Australian Institute of Sport
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Australian Institute of Sport
Australian Institute of Sport 2019.jpg
Main AIS building and visitor centre
Formation1981; 40 years ago (1981)
TypeGovernment agency
Legal statusActive
PurposeHigh performance sports training institution
Coordinates35°14?50?S 149°06?15?E / 35.24722°S 149.10417°E / -35.24722; 149.10417Coordinates: 35°14?50?S 149°06?15?E / 35.24722°S 149.10417°E / -35.24722; 149.10417
Region served
Peter Conde[1]
Parent organisation
Australian Sports Commission, Australian Government
AffiliationsNational Institute Network

The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) is a high performance sports training institution in Australia.[2] The Institute's headquarters were opened in 1981 and are situated in Canberra (the capital city of Australia). The 66-hectare (163-acre) site campus is in the northern suburb of Bruce. The AIS is a division of the Australian Sports Commission; a body controlled and funded by the Australian Government.


AIS Corporate Services (Building 17)

Two reports were the basis for developing the AIS: The Role, Scope and Development of Recreation in Australia (1973)[3] by John Bloomfield and Report of the Australian Sports Institute Study Group (1975)[4] (group chaired by Allan Coles). The need for the AIS was compounded in 1976 when the Australian Olympic team failed to win a gold medal at the Montreal Olympics, which was regarded as a national embarrassment for Australia. The Institute's well-funded programs (and more generally the generous funding for elite sporting programs by Australian and State Governments) have been regarded as a major reason for Australia's recent success in international sporting competitions.

In 2011, Minister for Sport Mark Arbib announced the AIS would take responsibility for the strategic direction of high performance sport in Australia.[5] In November 2012, the ASC released "Australia's Winning Edge 2012-2022", a high performance sport plan, which highlighted a new role for the AIS particularly in terms of developing coaches and talent identification but not directly managing national sports organisations elite athlete programs as it had done since 1981.[6]


A brief overview of the history of the AIS follows.[7]

