Legacy Governance – Sydney Olympic Park

Sydney Olympic Park

  • Olympic City: Sydney
  • Country: Australia
  • Edition of the Games: 2000 Olympic Summer Games
Since 2001
Sydney & New South Wales
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How Legacy Governance Started In Sydney

Known as “the best Games ever” according to former IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch, Sydney 2000 Summer Olympic Games highly contributed to both the promotion of sport and the largest land remediation project of its kind at the time and transformed a wasteland into Australia’s premier sports precinct and a model for sustainable development and urban renewal. It is now considered as one of if not the best post-Olympic Games townships.

The successful bid for the 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games in 1993 significantly increased the pace and scope of development within the area and it became one of Australia’s largest urban renewal projects. From 1995, the Olympic Coordination Authority (OCA) became responsible for the planning, urban development and management of the area and facilities for the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games. OCA played an integral role in the planning and delivery of the Games. An archive of Games information is available on the Games Info website. Sydney Olympic Park Authority (SOPA) was established on 1 July 2001 with the responsibility for managing the public assets of Sydney Olympic Park – open space, venues, parklands and development areas. The Sydney Olympic Park Authority Act No 57 is constituted to ensure the best use and management of a large and unique area in Sydney, an area which is a world renowned destination. The overall vision is for the Park to be an internationally admired example of sustainable urban renewal and development. One that integrates world-class venue infrastructure and parklands with a new community of workers, businesses, residents, students and visitors to create a valued legacy of the Games.

The Sydney Olympic Park Authority is responsible for managing and developing the 640 hectares that comprise Sydney Olympic Park and maintaining it as a lasting legacy for the people of NSW. Sydney Olympic Park Authority is responsible for day-to-day management of 220 hectares of its urban core, all public places, 430 hectares of parklands and 18 sporting venues. This includes the management of buildings, facilities and landscape assets; delivery of programs and events; enhancement of visitor experience; provision of sports and leisure facilities; conservation of water, energy and resources; protection of ecosystems, heritage and the environment; and general coordination of the orderly use, operation and development of the precinct. The Authority continues to develop Sydney Olympic Park, under the guidance of Master Plan 2030 (2018 Review), to be an internationally admired example of sustainable urban renewal and development. One that successfully integrates world-class events, venues and parklands with a new community of workers, residents, students and visitors and a valued legacy of the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Sydney Olympic Park today generates in excess of $1B worth of economic activity annually; hosting 5,500 sport, entertainment, cultural and business events including 51 days with 30,000+ visitors.

The Mission of the Olympic Park is to curate world-class places and events that deliver exceptional customer experience. The Park is today a place to call home, a place for business, a place to learn and a place to visit.


Sydney Olympic Park is an internationally recognised place with world-class events, venues, parklands and a great place to live and work, built on its Olympic legacy in a sustainable way.

Legacy is…

For Sydney Olympic Park, legacy is about transformation – from urban wasteland to athletes’ village and the best ever athletes’ Games to a sustainable vibrant super lifestyle city. Sydney Olympic Park is a unique world class Olympic legacy that has been developed into Australia’s ‘home of sport’ – a precinct founded, developed, and inspired by sport, its ideals, character and the Australian sporting spirit.

What’s next?
The Sydney Olympic Park Master Plan 2030 Review provides a blueprint for future urban development within the Park, providing for more than 34,000 jobs, 10,000 new dwellings – 23,500 residents, 5,000 students and 100,000m2 of retail while retaining major-event capability for up to 250,000 patrons and improving access to the 430 hectares of Parklands. The Plan sets out a commitment to achieve the highest possible rating of 6 -Star Green Star Communities. Sydney Olympic Park Authority is also working with Smart Cities Council to become the first Olympic precinct to gain Smart City accreditation. The Green Star and Smart City accreditation will: create conditions for greater sustainability outcomes, gather real time intelligence, protect the natural and the built environments, engage community, transform services and quality of life for everyone and implement sustainable planning of communities across governance, liveability, economic prosperity, environment and innovation.


Promote a healthy and active lifestyle

The Sydney Olympic Park Authority collaborates with it’s over 50 sporting organisations including state and national sporting bodies to deliver community participation programs. These sports partnerships with local sporting associations and the Park’s 12 home sports team and athlete ambassadors help inspire participation in a range of sports programs including 4,000 children participating in one of Australia’s largest swim schools, programs in football, gymnastics, basketball, cricket, AFL, rugby league, netball and over 500,000 schools students participating in athletics and swimming carnivals annually.

