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SPLISS: more money in equals more medals out

Victoria University’s Professor Hans Westerbeek, a SPLISS research team member, will be speaking on high performance sport policy at the first Sports Policy factors Leading to International Sporting Success (SPLISS) conference being held in Antwerp, Belgium on 13 and 14 November.

Key questions asked at the conference will be:

  • Why do some countries win more medals than others?
  • How much do countries invest in elite sport?
  • How can policy makers influence the success of their athletes?
  • What makes an elite sport policy effective and efficient?
  • How should we measure success?
  • How do nations prioritize their elite sport investment decisions?
  • What is the impact of success in international sports events on society as a whole?
  • How can nations improve their medal count?

During this conference, the “hot off the press” results of the latest SPLISS study, an international comparison in 16 countries including Australia will be presented. This extensive research project is a collaboration of 43 researchers and 33 policy partners worldwide, and involves over 3000 high performance athletes, 1300 coaches and more than 240 Performance directors. During the conference sport scientists, policy makers and other stakeholders will give evidence of best practices from all over the world.

One of the key discussions about elite sport competition is to what extent medals can be “bought”. The countries that invest most money in elite sport (Korea, Japan, France, Australia and Canada, all with government/lottery funding over 100 million Euros a year) are also the most successful nations in summer/winter sports.

Another key finding refers to the prioritisation policies that many nations have made. Rather than funding a wide range of elite sport disciplines, nations like Australia, Denmark, Canada, Belgium and more recently the Netherlands and the UK tend to target their scarce resources to only a few sports where they see a real chance of success at world level. Evidence from the SPLISS study was unable to prove that this strategy works.

Professor Westerbeek who is Dean of the Victoria University College of Sport and Exercise will be discussing the role of major sporting events in branding cities.

For further information: Professor Hans Westerbeek is in Antwerp [email protected]

Media contact:

Christine White, General Manager, Public Affairs and Media

Public Affairs Department, Victoria University

03) 9919 4322; 0434 602 884; [email protected]


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