Lifesaving Sport Aims At Inclusion In The Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games

April 23, 2024

The International Life Saving Federation (ILS) together with Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA), today announced their intentions to lobby for inclusion in the Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games, the first time the sport will be featured at an Olympics.

Lifesaving sport has long been a breeding ground for some of the world’s top Olympians, most notably Australians the likes of Phillip Walter Coles (kayak), Kenny Wallace (kayak), Ky Hurst (open water swimming), Clint Robinson (kayak), Grant Kenny (kayak), Michelle Steele (winter Olympic – skeleton), Tom Green (kayak), Kim Crowe (rowing) and Grant Hacket (swimming).

In its own right, lifesaving sport is iconic around the globe, making household names of Australians such as Trevor Hendy and Karla Gilbert and catapulted careers of legends of the sport including Kristy Munroe, Courtney Hancock, Ali Day, Shannon Eckstein and Zane Holmes.

ILS President Graham Ford AO said internationally lifesaving sport continues to grow and there has never been a better time to pursue the Olympic pathway.

“Today marks the first official steps we are taking in pursuing an Olympic dream for life saving sport, with some of the biggest names in the sport, both past and present, joining us”.

“Internationally, lifesaving sport continues to grow with our World Championships attracting more than 7,000 competitors across multiple age groups”.

“Our goal is to have the Ocean Man & Ocean Woman events, together with a mixed Ocean Relay, included as part of the Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games”.

“Lifesaving sport aligns perfectly with the International Olympic Committee’s vision of ‘building a better world through sport’, with all members of our sport committed to not only top level competition but also saving lives through their humanitarian work in volunteer organisations”.

“Our sport is unique, with all our members trained lifesavers who are ‘rescue ready’ and have the abilities to perform rescues and save lives”.

“While in Australia people may widely recognise the Ironman and Ironwoman Series, we have actually been part of the World Games since 1985”.

“This is our chance to provide athletes from our sport the opportunity for an Olympic pathway,” he said”.

Announced today from the 2024 Australian Surf Lifesaving Championships on the Sunshine Coast, which has attracted more than 8,100 competitors over the nine-day event, Surf Life Saving Australia’s President John Baker ESM AM said this will be a game changer for lifesaving sport.

“We are thrilled to be working with the ILS to have our sport as part of the vibrant Brisbane 2032 sports programme. We want to create a pathway for our athletes so they don’t leave our sport to pursue an Olympic dream”.

“Surf Life Saving Australia is an iconic part of the Australian way of life and what better way to showcase the best of the nation at home Olympic Games, then introducing Lifesaving”.

“In Australia we have more than 80,000 members aged under 18 years old, showing the depth and breadth of our movement and a strong pathway from which athletes could be selected.

“Australia will later this year host the ILS Lifesaving World Championships on the Gold Coast, with Australia holding the reigning World Ironman and Ironwoman crowns,” he said.

About the International Life Saving Federation

  • 30+ million members working on global drowning prevention and water safety
  • 115 Full-Member Countries
  • Lifesaving Sport officially recognised by the International Olympic Committee since 1994
  • 7,000 – 8,000 competitors currently at the Lifesaving World Championships
  • 50+ Countries participating in the Lifesaving World Championships
  • 16+ Age profile of participants
  • 50/50 Male/Female participation
  • Lifesaving experiencing overall growth and evolution

About Surf Life Saving Australia

  • Surf Life Saving Australia has more than 193,000 volunteer members
  • More than 80,000 members are aged under 18
  • Every year almost 10,000 rescues are performed
  • Every season more than 1.4 million hours are volunteered by members to keep watch over Australia’s beaches
  • The 2024 Australian Surf Life Saving Championships attracted more than 8,100 competitors