Breaking Barriers And Building Legacies

University of Queensland

UQ launches office of 2032 Games Engagement

UQ is set to help Queensland welcome the world in 2032 with the launching of the Office of 2032 Games Engagement (OGE).

Influential sporting, government and industry leaders attended the event at the Queensland Art Gallery, where a special panel discussed the road to 2032, UQ’s commitment to supporting the delivery of a successful Games and the lasting legacy that large sporting events leave behind.

Click on the images below to view photos from the OGE launch

Guests check out the ParaSport Program exhibition at the launch of the Office of 2032 Games Engagement.

Guests attend the launch of the Office of 2032 Games Engagement.

Guests attend the launch of the Office of 2032 Games Engagement.

The crowd listening to speakers at the launch of the Office of 2032 Games Engagement.

Guests attend the launch of the Office of 2032 Games Engagement.

Professor Bruce Abernethy addresses the crowd at the launch of the Office of 2023 Games Engagement.

Guests attend the launch of the Office of 2032 Games Engagement.

Journalist Jillian Whiting addresses the crowd at the launch of the Office of 2023 Games Engagement.

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Guests check out the ParaSport Program exhibition at the launch of the Office of 2032 Games Engagement.

Guests attend the launch of the Office of 2032 Games Engagement.

Guests attend the launch of the Office of 2032 Games Engagement.

The crowd listening to speakers at the launch of the Office of 2032 Games Engagement.

Guests attend the launch of the Office of 2032 Games Engagement.

Professor Bruce Abernethy addresses the crowd at the launch of the Office of 2023 Games Engagement.

Guests attend the launch of the Office of 2032 Games Engagement.

Journalist Jillian Whiting addresses the crowd at the launch of the Office of 2023 Games Engagement.

The panel included Olympic gold medallist and Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Sports Commission Kieren Perkins OAM (Doctor of Philosophy (honoris causa) ’00), Brisbane 2032 Organising Committee Director Brett Clark AM (Bachelor of Pharmacy ’88, Master of Business Administration ’05), 7-time Tour de France-winning coach Tim Kerrison (Bachelor of Applied Science ’95, Bachelor of Science (Honours) ’96, Bachelor of Arts ’98), Olympic volleyballer, national softball representative and sports administrator Anita Palm (Bachelor of Human Movement Studies (Education) ’88) and UQ clinical exercise physiologist and Queensland Academy of Sport Para Sport high-performance manager Associate Professor Emma Beckman (Bachelor of Applied Science ’00, Doctor of Philosophy ’11).

The panel was hosted by journalist and UQ alum Jillian Whiting (Bachelor of Arts ’91).

According to Perkins, the success of 2032 would be measured on improvements towards inclusivity and diversity in sport.

“Success in 2032 is about defining who and what these Games stand for,” Perkins said.

“We want to inspire a nation; we want to have lots of people involved and win as many medals in as many sports as possible. But ultimately, the Games must be a catalyst to change the city and the country, and a catalyst to change how sport is delivered.

“The reality in Australia right now is that if you want to be an Olympian or a Paralympian, your best chance is to be white and privileged. If you’re not those things, it’s can be hard to move forward.

“If we don’t find a way, very quickly, to be more inclusive, diverse and welcoming to more people, we won’t have the athletes we need to deliver that inspiration.”

When asked about the legacy of the 2032 Games, Clark said we must look beyond the Olympics to 2042.

“While electoral cycles work on 4-year terms, in theory, we could have 5 changes of government by 2042. Somewhere along the line there must be a break in that nexus to recognise that, irrespective of what government cycles have to go through, we need to look at the long-term picture,” Clark said.

“The success of the 2032 Games will be seen through the eyes of the athlete and there is a risk of expecting too much in terms of what the event can deliver.

“It’s not a panacea for all the problems or sins of the world. The cost-of-living and housing crises that people are facing now are very real and extremely sad, but history shows that issues like those work on a cycle, and we do get through them. But short-term fixes to address these issues at the expense of long-term planning for something like the Olympic Games will hurt future generations.

“Building an infrastructure – whether physical or digital – that works to solve social issues, accessibility, and inclusivity for First Nations people – is the legacy we should be building.”

The OGE is the central coordination office for UQ’s Olympic and Paralympic activity and partnerships, and is led by Executive Director Professor Bruce Abernethy AM, Executive Manager Dr Sharon Hinton and Deputy Executive Director Professor John Cairney.

“For more than a century, UQ’s world-leading capabilities and facilities, backed by forward-thinking experts and global connections, have delivered for the public good,” Professor Abernethy said.

“We’re Queensland’s most comprehensive university. Our experts are leading the way with research and innovation that supports the Brisbane 2032 Games in breaking barriers and creating a sustainable legacy for the community.

“But ensuring an ongoing legacy will require government, industry, communities and universities from across Australia and internationally to work together.”

Professor Abernethy said purposeful partnering was critical to the success of the home Games in 2032.

“UQ has genuine international strength in sport research,” he said.

“The University is home to one of 3 International Olympic Commission-sanctioned Centres for Olympic Studies in Australia, with the Queensland Centre for Olympic & Paralympic Studies based at the St Lucia campus.

“UQ is also leading the way in science and sustainability innovation ahead of Brisbane 2032, in areas such as quantum biotechnology, skin-cancer prevention for outdoor athletes, sustainable building and infrastructure, accessible communication, water security, cultural events and antiquities displays.”

The OGE launch follows the 2023 announcement of a nationally significant partnership between UQ and Paralympics Australia, which will see 2 world-leading organisations collaborate to create positive change through the power of sport.

With UQ ranked first in Australia and second in the world for sports science, the partnership will allow the University and Paralympics Australia to partner strategically on ground-breaking research, while UQ students – in a variety of professional programs – will complete valuable industry placements.

Associate Professor Beckman said UQ was uniquely placed to contribute to the advancement of Para sport because of its breadth of expertise in world-class research and education.

“UQ has game-changing researchers working in the fields of sports medicine and science, coaching, performance psychology, as well as dedicated Para sport expertise,” she said.

“But UQ is also educating the next generation of professionals. We will graduate health and medical professionals that understand and can effectively work with Paralympic and Olympic athletes, as well as professionals across engineering, architecture, data science, education and more – all of whom will be positioned to contribute to the legacy and impact of improved access to, and inclusion in, physical activity and sport across society.”

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