Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Mystique of the Australian Institute of Sport

The Mystique of the Australian Institute of Sport

By Graeme Wong
Spirit News
December 7, 2072

The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) is a sports training institution in Australia. The Institute's headquarters were opened in 1981 and are situated in Canberra (the capital city of Australia). The 66-hectare site campus is in the northern suburb of Bruce, but some of the institute's programs are located in other Australian cities. The AIS is a division of the Australian Sports Commission.

Two reports were the basis for developing the AIS - The role, scope and development of recreation in Australia (1973) by John Bloomfield and Report of the Australian Sports Institute Study Group (1975) chaired by Allan Coles. The need of the AIS was compounded in 1976 when the Australian Olympic team failed to win an Olympic gold medal in Montreal, which was regarded as a national embarrassment for Australia. The Institute's well-funded programs (and more generally the generous funding for elite sporting programs by Australian and State Governments) have been regarded as a major reason for Australia's recent success in international sporting competitions.

The AIS employs a number of staff who primarily work in Sports Science and Sports Medicine, which includes disciplines such as sports nutrition, performance analysis, skill acquisition, physiology, recovery, biomechanics, athlete career education, strength and conditioning, psychology, sports medicine, physical therapies, talent identification and applied performance research.

There are a number of sculptures located throughout the Bruce Campus, such as 'Acrobats', 'Gymnast', 'Pole Vaulter' and 'Soccer Players' by John Robinson and the 'Swimmer' by Guy Boyd. After the Sydney 2000 Olympics, two of the three sculptures - ' Gymnast' and 'Wheelchair Basketballer' - that were located on the Sydney Tower Eye prior to the Olympics were installed at the AIS.

The AIS Arena is a 5,200 capacity indoor stadium which has been used for sports such as basketball, gymnastics and weightlifting as well as music concerts. Directly adjacent to, but not strictly part of the Institute is the 25,000 capacity outdoor Canberra Stadium which has hosted matches of all the major forms of football played in Australia.

In 2005, 2009 and 2010 the Institute won awards at the prestigious Canberra and Capital Region Tourism Awards. These awards were given in recognition of the daily public tours that are available. Each tour, which takes in several different buildings of the Institute as well as the arena and the Sportex zone, is led by an athlete currently training there.

AIS established sports medicine and sports science services and research programs when established in 1981. Dr Dick Telford was its first Co-ordinator of Sports Science and Medicine. Other notable staff have included: Dr Peter Fricker, Professor Allan Hahn and Dr Bruce Mason. The AIS and the Australian Olympic Committee formed the Australian Institute of Winter Sports after the 1998 Winter Olympics. The organisation was renamed to the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia on 1 July 2001. It provides training in alpine skiing, freestyle skiing (including aerial and mogul), snowboarding, short track speed skating and figure skating. It is also a partner with the AIS in skeleton (toboganning).