Recent major sporting events in Australia

Australia is hosting a range of major sporting events in the 'green and gold decade' leading up to the 2032 Olympics. Read about the key moments and lasting legacy of recent events.

World Transplant Games 2023

The World Transplant Games (WTG) were held in Perth in 2023 and are celebrated every 4 years around the world. The Games brought together over 1,300 transplant recipients and their families from 45 countries to celebrate their unique bond – ‘The Gift of Life’.

Athletes competed in various sports, showcasing their strength, resilience, athleticism, determination and the power of organ transplantation. The Games:

  • increased awareness of organ and tissue donation
  • encouraged more people to become donors
  • continued a legacy to bring lasting benefits to the transplant and donor community
  • demonstrated the positive outcomes of organ and tissue donation and transplantation for games athletes and supporters.

Key event moments

The WTG 2023 provided unforgettable moments of triumph, courage, and camaraderie.

This was highlighted by the WTG 2023 Parade of Nations and Opening Ceremony at Perth Stadium. Over 1,000 athletes marched across the Matagarup Bridge into Perth Stadium to open the Games in spectacular fashion. An iconic heroes’ welcome was dedicated to living donors, donor families and athletes entering the stadium. The ceremony culminated with a spectacular light show, and Gift of Life Baton presentation.

Did you know?

  • 1 minute is all it takes to register to become an organ donor.
  • 7 lives can be saved by a single organ donor.
  • More than 1,800 Australians are waitlisted for a transplant.

Event impact

The WTG 2023 went beyond being just a sporting event. It fostered a sense of unity and support within the community. It highlighted the transformative power of organ transplantation, encouraging conversations and actions to save lives. Its impact:

  • delivered an over 30% increase in organ donation and transplantation rates in Australia in the second quarter of 2023
  • promoted registration on the Australian Organ Donor Register
  • connected and provided an appreciation for donors and their families for their vital role in helping to provide the gift of life
  • energised the transplant community to renew their health through sport and physical activity
  • enhanced Australia’s reputation as a world leader in transplant sports and inclusive major sporting events.

Legacy

The Gift of Life Baton

A key legacy of the WTG 2023 was the creation of The Gift of Life Baton.

The iconic baton acts as a universal beacon for organ donation between World Transplant Games, providing a symbol of hope and solidarity. It represents the journey, the gift and life-changing impact of organ transplantation. It is passed from athlete to athlete, spreading a message of gratitude and inspiration while uniting participants and spectators alike. It will be passed on to future hosts of the WTG as a long-lasting legacy.

Organ Donation Ambassador Campaign

The Organ Donation Ambassador Campaign was launched at Olympic House in Switzerland. It provided a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the WTG to build ties with the International Olympic Committee and national Olympic committees around the world.

In the lead up to the WTG 2023, the campaign featured Australian Olympians:

  • committed to raising awareness of organ and tissue donation
  • promoting the WTG
  • celebrating the gift of life.

ICC Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup 2022

The 2022 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup featured the top 16 men's national T20 cricket teams, with 45 games played across 28 days of competition. The event was hosted in 7 cities across Australia.

Australia entered the tournament on home soil as defending champions, having won their inaugural ICC Men’s T20 World Cup title in 2021. It was the first time Australia had hosted the ICC Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup.

The final was played between England and Pakistan, with England taking home the crown.

Did you know?

  • 751,775 was the total attendance across the 2022 ICC Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup.
  • 43% of spectators who attended the 2022 ICC Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup attended with children under 16.
  • 1.28 billion was the global television audience of the 2022 ICC Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup.

Key event moments

The involvement and engagement of multicultural communities in the tournament was a highlight of this event, and created an inclusive atmosphere.  

Cricket fans representing different communities came together, bringing passion, noise, colour, music and movement to the matches, making for a truly global event. The tournament also added international food options at matches and traditional music was played as part of post-match presentations.

Event impact

The ICC Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup 2022 was an overwhelming success. The tournament set new records for T20 tournament attendance (751,775) and individual attendance at a T20 match (90,293).

