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Paralympian named Athlete in Residence

Matthew Hogan

10 February 2016: Five-time Paralympian and three-time medallist Richard Nicholson has been named the University of Canberra's athlete in residence for 2016.

The appointment will give students the opportunity to work with and learn from Mr Nicholson and his experience as an elite athlete. It will also see him assist in a variety of research projects across disciplines such as sports and exercise, health, media and education.

Mr Nicholson said he was honoured to be approached for the role at the University, where he obtained a Bachelor of Applied Science - Sports Administration in 2002.

"Being a former graduate I know what a great institution the University of Canberra is and it has certainly gone from strength to strength since I was last on campus with all the new sporting facilities," he said.

"I am hoping that my experiences and the knowledge I have acquired throughout my professional and athletic careers will be of interest and more importantly educational for the students at UC."

Mr Nicholson competed at all five Paralympic Games between 1996 and 2012, winning a silver medal at Sydney 2000 for powerlifting, a silver medal at Athens 2004 in the 4 x 100 relay, and a bronze at London 2012 in the 4 x 400 relay. Additionally, he has medalled at the Commonwealth Games and competed at the International Paralympic Committee World Championships in both powerlifting and athletics.

He has also been a proud ambassador for sport in Canberra for many years. He has been employed as a sports consultant at the Australian Sports Commission, managing national programs in disability, sport for development and talent transfer programs for 16 years.

He is a current member on the Athletics ACT Board, member of the ACT Inclusion Council, ambassador for the International Day of Disability and has previously worked closely with the Variety Children's Charity and been a board member for NiCAN, a national disability information service.

Mr Nicholson is the second athlete to be named athlete in residence at the University of Canberra, following the tenure of Australia's fastest woman, Melissa Breen.

The Athlete in Residence position is a cross-university initiative led by the University's Faculty of Health. The Faculty's Dean, Professor Diane Gibson, said the athlete in residence program at the University of Canberra aims to enrich student and staff experiences by allowing close access to elite Australian athletes.

"The program brings great benefits to the University including developing links to external organisations, as well as opportunities to financially support our students and enhance education, research and collaboration activities.

"In 2016, year of the Paralympics, we chose to elect an athlete with a disability to widen the University's appreciation of the experiences of Paralympians and the sporting activities of people living with disability in the community," Professor Gibson said.

"We welcome Richard as our Athlete in Residence for 2016 and look forward to working with him throughout the year."

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