to win two silver medals in the 4x200m freestyle relay and 4x100m medley relay, as well as placing fourth in the individual 100m freestyle.

Melanie will make a public address as part of the official welcoming on Australia Day.

The swimmer had to overcome plenty of hardships in the lead-up to the Games.

In 2009, she developed a glandular fever-like illness, which forced her out of the Australian trials and, eventually, out of the pool entirely.

Melanie was forced to announce her early retirement - a huge disappointment for her.

After a stint of social swimming Melanie soon realised she still held a flame for the sport.

Ten months into her retirement, with her health regained, Melanie made the decision to return to the pool.

Ballina Shire Mayor David Wright said Melanie was "a remarkable young athlete who has achieved extraordinary results at the 2012 London Olympic Games".

"She was very humble in her triumphs and is a stand out athlete on the Australian swimming Olympic team.

"Melanie, like most athletes, has had an interesting path on her journey to success and we look forward to hearing her story as part of the official address on Australia Day."

The official Australia Day ceremony will be held on Saturday, January 26, at Elizabeth Ann Brown Park, Wardell Rd, Alstonville, (next to Crawford House) from 9am-11am, followed by a free pool party at the Alstonville pool from 11am-6pm.

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