Melanie Schlanger (now Melanie Wright) pictured during the 2012 London Olympic Games, where she scored her second Olympic gold medal.
PHOTO: AP Photo/Matt Slocum.
Melanie Schlanger (now Melanie Wright) pictured during the 2012 London Olympic Games, where she scored her second Olympic gold medal. PHOTO: AP Photo/Matt Slocum. Matt Slocum

Stars' Cars: Double Olympic gold medallist Melanie Wright

DOUBLE Olympic gold medallist is a rather nice way to be introduced, but Melanie Wright has enjoyed this enviable distinction since securing her second podium-topping performance on swimming's grandest stage.

But Olympic glory hasn't gone to her head unlike many sportspeople at the top of their game, so there's no Bugatti in Melanie's garage, instead she's stayed true to the reliable first car she bought.

We asked Melanie to goggle-up and tackle our searching motoring questions about her life with cars.

What was your first car?

I used to drive my brother's Mitsubishi Lancer when he went overseas. It was a good little car to have as a runabout because it wasn't too big.

The first car I bought was a blue 2006 Mazda3 manual: I still own it today and it's going strong. It doesn't have power windows which can be a bit annoying sometimes, but it's very reliable and in nearly 10 years of ownership it's never had a problem. If I was going to upgrade I'd probably get the same car again.

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RELIABLE: Melanie still owns and runs her trusty 2006 Mazda3 manual.

What car did you learn to drive in?

The family Toyota Prado. Learning to drive in a car that big makes every little car seem easy! Me and my brother and sister went through at least two clutches on the Prado, but it's still going strong today too.

What's your biggest frustration on the road?

People who struggle to merge, and those who sit in the far lane and won't move.

What's your favourite road to drive?

The coastal road up to Noosa on the Sunshine Coast. Beautiful scenery and it's a lovely drive as it winds its way beside the ocean.

Any preferred driving music?

I'm a sucker for Ben Folds and Missy Higgins, or I just throw on an old mix.

If you could choose anyone to go on a road trip who would it be and why?

My husband Chris would be my first choice of course, but a well-known person would be someone who's achieved incredible things and had an interesting life, someone like Steve Jobs, if he were still alive.

Do you consider yourself to be a good driver?

I like to think so, but I do get a little competitive sometimes and need to watch the speedo!

What would be your dream car, if money were no object?

I'm not too fancy with cars, so probably a BMW SUV or the BMW 3 Series. We can offer you an M3? Sounds good, let's go with that!

2014 BMW M3 from Coastline BMW. Photo: Iain Curry / Sunshine Coast Daily
DREAM MACHINE: Not one for fancy cars, nevertheless Melanie admits that a new BMW would be nice in the garage, so we suggested a new turbocharged M3. Iain Curry

Vital statistics

Name: Melanie Wright (nee Schlanger).

Born: August 31, 1986, Nambour, Queensland

Resume: Three bronze medals at the 2006 Pan Pacific Championships acted as a springboard for the 100m freestyle specialist, who scored gold in the 2007 World Championships in the 4x100m freestyle. The Beijing Olympics the following year brought the ultimate prize of a gold medal in the 4x200m freestyle, backed up by a bronze in the 4x100m.

The 2012 London Olympics brought even greater success: another gold medal - this time in the 4x100m freestyle, plus two silvers for the 4x200m freestyle and 4x100m medley. Last year Melanie brought back more gold from the Pan Pacifics and Commonwealth Games, and this year took gold again at the World Championships in the 4x100m freestyle.