Four in five Aussies are proud of athletes representing their nation on global events, a survey commissioned by Sport Australia revealed.
The AusPlay report which focuses on participation in Summer Olympic and Paralympic, found that 10.4 million Australian adults play an Olympic sport while 1.8 million volunteer in Olympic sports whether it is Olympic, Paralympic or Commonwealth Games.
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.
Australians who love to play and watch sport say they are extremely proud of their Olympians and Paralympians, with 32 per cent of Australians surveyed who said although they are not interested in sport, admitted their Olympians and Paralympians make them feel proud.
Minister for Sport, Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck in a statement said the upcoming Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics present another great opportunity to get Australians more active and involved in sport.
“The report shows that Australians love participating in Olympic sports and also feel a lot of pride.
“They also feel inspired by our Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games athletes further highlighting that sport really is an essential part of Australian life.”
It is also an endorsement for Australia’s current bid to host the 2032 Brisbane Olympics and Paralympics.
Sport Australia Acting CEO Rob Dalton said the results show the Olympics and Paralympics impact everyone whether it’s playing a sport, volunteering or being inspired watching the Olympians and Paralympians compete.
“Just over seven million Australians participate in athletics, swimming or cycling each year, making them the most popular Olympic sports.
“Athletics (including running/jogging) is the most popular sport for men while swimming is the most popular sport for women.
“When it comes to Olympic team sports, football/soccer and basketball are played the most.
“More men participate in shooting, rugby union and mountain biking, while more female participants enjoy equestrian, gymnastics and softball,” Dalton said.
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 swimming, cycling and athletics making them the same as Olympic sports but in a different order.
Dalton said now is the perfect time to get involved in sport, either as a participant or a volunteer adding that one doesn’t have to play the sport they volunteer in.
“Sports such as rugby union, football/soccer, gymnastics and basketball have a higher number of volunteers who don’t play.
“In many cases, this could be a parent volunteering to coach their child’s sporting team, but it highlights you just need the time and willingness to get involved and you will enjoy the many benefits that come with being a part of the sporting community,” he added.
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.
The report also highlights that there is a Summer Olympic or Paralympic sport for everyone at every age.
Sports like athletics, hockey, volleyball, swimming and rowing have similar numbers of male and female participants, while over-55s dominate sports such as golf, sailing, shooting and table tennis.
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.
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