Australia’s elite athletes are running on empty and reconsidering their sporting futures.
An overwhelming number of Australia’s elite athletes are under significant financial pressure, which is having flow on impacts on athletes’ mental health, their families’ financial security and their ability to stay in the sport they have dedicated so much of their lives to.
This research shows there is a lot of support needed to meet financial and mental health gaps and address other challenges reported by our athletes. There are also significant cracks in the green and gold runway from the perspectives of athletes who are aiming to represent Australia in the future.
Download your copy to discover all the research findings.
The Australian Sports Foundation (ASF) conducted this research between 16th February and 22nd March 2023. The study represents the views of 2,304* Australian athletes from more than 60 sports — from mass participation codes to small and emerging sports.
01. Elite athletes are in financial distress
02. Mental health is declining and greater support is in high demand
03. Australia risks an exodus of elite athletes
04. The green and gold runway needs investment in athletes
(Elite Athlete, Hockey)
Funding is my constant concern. Being a female, and in an Olympic sport which does not have high commercial support, it can be very soul destroying knowing myself and my teammates are the best in our country for our gender in a well-known Olympic sport, and yet we earn a pittance.
(Elite Athlete, Basketball)
I’m 25 and don’t have a career as I’ve been doing competitive sport since leaving school. I cannot live off my parents forever so I feel guilty that I don’t have an income to help out with costs.
(Elite Athlete, Tennis)
To put it simply, the costs of competing internationally as a tennis player far outweigh the ability to earn prize money. So this is a major concern for me and is a constant struggle to find further ways to fund my career.
(Elite Athlete, Canoeing/Kayaking)
I simply cannot make it work financially.