Year Event
1980 Establishment of the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) announced by Hon. Robert Ellicott, the Minister for Home Affairs and the Environment, on 25 January
1981 AIS officially opened by the Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Malcolm Fraser on 26 January (Australia Day).
Don Talbot appointed inaugural Director of the AIS and Kevan Gosper Chairman of the AIS Board.
Eight founding sports were basketball, gymnastics, netball, swimming, tennis, track and field, football, and weightlifting
1982 Commonwealth Games, Brisbane, Australia - 37 current and former AIS athletes competed three sports and won 12 gold, 12 silver and 7 bronze medals. Australia won 107 medals.
1983 Facility development - Gymnastics training hall, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, and swimming complex completed
1984 Facility development - Frank Stewart Training Centre for netball, basketball and weightlifting completed
Diving program in Brisbane and hockey program in Perth established
Dr John Cheffers appointed Director of the AIS
Olympic Games, Los Angeles, United States - 33 current and former competed in four sports and won 5 silver and 2 bronze medals. Australia won 24 medals.
1985 Squash program in Brisbane and men's water polo and rowing in Canberra established
Facility development - Sports Science and Sports Medicine, Halls of Residence and administration buildings completed
Professor John Bloomfield replaces Kevan Gosper as AIS Chairman.
1986 Men's cricket program in Adelaide established
Commonwealth Games, Edinburgh, Scotland - 75 current and former AIS athletes competed in five sports and won 19 gold, 16 silver and 17 bronze medals. Australia won 121 medals.
1987 Cycling program in Adelaide established
Announcement of the merger of Australian Sports Commission and AIS.
Ronald Harvey appointed Director of the AIS
1988 Rugby Union program in Brisbane, Sydney and Canberra established
Olympic Games, Seoul, South Korea - 118 current and former athletes competing in thirteen sports and won 1 gold, 2 silver, 3 bronze medals. Australia won 14 medals.
Paralympic Games, Seoul, South Korea - 1 current athlete and won 2 gold medals. Australia won 96 medals.
1989 Facility development - AIS canoe facility opened on the Gold Coast
1990 Men's volleyball program in Sydney established
Robert de Castella appointed Director of the AIS
National Sport Information Centre launched
Commonwealth Games, Auckland, New Zealand - 87 current and former AIS athletes competed in six sports and won 25 gold, 25 silver and 27 bronze medals. Australia won 162 medals
1991 Oceania Olympic Training Centre established in Canberra
Men's Road Cycling program established in Canberra
Lifeskills for Elite Athletes Program (LEAP) commenced
1992 Olympic Games Barcelona - 139 current and former athletes competed in thirteen sports and won 3 gold, 5 silver and 6 bronze medals. Australia won 27 medals.
Golf program in Melbourne program established
Paralympic Games Barcelona - 12 current and former athletes competed in two sports and won 10 gold, 8 silver and 6 bronze medals. Australia won 76 medals.
1993 Women's Road Cycling in Canberra, Women's Softball in Brisbane and Women's Volleyball in Perth programs established
1994 Commonwealth Games Victoria - 87 current and former AIS athletes competed in five sports and won 35 gold, 16 silver and 15 bronze medals. Australia won 184 medals.
1995 Mountain Biking program in Canberra established
John Boultbee appointed as AIS Director
1996 Atlanta Olympic Games - 207 current and former AIS athletes competed in thirteen sports and won 4 gold, 7 silver and 17 bronze medals. Australia won 41 medals.
Atlanta Paralympic Games - 26 current and former AIS athletes competed in seven sports and won 22 gold, 22 silver and 5 bronze medals. Australia won 106 medals.
1997 Boxing, Wrestling, Archery, Shooting in Canberra and Australian Football in Melbourne programs established.
1998 Women's Football began as an Olympic Athlete Program (OAP) initiative July 1998. In May 2000, Women's Football was made a permanent program.
Australian Institute of Winter Sports (AIWS) established by the Australian Olympic Committee and the AIS.
Commonwealth Games Kuala Lumpur - 138 current and former AIS athletes competed in twelve sports and won 34 gold, 29 silver and 21 bronze medals. Australia won 200 medals.
Winter Olympic Games Nagano - 8 athletes competed in three sports and won 1 bronze medal for Australia.
2000 Olympic Games Sydney - 319 current and former athletes competed in nineteen sports and won 8 gold, 11 silver and 13 bronze medals. Australia won 58 medals.
Paralympic Games Sydney - 54 current and former athletes won 29 gold, 17 silver and 15 bronze medals. Australia won 149 medals.
Sailing and Slalom Canoeing in Sydney, and camps based Women's Cricket and triathlon programs established.
2001 Michael Scott appointed Director of the AIS
Rugby league (decentralised) and Alpine Skiing for Athletes with Disabilities Programs established.
2002 Winter Olympics Salt Lake City - 23 current and former athletes competed in five sports and won 2 gold medals. Australia won 2 medals.
Winter Paralympics Salt Lake City - 6 current and former athletes competed in one sport and won 6 gold and 1 silver medal. Australia won 7 medals.
Commonwealth Games Manchester - 168 current and former athletes competed in fifteen sports and won 45 gold, 23 silver and 34 bronze medals. Australia won 207 medals.
2003 Facility development - Archery Centre and AIS Rowing Centre extension opened. AIS Golf facility located at Moonah Links, near Rye on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula opened.
2004 Olympic Games Athens - 289 current and former athletes competed in twenty sports and won 10 gold, 10 silver and 12 bronze medals. Australia won 49 medals.
Paralympic Games Athens - 47 current and former athletes won 13 gold, 27 silver and 23 bronze medals. Australia won 100 medals.
The Cricket Academy moves to Brisbane.
2005 Professor Peter Fricker appointed Director of the AIS
Facility development - New extension to the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Diving dry land training facility at the Sleeman Centre in Chandler, Queensland opened.
AIS/AVF Beach Volleyball National Centre of Excellence launched
2006 Facility development - New $17 million Aquatics Training and Recovery Centre was constructed. The 50M training pool has a range of high-tech performance analysis devices
and biomechanical systems including instrumented start blocks and turn walls, timing gates, strategically placed cameras, filming dolly and tracks.
Winter Olympics Torino - 23 current and former athletes competed in six sports and won 1 gold and 1 bronze medal. Australia won 3 medals.
Winter Paralympics Torino - 9 current and former athletes competed in one sport and won 1 silver and 1 bronze medal. Australia won 2 medals.
Commonwealth Games Melbourne - 177 current and former athletes competed in thirteen sports and won 42 gold, 34 silver and 34 bronze medals. Australia won 222 medals.
2007 Facility development - AIS Hub opened. The AIS hub features a 110-metre indoor running track (with jumping pit), new physiology laboratories and an enhanced strength and conditioning gymnasium.
New AIS Athlete Residences opened.
2008 Olympic Games Beijing - 263 current and former AIS athletes won 7 gold, 9 silver and 7 bronze medals. Australia won 46 medals.
Paralympic Games Beijing - 47 current and former AIS athletes won 18 gold, 12 silver and 13 bronze medals. Australia won 79 medals.
2010 Olympic Winter Games Vancouver - 22 current and former AIS athletes won 1 gold, and 1 silver medal
Paralympic Winter Games Vancouver - 9 current AIS athletes won 1 silver and 3 bronze medals. Australia won a total of 4 medals.
Commonwealth Games New Delhi - 158 current and former (including Paralympic scholarship holders) competed in 12 sports and won 88 medals; 41 gold, 23 silver and 24 bronze. Australia won a total of 177 medals.
2011 -European Training Centre opened in Varese, Italy
2012 Matt Favier commenced as Director of the AIS in March.[8]
Australia's Winning Edge strategy provides a new leadership direction for the AIS, with national sports organisations taking full responsibility for AIS sports programs at the end of 2013.[9]
2013 AIS Combat Centre established.
2014 Australian Institute of Sport launched a new brand and logo.[10]
Annual awards renamed AIS Sport Performance Awards.
The former archery centre converted to the Football Centre.
2017 Matt Favier resigns as AIS Director in June.[11]
Peter Conde appointed ninth AIS Director in August.
The NBA Academy opened at the AIS in Canberra, sharing facilities with Basketball Australia's Centre of Excellence.[12]
2018 Australian Government launched the National Sport Plan, Sport 2030
2019 The AIS, in partnership with Volleyball Australia launched the first Australian all-weather beach volleyball training facility on the AIS Canberra campus.
2020 The AIS helped to deliver the $6.5m water jump in Brisbane for our aspiring Winter Athletes to train at home.


