Simplice lifts his way to Rio

VIS weightlifter Simplice Ribouem will make his Olympic debut in Rio following his Australian Olympic team selection today.

VIS weightlifter Simplice Ribouem will make his Olympic debut in Rio following his Australian Olympic team selection today.

The Olympics will mark a remarkable comeback for  Simplice after he was struck down by Malaria in 2015.

The 33 year old booked his spot on the plane to Brazil with a higher percentage total than dual Olympian Damon Kelly and Rio hopeful Francois Etoundi.

“This means a lot. It’s the top aim of every athlete. I tried in 2008, missed out in 2012 and this time I’ve made it.

“I don’t have the words, it’s just happiness to represent Australia and I now I need to fight to be on the podium.”

The Cameroon-born athlete had been back in his home country with family after his father passed away in early 2015 and it was there he contracted the disease.

Ribouem has been working with staff at the VIS, particularly on nutrition, as he returns from having around six months off the sport last year.

“I was on antibiotics before Fiji. I’ve managed to come back by training and antibiotics.

“I’ve been building up more strength and power. I’ve found that really helpful.”

It’s been an eventful career for Ribouem, after competing for Cameroon at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games he decided to stay in Australia and build a life. He’s since had two children (4 and 3) with his partner.  

Four years after moving here, he went on to represent his adopted country – claiming what he describes as his career highlight - a gold medal at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games and then silver at the Glasgow 2014 Games.

Ribouem headed into the competition in Fiji as the top ranked Australian male and cemented that position with strong lifting. 

“Before the competition I was quite confident. First we had to secure the quotas for Australia, then it was individual qualification.”

Since his relief at securing nomination for Rio, he’s had the past week off, spending some much needed time with his family.

Latest News

Being a visible ally this Pride Month hero image

Being a visible ally this Pride Month

June 13, 2024

As we embrace the spirit of Pride Month we speak to Sylvie Withers, Project Manager for Innovation and Research at the Victorian Institute of Sport, about how to be an effective ally for the LGBTQIA+ community.

Swimming through shadows: Daniel Kowalski's journey to self-acceptance hero image

Swimming through shadows: Daniel Kowalski's journey to self-acceptance

June 1, 2024

Daniel Kowalski, a swimming icon known for his historic Olympic feats, faced silent struggles with deep personal demons and the challenges of living a closeted life. Today, he channels his experiences into helping fellow athletes navigate their post-competition lives, emerging as a beacon of resilience and hope.

Between You & Me: Katharina and Alex Haecker hero image

Between You & Me: Katharina and Alex Haecker

May 30, 2024

Two dedicated judo enthusiasts from Hamburg have navigated their paths from local clubs to the international stage, as coach and athlete, and husband and wife. Their professional partnership in the earlier years and shared passion for judo set up a successful pathway for the pair, but their relationship off the judo mat guides their team oriented mindset to reach goals together.

Australian Sporting Network: Joint Reconciliation Statement hero image

Australian Sporting Network: Joint Reconciliation Statement

May 27, 2024

The Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS) is proud to again join its partners in sport to reaffirm its commitment to reconciliation.

'Shuttle vision' for Paris hero image

'Shuttle vision' for Paris

May 23, 2024

Australian Para-badminton will be represented at the 2024 Paralympic Games by two athletes who have travelled starkly different pathways but feel similar gratitude, determination and excitement about what lies ahead in Paris. 

Related news

See all our partners

VIS is proudly supported by