Mel Rippon captained the Australian women's water polo team to the bronze medal at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008. It was the Queenslander's second Olympics, having made her debut in Athens alongside older sister Rebecca and step-sister Kate Gynther, where the team placed fourth.
Mel returned for her third Olympic competition in 2012, playing her first Olympics without sister, Rebecca by her side. After topping their group in the preliminary round the Aussies played extra time games in the quarter-final, semi-final and bronze medal decider. They defeated China in a penalty shoot-out before falling to their American rivals in the semi 11-9. The bronze medal game between Australia and Hungary provided more amazing drama. In a re-match of the Beijing bronze medal showdown the Hungarians scored in the final second to force an extra period. The Australians remained composed and scored the only two goals in added time to take home the bronze medal, 13-11.