Increasing Sports participation is a multifaceted objective. The Sydney Olympic Park combines high-level facilities and a great choice of activities. The creation of open green space builds on the health and wellbeing of the community all year round both for the local population and for sports people. The environmental and cultural history of the Park is promoted through the Authority’s education programs.

The Authority has also developed a unique program for residents workers and students at Sydney Olympic Park to have access to programs events and concerts called Lifestyle. The Lifestyle program promotes lunch time activities and sports competitions.

The Authority has also facilitated the creation of Australia’s first sports technology incubator, the Sydney Sports Incubator which drives innovation in health wellbeing and high performance sport. Sydney Olympic Park is an innovation hub and welcomes business and R&D activities focusing on developing these technologies. The Sydney Sports  Incubator has been established to nurture sports start-ups and spearhead innovation in sports business and health.


Promote the City by leveraging its affiliation with the Olympic Movement

Sydney Olympic Park is Australia’s home of sport, a sports hub but it is also a wold class destination for living, working and studying.

Education is a key program for the Park. This includes delivery of Technical Tours for future Olympic and World Cup host precincts. Visitors are invited to go behind the scenes of Sydney Olympic Park, the site of the “best Games ever”. With the release of the Sydney Olympic Park Masterplan (Review) 2030, visitors can hear about how this world-class sport and entertainment precinct has grown into a thriving residential and commercial centre. They learn about corporate governance and strategic planning; urban planning and development; business development; and community engagement. Such technical tours are ideal for professional and conference groups; university study groups; domestic and international business delegations; and government agencies

The Sydney Olympic Park Authority offers a unique case study of sustainable urban development all driven by hosting the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

Another key initiative of the Sydney Olympic Park Authority’s education team is the delivery of global video conferencing to international students during the hosting of major sporting events that foster positive cultural exchange.

Last but not least, Sydney showcases legacy in dedicated places. Sydney Olympic Park is home to the biggest collection of large-scale site-specific urban art in a single precinct in Australia. With more than 50 pieces of public art and urban cultural features spread across this multi-faceted site, the collection provides a unique record of the evolving cultural history of Sydney Olympic Park. As well as works relating to the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games, there are also pieces that evoke the early industrial uses of the site.

Sydney Olympic Park generates in excess of $1B worth of economic activity annually. The total number of events held at the Park for 2017-18 was 5,566. The number of visitors to Sydney Olympic Park in 2017-18 was 10.5 million including ticketed entertainment attendance increased by 355,000 visitors (+37%) – the main driver was concert attendance which was up 305,000 visitors.

In 2017-18 there were 51 days when there were more than 30,000 event patrons in the Park which is the same number as 2016-17. Sports based events eclipsed business events as the main type of event held across the Park in 2016-17. This difference has increased in 2017-18, with sports based events now comprising 47% of total events and business events now comprising 37%.

The Sydney Olympic Park based community grew in 2017-18 to 23,810 people, an increase of 1% on 2016-17. This is comprised of 17,500 workers; 4,450 residents; and 1,860 students.

Sydney Olympic Park Authority manages the Sydney Olympic Park precinct and has implemented the collation and reporting of visitor statistics on an annual basis in order to support attracting new investment and new business; planning services and facilities;  reporting to State Government and other key stakeholders; tracking market penetration of campaigns; and understanding relevance of Sydney Olympic Park to different markets.

As for the methodology applied, visitor data collection from venues and relevant Sydney Olympic Park Authority staff is completed either via a template or from the venues’ internal reporting systems. All data is then consolidated into a standard format. The information collected includes total number of visitors and the number of events held by purpose of visit segments.

The reporting of the number of workers, residents and students is based on the five yearly ABS Census, an intermediary Workforce Survey specific to Sydney Olympic Park and internal information from Property Development as relevant developments are complete.

Key Challenges

The hosting of the Olympic Games almost 20 years ago has allowed the NSW Government to create a global major events sports precinct.

The selection of a central clustered precinct certainly benefited the Sydney 2000 Games delivery but also provided an investment incentive for Government to embark on the largest remediation project of its kind at the Sydney Olympic Park site.

The focus of our challenges moving forward as an Olympic precinct is the increasing costs associated with venue and precinct maintenance. This is being addressed with the creation of new and upgraded sporting facilities which include Olympic and non-Olympic sports that are popular in Australia. In collaboration with national and state sporting organisations  SOPA and the NSW Government have been able to deliver and commit to sports facility projects including, BMX Racing, Mountain X, skateboarding and ‘centres of excellence’ for popular sports in Australia such as netball, rugby league and AFL and upgrades to sports fields, indoor sports halls, hockey, tennis, athletics and swimming facilities.

