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Olympic and Paralympic sports, a driving force for Australians

Sport continues to be a driving force in the lives with latest data revealing Australia is still an active nation inspired by our Olympic and Paralympic athletes.

Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck
Former Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services
Former Minister for Sport

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Sport continues to be a driving force in the lives with latest data revealing Australia is still an active nation inspired by our Olympic and Paralympic athletes.

Sport Australia’s latest AusPlay report reveals more than half of all Australians aged 15 or over (10.4 million) have participated in some form of Olympic sport in the last year with 1.8 million people volunteering at local clubs or sporting organisations.

The report includes AusPlay data which identifies sport and physical activity habits across Australia, and Sport Australia’s other survey tool, the Community Perceptions Monitor, which captures public attitudes towards sport.

It also finds four in five Australians aged 18 and over (79 per cent) feel pride for our Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games athletes and teams and seven in 10 (72 per cent) say they can be inspired by their achievements.

Minister for Sport, Richard Colbeck, said as momentum builds ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, it was clear Australians continue to take inspiration from our high performance athletes.

“The AusPlay report shows just how much sport remains a lynchpin in the lives of everyday Australians,” Minister Colbeck said.

“Whether we are aiming to improve our own health and wellbeing or are determined to ensure others have that opportunity – sport is key to healthy communities across the nation.”

The survey shows athletics, swimming and cycling are the most popular Olympic sports with just over seven million Aussies running, jumping, throwing, swimming or cycling every year.

Athletics (including running/jogging) is the most popular sport for men while swimming tops the list for women.

Soccer and basketball are the most popular Olympic team sports, the survey found. 

More men participate in shooting, rugby union and mountain biking while equestrian, gymnastics and softball attract more female participants.

Around four in five adults with long-term disability also participate in some kind of sport or physical activity at least once a year.

The top three Paralympic sports are the same as Olympic sports with swimming the most popular, followed by cycling and athletics.

More than 3.5 million (or 73 per cent) children participate in an organised sport or physical activity outside of school hours with 2.9 million (or 61 per cent) playing an Olympic sport, with swimming the most popular for both boys and girls.

Sport Australia Acting CEO Rob Dalton said the results highlighted the power of sport to unite us all.

“Whether it’s playing an Olympic or Paralympic sport at any level, volunteering or being inspired watching our athletes compete on the world stage, the Olympics and Paralympics impact us all in one way or another,” Mr Dalton said.

AusPlay provides the sport sector with vital insights into the sport and physical activity behaviours of adults and children and critical evidence to inform strategies to grow participation.

Read the full report here.


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