The eyes of the world are on Brisbane, Queensland and Australia, leading up to Brisbane 2032. There is an increasing desire to understand what this magnificent place and its people represent. Our opportunity lies in a deep and meaningful understanding of what legacy the Olympic and Paralympic Games will leave for the Sunshine State.

Sport has been described as “the toy department of life” that generates strong social outcomes. The power of sport for good was firmly on display in Tokyo 2020, offering hope, distraction and unity to millions who were looking for an outlet from the devastating impacts of a global pandemic.

While difficult to quantify, ‘hope, joy and passion’ deliver inclusion and pride, a stronger sense of self-esteem, confidence, and well-being. Direct economic benefits are more easily measured in terms of jobs created along with health, social, cultural, and environmental benefits

From a health perspective, sport participation globally is a means to increase physical activity, improved health, and a reduction of the burden on the health care system. However, measuring sport participation has revealed that access to opportunities to learn, play and enjoy sport for all genders, at any age and all levels of ability is not equal. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 1 in 4 adults is not active enough and more than 80% of the world’s adolescent population is insufficiently physically active. Even though promoting Sport for All is a central initiative, more work is needed to develop, scale and share best-practice as well as to meet the needs of our most vulnerable and marginalised citizens.

Sport operations, media, events, facilities and venues, technology, medicine and science are some of the segments within the sports industry that generate significant economic activity. In Australia alone, the sports sector generates approximately 3% of national gross domestic product (GDP), provides an estimated $83 billion in combined economic, health and educational benefits each year.

As a microcosm, sport can reflect the best and worst of society, including challenges seen in our local communities. From racism, gender-based and sexual violence to sports-washing of national image and reputation. Sport also provides an avenue to open public debate about responsible leadership both within sport and outside of it.

To lead this transformation Queenslanders could turn to the Olympic movement, arguably the world’s most recognised and celebrated in sport, to provide a platform to:

“… contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practiced without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play’.”


This singular opportunity presented by Brisbane 2032 is to use sport to accelerate the transformation of the region and to address many challenges and critical issues including human rights, climate action, sustainable procurement, diversity and inclusion.

The social, economic and environmental legacies of Brisbane 2032 are anticipated to accelerate long-term state and regional priorities and to provide a national platform to amplify healthy and active community initiatives, the arts and culture, sustainability initiatives, tourism, trade and business development.

Legacy and the role of Universities

Universities have a significant role to play in developing future knowledge workers and responsible leaders needed to leverage the opportunity generated by mega-events, including the creation of support networks for entrepreneurs, small and medium sized enterprises, allied health and other sport enabling occupations. There appears to be opportunities to explore the increase of sport and recreation services at the higher education and potentially, the VET level. Universities have a role to play within a cycle of knowledge generation, translation, education and sharing/communicating and capacity building.

The social, economic and environmental legacies of Brisbane 2032 are anticipated to accelerate long-term state-wide and regional priorities and provide a national platform to amplify a range of initiatives from health and active communities, arts and culture, sustainability, tourism, trade and business development.

The games provides an opportunity to embrace sport diplomacy as a soft power to engage with a global community. By hosting international training camps and supporting sport-for-development initiatives, Queensland can capitalise on its leadership of sport administration, diplomacy and development . To address and reduce inequality in international sport, the GAPS program provided both para and able-bodied athletes and coaches from Pacific Island nations access to unprecedented support in the lead up to the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. Specialised training, development and outreach to athletes and coaches of the global south, lead to first time medals and significant performance advancement. Perhaps even more valuable was the physical and knowledge capital shared with local communities, working to strengthen high performance pathways. 

Pacific neighbours

The people of Queensland will ask, do the Games deliver better outcomes for all? Brisbane 2032 provides a singular opportunity to transform the city and state’s position in national and international markets. To amplify the impact of the Games, critical conversations are required that deliver action plans, enhancing contributions to the health and social wellbeing of Queenslanders. The ten-year runway to deliver the Games provides an opportunity to expand its impact and achieve long-term benefits for the state, the region and our Pacific neighbours.

Sport offers a means to advance and promote social cohesion in all parts of the world. It is revered as a vehicle with which to create positive change. It has the potential to accelerate progress towards equity, inclusion and diversity agendas. Sport matters and if its value is well harnessed then it can create benefits for all.

The Brisbane 2032 Games provide a once-in-a-lifetime platform to amplify, accelerate and transform the region’s future on a global stage and an opportunity to highlight the incredible work being done at Griffith University. Engage with our experts across the following areas:

  • Olympic, Parlympic, and sports;
  • social impact,
  • tourism,
  • mega-event, planning,
  • community,
  • infrastructure and transport,
  • diplomacy and regional development,
  • equity, women and developing nations in sport.

Dr Caroline RiotDr Caroline Riot is the Director, Brisbane 2032 Engagement and is working with the Office of the Vice President Industry and External Engagement to lead Griffith’s Brisbane 2032 Olympics and Paralympics engagement strategy in the lead up to Games.

Caroline is coordinating the building of partnerships with key external organisations, acting as the conduit for Griffith Olympic-related activities, and continues to teach and research in her role as Senior Lecturer with the Department of Tourism, Sport and Hotel Management. She is an experienced and passionate educator in employability, and a strong advocate for business student experiential learning and international experiences in tourism and sport management.

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