WIN: International succcess

We are focused on getting more Australians, on more podiums, more often.

Australia’s Winning Edge, with its clear definition of success, defines the role of the AIS and our key partners in  the Australian high performance system and provides a national strategy outlining international performance targets for Australia. Our aspiration is for Australia to achieve a top 5 finish at the summer Olympic and  Paralympic  Games, top  15 at the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and more than 20 world champions annually. To enable this, the AIS provides targeted investment to those sports that demonstrate the greatest chances of short, medium and long-term international success. The AIS also administers the dAIS scheme that provides financial support to Australia’s emerging and top performing  athletes and grants to encourage innovation in high performance through the NSO Competitive Innovation Fund.

The ASC also assists sports in the area of governance, commercialisation, research, coaching and leadership, and talent identification. These initiatives aim to ensure that the high performance sector is positioned to achieve sustainable success. The long-term sustainability of the AIS is a key priority and in 2016–17 the ASC finalised the AIS Future Directions project which will be used to inform the role and operating model of the AIS, its services and facilities in the national high performance network.

The Win pillar is the cornerstone in the delivery of PBS Program Objective A, delivering international sporting success. Program Objective A outlines how the AIS will contribute to the ASC PBS Outcome 1.

Our approach

In 2016–17 the AIS continued to support the NSO high performance programs and their athletes under Australia’s Winning Edge as they undertook the final preparations for the 2016 Rio Olympics and Paralympics.

The AIS continued to lead improved alignment between the AIS and all system partners, particularly state and territory institutes and academies of sport, and lead the discussion around practical, alternative, high performance institute operating models that suit the Australian sporting environment.

Key activity areas included:

  • providing targeted investment to NSOs and athletes to enable them to develop high performance programs that achieve international success
  • providing support and advice to assist sports with high performance strategy, planning and program delivery
  • development and delivery of customised athlete, coach and leader talent initiatives to optimise high performance outcomes
  • planning, coordination and delivery of sports science and sports medicine expertise to ensure Australia’s athletes get the right support at the right time
  • supporting innovative solutions for prioritised sports and promoting the growth of new knowledge and expertise for high performance sport
  • facilitating a more aligned and streamlined performance network that supports Australia’s Winning Edge identified athletes and teams across jurisdictions.

Our Results

Table 6: ASC performance against Win deliverables
DeliverableResult Supporting statement
Top  5 at Rio Olympics1Not Achieved 10th on the medal tally. Total medals:  29 (eight gold, 11 silver, 10 bronze).
Top 5 at Rio Paralympics1Achieved 5th on the medal tally. Total medals:  81 (22 gold, 30 silver, 29 bronze).
More than 20 world champions1Achieved 26 able bodied world champions (16  carried over due to no world championship level event and 10 new world champions). 24 Paralympic world champions (19 carried over due to no world championship level event and five new world champions).
85 per cent of Australia’s Winning Edge funded sports rated by the AIS as achieving the performance targets1,2Significant Progress 30 out of 39 able bodied sports achieved benchmark targets. 11 out of 16 Paralympic sports achieved benchmark targets. Overall this provides a result of 75 per cent.
2016 Annual Sport Performance Review (ASPR) shows improvement in the high performance (HP) capability of NSOs across the six HP drivers1,2 Significant Progress Across the six HP drivers there have been improvements in the three areas of coaching, daily training environment and Research and Innovation. However slight declines in the three areas of athletes, leadership and competition.
Remaining National Institute Network (NIN) recommendations implemented on schedule1Achieved Implementation of the NIN Review is now completed. The recommendations have been agreed and addressed as a result of targeted actions, ongoing evolution of Australia’s Winning Edge and the national high performance system, or are being incorporated in new undertakings of Australia’s Winning Edge, the AIS or the NIN.
AIS Future Directions Project considers the role of the AIS in driving national system alignment and coordination1Achieved The primary objective of this project was to assess the future role and responsibilities of the AIS both as a national sports agency as  well as a provider of high performance daily training and research and medical facilities. Consultation conducted throughout the project sought stakeholder feedback on the role of the AIS in the context of the national system, with a particular focus on achieving improved system alignment and co-ordination.
750 athletes received dAIS funding to help achieve their high performance outcomes1,2Achieved 936 athletes from 33 sports received a total of $13.12 million through dAIS grants in  2016–17.
AIS Future Directions Project informs the AIS operating model1Achieved The outcomes of the AIS Future Directions Project have been incorporated into the ASC’s strategic planning process that includes the future design of the AIS operating  model.

