I, like all of you sport enthusiasts, have loved every moment of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. I was fortunate enough to be invited to visit Tokyo Japan a few years ago for a government trade delegation for Sports Innovation – incredible culture, people and country.
Through what would have to be the most challenging games lead-up ever seen by a host city, the Japanese have delivered an amazing spectacle, one that the world desperately needed. Hope, survival, jubilation and despair, all on show with the most amazing stories being told along the way, inspiring a world full of young, inspire athletes.
From a Sports perspective, I’ve reflected on two important themes on what comes next for Australia –
- The first being that to date Australia has won a tremendous number of medals, mostly in water sports (over 80% of our 40 medals). Our “island continent” is building a formidable reputation and I get the impression Australia will continue to improve from strength-to-strength in future Olympics and on the global sporting stage, along with New Zealand who also benefit from a rowing, sailing, canoeing excellence.
- The second is that Australia is beginning on the journey of what could be remembered as the greatest decade of women’s sports. A combination of the right place, the right time and the right government and enterprise leadership – not just for women to be the equals of men in Australia, but becoming exceptional across the full spectrum of elite sports, grassroots sports and participation of women and girls in sports. This includes the digitization and data-driven transformation of women’s sports to be safer, fairer, more equal, more sustainable, more participation and greater viewership.
Largest Women’s Sports Events
Australia is on the cusp of hosting four of the largest Sporting events in the world in the coming decade which will continue to build momentum for girls and women to be more active and get more involved in sports:
- FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022
- FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023
- Netball World Cup 2027
- Australian 2032 Olympics (where women will continue to shine)
World-Class Sports Role models
Women’s sport is receiving more media coverage than ever. The recognisable faces of female superstar athletes are everywhere. Australia has some of the world’s leading sporting talent and female world champions:
- Sam Kerr (world-leading soccer player)
- Ash Barty (world #1 tennis player)
- McKeown / Campbell / McKeon / Titmus (swimming)
- Sally Fitzgibbons and Stephanie Gilmore and others (surfing)
- Ellyse Perry and Alyssa Healy (cricket stars)
- Jessica Fox (canoeist)
- Poppy Star-Olsen (skateboarding)
- Jamie Kah (record breaking Victorian Jockey)
- Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy (beach volleyball)
- Jo Weston / Gretel Bueta (netball)
- Saya Sakakibara (BMX)
Let’s not also forget the growing domestic reputation of the AFLW and it’s players and role models.
With growing audiences and expanding coverage, the market for women’s sports rights is starting to develop into the mainstream. I’ve been very fortunate in leading our NETFIT community to be supported by some talented female role models from across Australia, New Zealand, England, South Africa and globally. Reflecting on Tokyo 2020 and the triumph of running such a colossus event in uncertain times – it shows we can do anything we put our mind to achieving. The young girls of today will be totally unstoppable tomorrow thanks to our parents, grandparents and those who stood their ground for a better, more inclusive and gender equal life.
Women don’t want favouritism. We just want equality in sports and everyday life. That’s all we’ve ever wanted. And I’m proud that my homeland of Australia looks on track over the next decade to become one of the first places to finally start to achieve it and, using the vehicle of major sports events and sports involvement, to show the world how beautiful it is.
Over the coming weeks I will look to shine a light on what women in sport, and sports administration, are inspiring me to be better for our community and for Australia as a whole.
In the meantime, I’m going to sit back and enjoy as our Golden Girls continue to lead the way with gold, grace and class all the way.