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A podium view

There are so many obvious reasons to be proud of Australian sporting performance in 2015. There was a lot to celebrate.

The brilliant Socceroos triumphed at the Asian Cup football tournament on home soil, as did the Australian men’s cricket team at the World Cup.

The Australian Diamonds continued to assert their dominance on international netball by winning a third consecutive World Cup, while the Southern Stars travelled to England for cricket’s fiercest rivalry and returned with the Ashes.

The Australian Wallabies and the Matildas were gallant in their respective rugby and women’s football World Cups. Australia’s Olympic sports of swimming and cycling were in top form. The Australian cycling team finished on top of the medal table at the 2015 World Track Cycling Championships. Australia’s swimming team, the Dolphins, finished second to the USA in overall medals at the 2015 FINA world
championships but led the tally based on Olympic disciplines.

In 2016, public attention rightly turns to the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games. There is cause for optimism.

This is the third edition of Sports Tally, the Australian Institute of Sport’s annual report card for its high-performance sport strategy, Australia’s Winning Edge. We can also look back with great satisfaction at how far the high-performance sporting sector has come and what we’ve achieved together in the first three years of a 10-year plan.

Since the 2012 London Olympics, Australia has claimed 115 world championship medals across 19 sports in summer and winter Olympic events, including 34 gold. Australians have claimed 194 world championship medals across 12 sports in Paralympic events, including 70 gold.

Building and leading a more sustainable sporting system means the AIS has become more streamlined, with savings injected directly back into sport.

The AIS has directly funded Summer Olympic sports $340 million in this four-year cycle to Rio, an increase of more than 10 per cent on the similar period leading to London. In addition, more than 1100 athletes have benefitted from about $41 million in direct funding grants from the AIS, known as dAIS. This is up 40 per cent.

The AIS has placed an emphasis on our emerging talent too, tracking more than 2000 athletes as it forecasts athlete pathways. The AIS Podium Coach program is another initiative of Winning Edge. In the past three years it has supported the professional development of more than 160 coaches and leaders.

This is just some of the evidence that shows Australia’s sporting system continues to adapt to change and that 2016 can be another successful year of progress.

This year’s edition of Sports Tally tells a positive story too. According to our expert analytics based on high-performance outcomes, 11 sports have improved their ranking. Just two, gymnastics and surfing, have declined, although surfing is still rated highly as ‘performing’.

Of the 39 able-bodied programs from 33 sports assessed in Sports Tally, 21 are rated ‘on track’ or better. This compares to 15 in last year’s Sports Tally.

The same analysis in para-sport shows five sports have improved their ranking and none have been rated in decline. Of the 17 Para programs from 16 sports assessed, 13 are rated ‘on track’ or better compared to nine last year.

These are good signs and we are confident our athletes will represent Australia proudly in Rio.

Sports Tally changes in status, 2014-2015: Graph shows that 11 able-bodied sports have improved their status from 2014-2015, 27 have remained steady, and two have declined. Of the 17 para sports, five have increased their ranking and 12 have remained steady.


Sports Tally progress: Graph shows how many were rated in each category in 2014 and in 2015. In able-bodied sports: Underperforming (2 in 2014, 1 in 2015); Progressing (21,  17), On track (10, 16); Performing (4, 4); Excelling (1, 1). In para sports: Underperforming (1, 1); Progressing (7, 3); On track (8, 11); Performing  (1, 2); Excelling (0, 0).

Like previous editions of Sports Tally, benchmark targets for the year ahead have been determined by
reviewing evidence and taking into account:

  • performances of athletes and sports over the past three years;
  • the international competitive profi le of each sport and potential to achieve an outcome at their major benchmark event.
Targets are only one consideration when assessing the overall effectiveness of a sport’s high performance program. A strong priority is also placed on governance.

Collaboration, coordination and teamwork are essential.

The AIS remains focussed on working with the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC), the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC), sports and athletes to achieve peak performance.

We’re very proud that a big contingent of AIS people will be on the team in Rio supporting our athletes.

The AIS team has continued to engage regularly with coaches, athletes, performance directors and support personnel across all of the agencies engaged in the Australian high-performance sport sector.

While a platform has been set over the past three years, the AIS continues to focus on sustainable success. Increasing global competition means that it is important to plan beyond a four-year period and the AIS has been driving discussions with sports to consider plans that take into account the next eight to 10 years.

The AIS has worked extensively with the National Institute Network to develop and implement a comprehensive planning process through to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

We are already planning ahead for huge events to come in the next few years, including the 2018 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

Along with millions of sport-loving Australians, I look forward to seeing how our magnificent and inspirational athletes perform this year and we wish them all the best.

We thank our hard-working sports and athletes for their willingness to embrace the changes we have made to ensure the continued good health and on-going success of Australia’s proud sporting culture.

Matt Favier
AIS Director

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