Media releases

The secrets to elite sporting success

The nine pillars of sporting success will be revealed at the World Congress on Elite Sport Policy hosted by Victoria University in Melbourne on 23 and 24 November.

Organised by Victoria University’s Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living (ISEAL), the prestigious two-day event has drawn leading elite sports policy experts from around the world.

Victoria University’s Hans Westerbeek, Dean of the College of Sport and Exercise Science, said the event gives sport scientists, researchers and policy makers the opportunity to share expertise in innovative high performance sport policy research. 

“There is a growing awareness that elite sporting success can be produced by investing strategically in elite sport,” Professor Westerbeek said.

“Which countries are the winners? What do they do when it comes to participating in, or owning and hosting elite sport events? What outcomes are elite sport systems delivering to various stakeholders?”

As Australia’s leading sport university, Victoria University is part of the international research network known as the Sports Policy Factors Leading to International Sporting Success (SPLISS) Consortium.

Consortium partners include the Free University of Brussels in Belgium, the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands and the Sheffield Hallam University in the United Kingdom.

Pinpointing the nine pillars of success involved over 3000 elite athletes, 1300 coaches and 240 performance directors from 15 countries.

It built on the initial SPLISS consortium study “The Global Sporting Arms Race” which researched success factors in Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Belgium and the United Kingdom.

It is the first time the biennial event is being held in Australia. The 2013 conference in Belgium attracted more than 300 people from over 45 countries.

Speakers include:

  • Fiona de Jong, chief executive of the Australia Olympic Committee
  • Simon Hollingsworth, chief executive of the Australian Sports Commission
  • Andrew Westacott, chief executive of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation and
  • Jacco Verhaeren, National Head Coach of Swimming Australia.

What:  The World Congress on Elite Sport Policy
When: Monday 23 and Tuesday 24 November, 2015
Where: Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, South Wharf, Victoria

About sport at Victoria University

Victoria University is Australia’s leading sport university. Its reputation in sport, exercise science and active living is tied to a long tradition of extensive course offerings, major research, international partnerships, state-of-the-art facilities and expert academic staff from around the world.

As a leading sport university in Australia, Victoria University has the:

  • Largest number of students enrolled in sport courses
  • Greatest number of sport-related industry partners
  • Highest graduate employment outcomes in Australia
  • Most graduates working in the sport industry.

The $68 million Sport and Learning Precinct facilities at the Footscray Park Campus are used by students and researchers, professional sports teams and community organisations. Features include a high altitude ‘hotel’, exercise physiology labs, biomechanics labs and heat chambers, as well as integrated teaching and learning facilities.


SPLISS (Sports Policy factors leading to International Sporting Success) is an international research network of research cooperation that coordinates, develops and shares expertise in innovative high performance sport policy research. 

During the conference, SPLISS to launch innovative research into international elite sport practice.

SPLISS has set up an international collaborative project with:

  • 43 researchers
  • 33 policy partners across 15 countries
  • over 3000 elite athletes
  • over 1300 elite coaches
  • more than 240 performance directors.

The results of this elite sport benchmarking research will be presented during the World Congress on Elite Sport Policy conference 2015 along with the launch of a book on the 2.0 SPLISS Project which builds on the initial research.

Professor Westerbeek is available for interview.

See all media releases