Grandma's golden girl

PERINA TENDAM has become accustomed to seeing her grand-daughter's face splashed all over national newspapers and magazines.

After all, her grand-daughter is Stephanie Rice - the hottest property in Australian sport and swimming's latest Olympic golden girl.

Like any proud grandmother, Mrs Tendam has watched her grand-daughter's meteoric rise to success, but to her the Olympic athlete, glamour girl and now sex symbol will always be her 'little Steph'.

Mrs Tendam, who lives at Tweed Heads South with her husband Karel, keeps a vast collection of newspaper and magazine articles about Stephanie, but her favourite photograph is one taken when the 20-year-old Olympic gold medallist was just 17 months old.

Although holidaying overseas with her husband during the first half of the Beijing Olympics, Mrs Tendam still managed to watch most of Stephanie's races.

“We were lucky to see a lot of her heats and finals without really planning to,” she said. “I don't own a mobile so I couldn't even text her.”

But she did speak to Stephanie on her 20th birthday in the lead-up to her Olympic debut.

“She wasn't nervous, she is very natural. We all go on-and-on about her success and she just says 'Oh thanks'. She never boasts or anything.”

On Mrs Tendam's refrigerator is a poster of her grand-daughter's first magazine cover. It reads: 'To Grandma and Grandpa, My first cover! Love always, Steph Rice.'



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