The AIS employs a number of staff who primarily work in Sports Science and Sports Medicine, which includes disciplines such as sports nutrition, performance analysis, skill acquisition, physiology, recovery, biomechanics, athlete career education, strength and conditioning, psychology, physical therapies, talent identification, and applied performance research.

There are a number of sculptures located throughout the Bruce Campus, such as 'Acrobats', 'Gymnast', 'Pole Vaulter' and 'Soccer Players' by John Robinson and the 'Swimmer' by Guy Boyd. After the Sydney 2000 Olympics, two of the three sculptures - ' Gymnast' and 'Wheelchair Basketballer' - that were located on the Sydney Tower Eye prior to the Olympics were installed at the AIS.

The AIS Arena is a 5,200 capacity indoor stadium which has been used for sports such as basketball, gymnastics and volleyball as well as music concerts. Directly adjacent to, but not strictly part of the Institute is the 25,000 capacity outdoor Canberra Stadium which has hosted matches of all the major forms of football played in Australia.

In 2005, 2009, and 2010 the Institute won awards at the prestigious Canberra and Capital Region Tourism Awards.[13] These awards were given in recognition of the daily public tours that are available. Each tour, which takes in several different buildings of the Institute as well as the arena and the Sportex zone, is led by an athlete currently training there.[14]

Original AIS Logo 1981-2014

Shortly after its inception in 1981, the AIS held a competition for a symbol that would depict the AIS aim of "achieving supremacy in sport". Over 500 designs were submitted. The winner was Rose-Marie Derrico, a design student from Bendigo, Victoria. Her design showed an athlete with hands clasped above the head in recognition of victory. The colours of the logo were red, white and blue, which are the same colours as the Australian flag.

