Australia’s high-performance sport policy

20 Nov 2020

In the six years leading up to the Olympic Games Sydney 2000, the Australian Federal Government invested heavily in high-performance sport, providing an additional AUD 135 million of funding to support the country’s athletes. The investment paid off: Australia won 58 medals at the Games, including 16 golds. The momentum from this success resulted in continued investment in all levels of sport over the following decade.

Between 2001 and 2011, the Australian Government launched a 10-year plan, “Backing Australia’s Sporting Ability”, which dedicated AUD 408 million to initiatives designed to increase sporting participation at all levels, as well as boosting international-level athletes’ funding so that they could stay competitive on the world stage. As a result, Australia performed strongly at both Athens 2004 (50 medals won, including 17 gold) and Beijing 2008 (46 medals, including 14 gold).

At high-performance level, another legacy of Sydney 2000 was the establishment of the Australian Youth Olympic Festival. Funded directly by the Australian Olympic Committee’s profits from Sydney 2000, the festival was a biannual multi-sport event which ran from 2001 to 2013, with the aim of giving aspiring Olympic athletes from around the world a taste of international competition, preparing them for the experience of the Olympic Games. The festival proved to be a forerunner to the IOC’s Youth Olympic Games, which were first held in Singapore in 2010.

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