This helped generate a range of health and social benefits for the community, which included:

  • increasing participation, inspiring children from all communities to play cricket
  • using various channels of engagement to reach new cricket fans while also engaging lifelong cricket supporters
  • inspiring social change by empowering members of multicultural communities in cricket leadership roles
  • creating event volunteer programs supporting social cohesion and inclusivity.

Legacy

Connecting Kids

A key legacy initiative for the Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup 2022 was the Connecting Kids program. It provided opportunities for more young people from all backgrounds to participate in cricket.

The initiative also aimed to develop relationships and create connections with grassroots cricket clubs to conduct programs in multicultural communities.

SQUADS

SQUADS was a free online fan engagement resource developed for the Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup 2022 and beyond. It aims to build stronger connections within a diverse range of communities and inspire people to discuss and participate in cricket. The program:

  • has over 30,000 members
  • supported digital engagement for a diverse range of multicultural audiences
  • provides a safe and positive space to engage, share stories and cultures
  • employed and trained local multicultural journalists and content producers.

Virtus Oceania Asia Games 2022

The Virtus Oceania Asia Games 2022 (OA Games) was an international multi-sport event held in Brisbane for elite athletes with intellectual impairment. It was the inaugural regional event in the Oceania/Asia region.

More than 700 international athletes and officials attended the OA Games. They showcased their skills and abilities whilst celebrating the spirit of inclusivity and sportsmanship.

Competitors were also able to use the OA Games as a platform to gain para sport classification and reach further representative honours, including competing at the Paralympics Games. Many of these opportunities are not currently available for athletes of some developing nations competing at the OA Games. 

Did you know?

  • 2022 was the year the first regional Virtus Oceania/Asia Games were held.
  • 2 to 3% of the world’s population have an intellectual impairment (WHO Disability Report, 2011).
  • 27 countries participated in the OA Games 2022.

Key event moments

The OA Games showcased many amazing personal accomplishments across the event. This was captured by an athlete’s account of their memorable experience at the OA Games:

'Thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me this memorable opportunity. I was amazed by the outstanding support I have received, which has motivated me to give the best of myself for the Games. This event has contributed to my personal growth. The smiles and happy faces I have encountered was the greatest reward during this short journey filled with surprises.'

Inclusion remained at the forefront of the OA Games. This was highlighted by the presence of athletes of all abilities from several countries for the very first time:

  • Solomon Islands
  • Fiji
  • Republic of Palau
  • Maldives.

Event impact

The OA Games left a lasting impact on the community, raising awareness about the abilities of all participants while promoting a more inclusive society. The OA Games:

  • inspired a new generation of athletes with intellectual impairments to pursue their sporting dreams and reach their full potential
  • inspired and captivated audiences, showcasing the extraordinary talents of these individuals
  • drove social change to challenge perceptions and create greater awareness and understanding of the ability of people with intellectual impairment.

Legacy

Through the OA Games the Australian Government continues its commitment to support an inclusive and accessible Australian society, where all people can fulfil their potential.

A national community engagement program was developed to promote awareness of inclusive sport, and the beneficial economic, social, health and community wellbeing outcomes it provides.

UCI Road World Championships 2022

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Road World Championships were held in Wollongong in 2022.

Over 240,000 spectators attended the international cycling event which brought together 65 countries and 670 elite riders for 8 days of world-class cycling. It is the first time the annual event has been held in the southern hemisphere.

The event is the largest international annual road cycling event held by the UCI, the governing body of cycling worldwide. It is one of the ‘Triple Crown of Cycling’ events, along with the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia.  

The UCI Road World Championships 2022 were split into time trials and road races in 3 categories:

  • women and men elite
  • women and men under 23 (U23)
  • junior women and men.

Did you know?

  • 65 nations were represented at the UCI Road World Championships 2022.
  • 2.94 million Australians over 15 are estimated to participate in cycling (Ausplay 2022).
  • 1,230 people volunteered at the UCI Road World Championships 2022.

Key event moments

In a historic moment for gender equality in cycling, both U23 men and women were recognised with the rainbow jersey, medals and World Champion status for the first time at a UCI Road World Championships in Wollongong 2022.