On 3 February 2014, the AIS launched a new logo in line with its new direction as outlined in its Winning Edge program that was launched in 2012.[10] Landor Associates designed the new brand and logo. The gold in the brand representing Australia's pursuit of gold.[15]

National Training Centres

From 2014, as a result of Australia's Winning Edge 2012-202343434332 strategy,[9] the AIS no longer directly offered scholarships to athletes. As a result of the strategy, many national sporting organisations are utilizing the AIS facilities and services on an ongoing or regular basis. Several national sports organisations have located their national centres for excellence at the AIS. These include: Basketball Australia Centre for Excellence,[16] Netball Australia Centre for Excellence[17] Football Federation of Australia Centre of Excellence, Rowing Australia National Training Centre, Volleyball Australia Centre of Excellence and Swimming Australia National Training Centre.

The AIS does continue to support other athletes in other sports however they are self funded and not under the National Training Centre banner.

Former sports programs

Up until 2013, the AIS offered scholarships to athletes across 36 programs in 26 different sports:[18]

Sports that previously had an AIS program but were discontinued prior to 2013 included: weightlifting, water polo (men), volleyball (women), wrestling, shooting, archery, boxing (1997 - 2010) and golf. .

The head coach for the AIS boxing program from 1997 to 2010 was Bodo Andreass.

Notable athletes

Many prominent Australian athletes have taken up AIS scholarships. In 2001, the AIS established the Best of the Best Award to recognise highly performed AIS athletes. As of 2011, the following athletes have been recognised - Alisa Camplin, Robert De Castella, John Eales, Simon Fairweather, Neil Fuller, Bridgette Gusterson, Rechelle Hawkes, Shane Kelly, Luc Longley, Michelle Martin, Glenn McGrath, Michael Klim, Michael Milton, Clint Robinson, Louise Sauvage, Kate Slatter, Zali Steggall, Mark Viduka, Vicki Wilson, Todd Woodbridge, Lauren Jackson, Chantelle Newbery, Petria Thomas, Kerry Saxby-Junna, Jamie Dwyer, Anna Meares, Malcolm Page, Ricky Ponting, Oenone Wood and Matthew Cowdrey.[19] In August 2013, Stuart O'Grady was indefinitely suspended from the 'Best of the Best' due to his admission to doping in 1998.[20]

The Australian Institute of Sport Alumni highlights the many prominent Australian athletes that the AIS has assisted.

Athlete of the Year

Since 1984, the AIS has named an Athlete of the Year. For the first twenty years, the award was predominately made to one athlete only. In 2004 a male and female athlete were awarded with the accolade; and the awarding has varied over the ensuing years.

Year Female athlete(s) Male athlete(s) Notes
Name Sport Name Sport
1984 Karen Phillips Swimming no award
1985 Michele Pearson Swimming no award
1986 no award James Galloway Rowing
1987 Kerry Saxby Track and field no award
1988 Kerry Saxby Track and field no award
1989 Kerry Saxby Track and field no award
1990 no award Steve McGlede Track cycling
1991 Linley Frame Swimming no award
1992 no award Clint Robinson Flatwater canoeing
1993 World Junior Female Basketball Team Men's Track Cycling Pursuit Team
1994 Australian Women's Hockey Team no award
1995 no award Shane Kelly Track cycling
1996 Rowing no award
1997 Louise Sauvage Track and field no award
1998 no award Michael Klim Swimming
1999 no award Michael Klim Swimming
2000 no award Simon Fairweather Archery
  • Swimming
Philippe Rizzo Gymnastics
2002 Petria Thomas Swimming no award
2003 no award Nathan Baggaley Flatwater canoeing
2004 Petria Thomas Swimming Ryan Bayley Track cycling
2005 no award
2006 no award Philippe Rizzo Gymnastics
2007 Anna Meares Track cycling Nathan Deakes Track and field
2008 no award
2009 Emma Moffatt Triathlon Brenton Rickard Swimming
2010 Lydia Lassila Freestyle skiing no award
2011 Anna Meares Track cycling no award
2012 Alicia Coutts Swimming Tom Slingsby Sailing [21]
  • Cycling
  • Rowing
no award [22]
2014 Jessica Fox Slalom canoeing no award [23]
2015 Emily Seebohm Swimming Jason Day Golf [24]
2016 Kim Brennan Rowing Kyle Chalmers Swimming
2017 Sally Pearson Athletics Scott James Winter sport [25]