Australia finished tenth on the medal tally at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games with 29 medals (8 gold, 11 silver and 10 bronze). While this fell short of the Australia’s Winning Edge target of a top-five position there were promising signs for the future with 136 athletes aged 20-24 finishing in the top eight of their event. Athletes in this age bracket accounted for half of all the Australian athletes that recorded top eight results. The Australian Paralympic team was fifth on the medal tally at the Rio Paralympic Games and strong performances resulted in 81 medals: 22 gold, 30 silver and 29 bronze. The AIS provided support throughout both the Olympic and Paralympic Games with high performance staff seconded to the Australian Olympic Committee and Australian Paralympic Committee teams.

The AIS has delivered a number of key initiatives under the Win pillar in 2016–17, including provision of funding to 41 NSOs, with more than $103 million in high performance funding distributed. A total of 75 per cent of Australia’s Winning Edge funded sports achieved their targets in benchmark events3 during 2016–17. This is below the target of 80 per cent, however represents an increase from the 73 per cent reported in 2015–16. Under Australia’s Winning Edge measurement criteria,4 there were 26 able bodied world champions in 2016–17, including 10 athletes or teams crowned world champion between July 2016 and June 2017 and a further 16 athletes who reign as world champions from 2015–16 because their sport has not held a benchmark event. For Paralympic sports, there were five new world champion athletes or teams and 19 athletes or teams who hold the world championship title for a total of 24 world champions.

Under the dAIS program, 983 athletes from 33 sports were identified as meeting the performance criteria. A small number of athletes were either ineligible to receive grants due to means testing or elected not to accept dAIS offers for other reasons, resulting in 936 athletes receiving the $13.12 million allocated through grants in 2016–17. Commonwealth Games Australia’s contribution to dAIS in 2016–17 enabled additional support to athletes. This included an additional 90 emerging athletes who otherwise would not have achieved dAIS funding.

As of June 2016, more than 2,500 athletes are being tracked through the Athlete Management System and 861 athletes are registered on myAISplaybook, an online resource developed as part of the Personal Excellence Program providing support and guidance for elite athletes. Since the launch in 2014–15 a total of 3,227 athletes have enrolled in myAISplaybook.

The AIS works with sector partners to evolve and refine the national high performance system under Australia’s Winning Edge. The NIN review was completed with actionable recommendations agreed to and the AIS Future Directions project considered the AIS’ role in the network. This project work, which included assessing the future role and responsibilities of the AIS both as a national sports agency as well as a provider of high performance daily training and research and medical facilities, is being incorporated into the ASC strategic planning process.

The Centre for Performance Coaching and Leadership (CPCL) offered a range of customised solutions for coach and leader talent across 2016–17. This included the three core programs (Performance Coach, Podium Coach and Performance Leaders) which continue to be oversubscribed. CPCL have also focused on delivering sport specific coaching, leadership and coaching science programs in 15 sports which have included profiling, HP strategy development, competition readiness and coach transition support. Systemic offerings have included WC2WB Conference, Rio prebrief and debrief and Rio Benchmark Event Survey.

Mental Health in Sport workshops conducted in 2016–17 were evidence-based and facilitated initiatives designed to educate and up-skill those who work in high performance sport on aspects of promotion, prevention and early intervention of mental health issues. The workshop demonstrated the relevance of mental health to performance in a sporting context and equipped participants with the knowledge and skills to identify and respond to the management of mental health. There has been strong demand for these workshops with 273 people across four states and nine NSOs engaged through the eight workshops.

The AIS remains a leader in promoting gender equality and in 2016–17 designed a new Women in Sport Leadership Program ‘Stepping In’. The program was launched on International Women’s Day, 8 March 2017, by Minister Hunt and the Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash. The program aims to provide intensive targeted leadership development opportunities for identified future women leaders in sport. The program is being delivered by Melbourne Business School over one year through a series of face-to-face residential labs, immersive experiences, executive coaching, individual assessment and regular feedback and reflection sessions. In its first year the program is supporting 18 women with placements determined through a competitive selection process.

Investment in the next generation continues with the Local Sport Champions program funding 5,699 emerging sportswomen and sportsmen with a total of $2.85m in 2016–17. The program provides $500 grants for athletes, coaches, umpires or referees aged 12–18 years old to attend an official NSO or School Sport Australia endorsed state, national or international sporting. The funding assists in covering the cost of travel, accommodation, uniforms or equipment and helps reduce monetary barriers for families with children participating in elite sport


1 2015-19 Corporate Plan and 2015-16 Annual Operational Plan
2 Portfolio Budget Statements 2015-16
3 Benchmark events include the world championship event or equivalent for: all Olympic & Paralympic disciplines; non Olympic disciplines in Foundation sports; and peak events for other able bodied Australia’s Winning Edge sports.
4 Where an athlete is crowned world champion in multiple events or disciplines the athlete is only counted once for the purpose of the Australia’s Winning Edge target.