Australia also watched its local heroes produce amazing results, with 4 medals won on home soil, including:

  • Grace Brown achieving the best result by an Australian in the Elite Women’s Time Trial since 1999, winning silver
  • Hamish McKenzie winning silver in the Junior Men's Time Trial 
  • Michael Matthews winning bronze in the Elite Men's Road Race 
  • Australia winning bronze in Team Time Trial mixed relay. It was only the third time the relay was held. 

Event impact

The UCI Road World Championships 2022 put a spotlight on cycling in Australia. It also created broader conversations around women in cycling, gender equality and the benefits of cycling, being active and participating in sport. The event:

  • delivered a historic gender equality event, inspiring more women and girls to cycle
  • delivered legacy initiatives to drive youth and women’s cycling participation
  • promoted cycling as an active transport option for all
  • implemented a cycling leadership program for Indigenous women
  • delivered a global cumulative television audience of over 132 million
  • implemented an event sustainability strategy, enhancing Australia’s reputation in delivering sustainable major sporting events.

Legacy

The UCI Road World Championships 2022 delivered legacy initiatives that will have a lasting impact on the community. This was recognised when Wollongong was awarded the status of UCI Bike City.

This label supports and rewards cities and regions who not only host major UCI cycling events but also invest in developing community cycling programmes and related infrastructure.

Legacy initiatives included the following.

Community Ride

The Wollongong 2022 Community Ride offered locals and visitors of all ages and abilities a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ride a section of the UCI Road World Championship circuit during the event. Over 2,800 participants took part in the event, which encouraged the community to get involved, get on a bike, get active and have fun. 

AusBike

AusBike is Australia’s national bike education program designed for children aged 5 to 12 years. The program develops the essential skills for beginners through to experts so all can experience the freedom, fun and adventure of riding a bike.

FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022

Australia hosted the Fédération Internationale de Basketball (FIBA) Women’s Basketball World Cup (FWBWC) 2022 in Sydney.

It was the highest-attended women’s basketball world cup in the competition’s history.

Held every 4 years, the 2022 event saw almost 150,000 basketball fans witness the world's top 12 women's national teams play 38 games across 10 days of competition. It was just the second time the tournament has come to Australia.

Australia’s national women’s basketball team, the Opals, went into the tournament ranked number 3 in the FIBA World rankings. Having placed fourth at the only other FWBWC held in Australia in 1994, the Opals delivered their best result on home soil, finishing third. 

The United States, the number-one-ranked side and 3-time defending champion, retained the title after defeating China in the championship decider.

Visit the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022 website to find out more.

Did you know?

  • 3rd was the Opals’ best-ever FWBWC tournament placing on home soil.
  • 145,519 was the total attendance for the 2022 tournament – the highest in the history of the FWBWC.
  • 996,000 Australians over the age of 15 are estimated to participate in basketball annually.

Key event moments

Lauren Jackson, one of Australia’s most decorated basketballers, returned to the green and gold for her fifth world cup after a 12-year absence from the FWBWC.

Her highlight of the tournament came in the Opals’ final game, when the 4-time Women's National Basketball League Most Valuable Player scored 30 points and led the Opals to victory, taking home a bronze medal.

Jackson’s performance inspired the Opals to their best finish on home soil. She finished her world cup career becoming only the third player in FWBWC history to score 600 points. The Opals’ tournament highlights included:

  • finishing top in the group phase
  • featuring in a hard-fought semi-final going down 61–59 to China 
  • clinching the bronze medal in the third-place playoff match against Canada 95–65.

Event impact

The FWBWC put a spotlight on women’s basketball. It also created broader conversations around women in sport, gender equality and the benefits of participation in sport. The tournament:

  • delivered the highest attendance in the history of the competition
  • promoted healthy and active lifestyles amongst all Australians
  • inspired women and girls to participate in basketball
  • delivered a carbon-neutral event and the most sustainable FWBWC since its inception
  • provided a Sustainable Event Blueprint future major and mega events.

Legacy

The FWBWC 2022 has many legacy initiatives which aim to have a lasting impact benefiting women’s basketball and the Australian community. This includes programs to:

  • continue to promote gender equality and healthy and active lifestyles 
  • continue to promote women’s participation and leadership in basketball targeting diversity, inclusion and multicultural and indigenous communities
  • help women feel connected and supported through women’s basketball pathway and talent programs such as She Hoops.
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