Notable coaches

AIS was established to provide high level coaching to Australian athletes. Since its establishment in 1981, the AIS has employed highly credentialed Australian and international coaches. Original coaches were - Bill Sweetenham and Dennis Pursley (swimming), Wilma Shakespear in netball, Adrian Hurley and Patrick Hunt (basketball), Peter Lloyd and Kazuyu Honda (gymnastics), Jimmy Shoulder (football), Ray Ruffels and Helen Gourlay (tennis), Kelvin Giles, Gary Knoke and Merv Kemp (track and field), and Lyn Jones (weightlifting).

Other notable AIS coaches - Charlie Walsh (cycling), Barry Dancer and Richard Charlesworth(hockey), Terry Gathercole (swimming), Marty Clarke (basketball).

Sports medicine and sport science

AIS established sports medicine and sports science services and research programs when established in 1981. Dr Dick Telford was its first Co-ordinator of Sports Science and Medicine. Other notable staff have included: Dr Peter Fricker, Professor Allan Hahn, Professor Louise Burke, Dr Bruce Mason and Keith Lyons.

The current Chief Medical Officer of the AIS is Dr David Hughes. The AIS Sports Medicine department in 2020 released guidelines on the management of COVID-19 in athletes and a template for return to sport in Australia after the Coronavirus lockdown. These guidelines were used by the Australian government National Cabinet and the various Australian state governments to recommend stages for recommencing sport after the vast majority closed down in late March-early May 2020. Generally the doctors working at the AIS have been sports medicine specialists qualified through the Australasian College of Sport and Exercise Physicians.

Olympic Winter Institute of Australia

The AIS and the Australian Olympic Committee formed the Australian Institute of Winter Sports after the 1998 Winter Olympics. The organisation was renamed to the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia on 1 July 2001. It provides training in alpine skiing, freestyle skiing (including aerial and mogul), snowboarding, short track speed skating and figure skating. It is also a partner with the AIS in skeleton (toboganning).

Basketball program

The AIS Men's Basketball Program played in the South East Australian Basketball League (SEABL) between 1982 and 2010.[26] The team was coached by Patrick Hunt from 1982 to 1992, then Gordie McLeod (1993-97), Frank Arsego (1998-2002), and Marty Clarke (2003-10).[27] They made the playoffs just six times,[27] but behind coach Arsego and future NBA champion Andrew Bogut, the AIS won the 2002 East Conference championship.[28][29] They went on to lose 98-93 to the Hobart Chargers in the 2002 National Championship game.[30] Following the 2010 season, the program had a change of direction and withdrew from the SEABL.[31] In 2014, after Basketball Australia assumed responsibility of the AIS basketball program,[32] the program returned to the SEABL under a new moniker, the Basketball Australia National Centre of Excellence (BA CoE) Men's Team.[26]

The AIS women's team originally played in the WNBL from 1983 to 2012, before being resurrected in 2014 alongside the men's Basketball Australia National Centre of Excellence team, thus entering the SEABL for the first time.[32]

Both teams were ineligible for the playoffs between 2014 and 2017 due to not playing full seasons. With a change to playing full seasons in 2018, both teams became eligible for the playoffs for the first time.[33] Following the demise of the SEABL, both BA Centre of Excellence teams played in the inaugural NBL1 season in 2019.[34]

Starting from 2020, both BA Centre of Excellence teams compete in the Waratah League (NSW and ACT).


