Stephanie Rice youngest Celebrity Apprentice winner

Host Mark Bouris with series 3 winner Stephanie Rice.
Host Mark Bouris with series 3 winner Stephanie Rice. Channel 9/WIN

OLYMPIC Gold medalist Stephanie Rice is now TV's golden girl after winning Celebrity Apprentice tonight.

The 24-year-old became the third ever winner of Nine's reality show after impressing host and judge Mark Bouris, who called her a "worthy winner".

She beat out former world champion boxer Jeff Fenech, Sydney PR queen Roxy Jacenko and runner John Steffensen.

"To have that tick of approval by Mr Bouris and to know that he basically is supporting the journey I'm on and knows I have potential to have success in the business world is a huge confidence lift," she told APN.

"Being a competitive athlete you naturally want to get as far as you can…. but I'm not a businesswoman per se.

"I didn't think I'd get as far as I did."

Rice didn't find out that she'd won until the show aired tonight.

Alternate endings were filmed to keep the outcome a tightly guarded secret.

"It was really strange," Rice said.

"We were all super confused when it happened. We couldn't understand if they had chosen a winner and were using other footage as backup in case something happened."

She is celebrating her win at home tonight with a few close girlfriends.

Rice raised $121,750, including the $100,000 grand prize, for Jump Rope for Heart.

She said working with the charity Youth Off The Streets in the final two challenges was emotional and draining.

"We'd already called everyone we knew for money," she said.

"To get to the end and have to recall everyone really tested how well connected you are."

Rice was the youngest contestant on the show this year and the youngest ever winner.

She is more than half the age of last year's winner Ian "Dicko" Dickson and nearly half the age of 2011's inaugural winner Julia Morris.

The only celebrities younger than Rice to have ever competed on the show are model Jesinta Campbell and sportswoman Lauryn Eagle.

The total amount of money raised this year, $862,941.10, far exceeded the $789,000 total last year and the $639,000 raised in the first series.

Rice said her win has given her the confidence to manage her children's swimwear range which she started last year.

Topics:  celebrity apprentice editors picks stephanie rice

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