CAROLINE RIOT  | 

The Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games present a golden opportunity to reshape and strengthen sport pathways for nations in the Oceania region. In the lead-up to the Olympics and Paralympics many athletes and coaches rely on international training camps to acclimatise and become familiar with the competition environment. However, COVID-19 had a major impact on in-person training and competition opportunities, and there is a need to fill the learning and development void this has caused with a renewed focus on enhancing athlete wellbeing and holistic development. Creating Pacific-led content in online offerings will contextualise resource offerings for relevancy and address the specific learning and development needs of athletes and coaches in a Pacific context.

This ambitious initiative aims to deliver greater equity, inclusiveness, and diversity in international sports, while also improving athlete mental health and advancing sustainable development pathways. The purpose of our research is to inform the development of online programs designed to educate, train, and develop athletes and coaches in Pacific Island nations.

With the rise in digital connectivity across the region and increasing use of digital platforms, we explore the plausibility of new Pacific-led online offerings to increase athlete and coach access to cutting-edge high-performance sport services in Pacific Island nations. To achieve this goal, and with the support of The Olympic Studies Centre, the research project involved a desktop review of programs and focus groups and interviews with sport representatives to gather insights, identify areas that can be enhanced, and make recommendations for new online offerings that complement what currently exists.

The findings reveal cultural nuances and specificities that are considered in recommendations for an online resource hub. The resources and capacities required to deliver new online offerings are acknowledged such as:

  • the application of co-design principles;
  • consideration of additional needs in relation to digital infrastructure, literacy, and capability; and
  • a focus on accessibility, inclusion, and cultural awareness.

Recommendations also consider scalable support for widespread adoption, and a model to evaluate outcomes and impact.

Aligning with global goals

The research project intends to raise equality in international sport and inform regional approaches to overcome barriers that prevent athlete and coach access to adequate support. The research is aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Goal 10 to “reduce inequalities within and among countries”, and Goal 4 Quality Education to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education”.

The legacy of Brisbane 2032

The Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games are envisioned as Games for the whole Pacific region. The Games’ legacy strategy aims to uplift the preparation of athletes and coaches, supporting a sustainable sports system, increasing equitable access to training and competition, and fostering cultural and trading relationships. Initiatives like the GAPS Program exemplify how international training camps can inspire and enable athletes from Pacific Island nations to reach their sporting potential.

The importance of online offerings

Online learning offers convenience and a multitude of options for geographically remote developing nations. It can reinforce lessons from international training camps, providing continuous support and empowering athletes and coaches to take ownership of their development. Innovations in online programming can break down structural barriers, addressing inconsistencies in support and ensuring a more robust development pathway.

Conclusion

The Brisbane 2032 Games are more than just a sporting event; they are a catalyst for change in the Oceania region. By advancing athlete and coach access to high-performance sport services through innovative online programs, we can ensure that the benefits of the Games extend far beyond the closing ceremony. This project is a significant step towards creating a more equitable, inclusive, and sustainable future for sports in the Pacific, embodying the true spirit of the Olympic and Paralympic movement.


AUTHOR

Dr Caroline Riot is the Director, Games Partnerships and Engagement, currently working with the Office of the Vice President Industry and External Engagement Griffith University.

Please click here to view the full report “Advancing athlete and coach access to high performance sport services in Oceania: Building towards Brisbane 2032” published at the Olympic World Library.

Join us in transforming sport pathways across Oceania through the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Our research project, supported by The Olympic Studies Centre, aims to develop innovative online programs for athletes and coaches in Pacific Island nations, promoting equity, inclusiveness, and sustainable development. If you’re passionate about advancing international sport and supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, contact Games Engagement and Partnerships at Griffith University at [email protected], or visit our Games Engagement website or the Griffith Asia Institute (GAI) website.