  1. ^ "Peter Conde appointed new Australian Institute of Sport Director" (Press release). Australian Sports Commission. 29 August 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  2. ^ "What is the AIS?". Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 2012.
  3. ^ "The role, scope and development of recreation in Australia / [by] John Bloomfield". Trove.
  4. ^ Tourism, Australia Dept of; Group, Recreation Sports Institute Study (9 September 1975). "Report of the Australian Sports Institute Study Group". Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service – via Trove.
  5. ^ "AIS to take charge of high performance sport". Australian Sports Commission, Ministerial News, 28 January 2011. Archived from the original on 26 March 2012. Retrieved 2012.
  6. ^ "AIS gains $20m in sports shake-up". Australian Broadcasting Corporation News, 30 November 2012. Retrieved 2013.
  7. ^ AIS Website Timeline Archived 19 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Tuxworth, Jon (1 April 2012). "Favier plots formula for success". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 2012.
  9. ^ a b Mulvey, Paul (30 November 2012). "ASC to overhaul sports". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2012.
  10. ^ a b Tuxworth, Jon (4 February 2014). "AIS chief says new branding will help raise funds for athletes". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 2014.
  11. ^ "AIS Director Matt Favier appointed Hockey Australia CEO". Australian Sports Commission website. Retrieved 2017.
  12. ^ "Our history". Australian Institute of Sport. Retrieved 2021.
  13. ^ "2016 Award Winners - Canberra Region Tourism Awards".
  14. ^ Tour Information from the Institute's website Archived 22 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ "Landor sees gold for AIS". B & T. 5 February 2005. Retrieved 2014.
  16. ^ "Centre of Excellence". Basketball Australia. Retrieved 2015.
  17. ^ "Centre for Excellence". Netball Australia. Retrieved 2015.
  18. ^ Commission, Australian Sports Commission; jurisdiction=Commonwealth of Australia; corporateName=Australian Sports. "What is the AIS?". Archived from the original on 18 June 2009. Retrieved 2009.
  19. ^ AIS 'Best of the Best' Award Archived 17 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ "AIS dumps O'Grady from 'Best of the Best' honour roll". SBS Cycling Centreal News. 1 August 2013. Archived from the original on 22 June 2015. Retrieved 2015.
  21. ^ Dutton, Chris (17 November 2012). "Slingsby shares top gong with Coutts". Canberra Times. Retrieved 2012.
  22. ^ Gaskin, Lee (15 November 2013). "Caroline Buchanan and Kim Crow dominate AIS awards". The Canberra Times. Archived from the original on 16 November 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  23. ^ "Rabbitohs, Fearnley, Fox win top ASPAS". Australian Sports Commission News, 11 February 2015. Archived from the original on 11 February 2015. Retrieved 2015.
  24. ^ "Seebohm our Female Athlete of the Year". Australian Sports Commission News, 24 Feb 2016. Archived from the original on 28 August 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  25. ^ "Matildas and Kerr Australia's fan favourites at AIS awards". Australian Sports Commission website. Archived from the original on 13 December 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  26. ^ a b "COE MEN'S TEAM READY FOR SEABL CHALLENGE". 21 March 2014. Retrieved 2019.
  27. ^ a b "2018 SEABL Media Guide" (PDF). p. 13. Retrieved 2019.
  28. ^ "BOOMERS AND OPALS IN THEIR SEABL DAYS". 6 August 2015. Retrieved 2019.
  29. ^ "SEABL REMEMBERS... COACHES RATE THEIR TOP 5 TEAMS OF ALL-TIME". 28 June 2011. Archived from the original on 21 October 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  30. ^ "ABA National Champions". 26 May 2008. Retrieved 2019.
  31. ^ "AIS to sit out next two SEABL seasons". 28 October 2010. Retrieved 2019.
  32. ^ a b "BA COE WOMEN'S TEAM READY FOR SEABL SEASON". 20 March 2014. Retrieved 2019.
  33. ^ "2018 SEASON PREVIEW: BASKETBALL AUSTRALIA'S CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE". 20 March 2018. Retrieved 2019.


  • Daly, John, Quest for Excellence : the Australian Institute of Sport, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra, 1991
  • Australian Sports Commission, Excellence : the Australian Institute of Sport. 2nd ed. Canberra, Australian Sports Commission, 2002.
  • Bloomfield, John, Australia's sporting success : the inside story, UNSW Press, Sydney, 2003
  • Ferguson, Jim, More than sunshine and vegemite : success the Australian way, Halstead Press, Sydney, 2007

External links

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