In London the Australians earned just 35 medals with only seven gold, their worst result since 1992.
Australia’s Olympic results since the 2000 games in Sydney:
- 2000 Olympics – 58 medals (16 gold, 25 silver, 17 bronze) and 4th in the medal standings
- 2004 Olympics – 50 medals (17 gold, 16 silver, 17 bronze) and 4th in the medal standings
- 2008 Olympics – 46 medals (14 gold, 15 silver, 17 bronze) and 6th in the medal standings
- 2012 Olympics – 35 medals (7 gold, 16 silver, 12 bronze) and 10th in the medal standings
Because of these results a huge amount of effort and resources were put into both evaluating the Australian sports system and coming up with a strategy to improve performance. The result of those efforts was the Winning Edge program which was unveiled in November of 2012.
At the time the program was released Matt Favier the Direction of the Australian Institute stated the programs goals as:
- Being a top five nation at the Summer Olympics and Paralympics
- Being a top 15 nation at the Winter Olympics and Paralympics
- Being he number one nation at the Commonwealth Games
- To have 20 world champions annually
The Australians have exceeded their target when it comes to world champions, which would point to them having a strong chance at achieving their next three goals. Australians have won 115 world championship medals across 19 sports in summer and winter Olympic events, including 34 gold; and 194 world championship medals across 12 sports in Paralympic events, including 70 gold.
Favier has been happy with the progress and is very optimistic with what Australians should be able to achieve in Rio, ““Australian sport has already taken significant steps forward,” Favier told FOX Sports Australia. “The AIS and our partners are confident Australia can improve our Olympic result in Rio and reverse what has been a declining trend on the Olympic gold medal tally since 2004.”
“By the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games [in 2018] our target would be for Australia to regain its position as the number one Commonwealth nation.
“Progressive improvement and analysis of results over the past three years give us great optimism that our sports and athletes are more aligned than ever and are on the right track for sustainable success.”
Since the inception of the program there has been $300 million (AUD) spent on improving the nation’s sporting programs. The percentage of those funds were given out based on the following criteria:
- The sports ability to contribute to the plans stated goals (see above)
- The sports ability to demonstrate integrity, which will include anti-doping policies and procedures, that will enhance Australia’s image internationally as well as create a positive example for all Australians
- The sports ability to demonstrate a high quality of governance, adminstrative and financial practices so that the ASC can see that the NSO is using public money effectively
- The sports ability to create and present a high performance plan with mutually agreed upon targets which the NSO will be accountable to show progress towards
- The sports ability to co-invest in their organization by increasing the funds brought in through commercial, philantrophic and sponsorship opportunities
- The sports ability to show responsible use of their funding
- The sports ability to contribute success on the international stage which will include such things as potential medals, international environment, competition opportunities, medals available*, individual athletes and the depth of field.
- The sports ability to demonstrate a strong talent pipeline and support structure for the development of athletes potential
After overhauling their program after the London Olympics Swimming Australia proved to those making the decisions on funding that the changes would bring results. In total Swimming Australia received approximately $45 million, the largest amount of the $300 million doled out to the different sports.
They have received $38 million for the Olympic high-performance program, $3 million for athlete support grants and $4 million that has been spent on performance enhancement teams. In the last year alone they have received $11 million.
The money seems to be well spent according to the Australian Sports Commission CEO Simon Hollingsworth, “It’s great to see Australia’s swimmers achieving fantastic international results, but Swimming Australia’s successful transformation can be measured by far more than the growing medal tally,” Hollingsworth told FOX Sports Australia.
“The Australian Sports Commission and AIS has worked closely with Swimming Australia to identify and improve crucial areas of need, including a strong focus on governance, business capability and leadership.”
The infrastructure of Swimming Australia has improved dramatically, but they have also seen the results in the pool finishing second in the medal standings at the World Championships in Kazan winning seven gold, three silver and six bronze.
Currently Australian swimmers sit atop of the World Rankings in nine different Olympic events.