The Sydney Olympic Park Authority has been successful in collaborating with each sport to drive both community sport and top level sport in Sydney Olympic Park in a sustainable way. The strong sports use of facilities has been a key aspect of the Park’s success. Use drives investment and upgrades and new facility development.

Key learnings and recommendations

Identifying the right location for venues is key for post-Games era
The central model for the location of most venues in a central sports precinct certainly worked for Sydney’s Games. It provided the impetus for the largest land remediation project of its kind. Having acknowledged this each city that is contemplating hosting will have different considerations around the legacy benefits and how they may suit different models of delivery, but in Sydney’s case the central model worked.

As the Park now evolves into the ‘central city’ as the NSW Government’s Greater Sydney Commission planning agency refers to the Park. The next phase of significant housing, entertainment commercial facilities are planned which will all be linked with light rail/metro and direct connections to the eastern CBD and Sydney’s planned 2nd airport in the west of the city.

Identification of the right facility delivery model to suit both current and future growth is fundamental. Decisions need to balance with event needs and future legacy and planning needs to allow a city to achieve a sustainable outcome and a lasting legacy such as Sydney Olympic Park.

Focusing on your strengths to deliver the best legacy outcome
Sydney Olympic Park has rich biodiversity which included 400 native plant species and over 200 native vertebrate animal species. It includes three endangered ecological communities, over 180 species of native bird, 7 species of frog, 10 species of bat, 15 species of reptiles and native fish species. This high species diversity and abundance in the geographical centre of a large and modern city contributes to Sydney Olympic Park’s high ecological, aesthetic and educational values.

Sydney Olympic Park’s once-degraded wetland and terrestrial ecosystems underwent extensive restoration works during the late 1900s in what was the largest land remediation exercise ever undertaken in Australia.

The high profile of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games ‘Green Games’ provided a strong social driver for fast–tracking these works and led to their integration with ecologically sustainable development initiatives occurring as part of the Games development.

The bid for the Games had included a set of environmental guidelines for implementation by host cities (Sydney 2000 Bid Limited 1993) based on sustainability principles adopted at the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit. They included commitments to the preservation and protection of natural ecosystems and endangered species, as well as energy and water conservation, waste minimization, resource conservation and prevention of pollution.

Today the Park work’s with all key sports stakeholders to achieve in partnership from community participation to top level sport. The Park has become an inspiration for tomorrow’s athletes as they engage and watch the top level athletes train and play in Sydney Olympic Park. The below ‘Sports Network Model’ highlights the many dimensions of the Park’s unique sports ecosystem that inspires sports participation.

Sports Network Model
Inspiring participation!




More information


The full case is available in printable version on the members’ portal

In addition to the above description, the PDF version also gathers practical information including internal and external partners involved; finance and cost; use of the olympic brand; human resources and time; and contact details. 

The World Union of Olympic Cities’ team remains at your disposal for any further information and contact’s facilitation at info@olympiccities.org 

Additional resources can be found through the following links:







Let’s Ride

Let’s Ride

  • Olympic City: Sydney
  • Country: Australia
  • Edition of the Games: 2000 Olympic Summer Games
Permanent since 2015

Description of the Project

Let’s Ride is a national junior riding programme designed by Cycling Australia (CA) to be a fun learning experience for kids. The programme teaches them to ride safely by developing their knowledge, skills and confidence – giving parents peace of mind.

Learning to ride safely is a skill that must be taught as children grow and gain independence. With 1.9 million Australian kids riding bikes every week, and no official programme to teach kids the necessary life-saving skills, there was a huge gap that needed to be addressed.

Cycling Australia has undertaken an extensive research and development process that led to the implementation of the Let’s Ride programme. Independent experts, representatives from state cycling bodies, potential instructors, marketing agencies and internal experts have all contributed with their own expertise in shaping the programme for maximum appeal to kids and their parents.

The Let’s Ride programme offers activities before, during or after school hours. Cycling Australia accredited instructors can come to your school to deliver the industry leading six-week program or Let’s Ride offers schools the option to deliver the skills course internally by providing the school with a comprehensive and yet easy to use package. Let’s Ride Delivery Pack contains all of the resources and content required to deliver the program.

Cycling Australia has also partnered with the Australian Sport Commission who had an existing school sport programme to help combat the increasing levels of obesity that has been observed among the youth. Through this partnership, schools can access the governmental funding to cover the cost of their students who are interested in participating in the programme.

Operationally, 30 delivery centres have been created in the different areas, of which 19 are in Sydney. Linked to local clubs and schools, these centres are mandated by Cycling Australia to handle the delivery of the programme in the various districts.

The program was piloted in 2015 and launched nationally in 2016. Since then, the program has operated in all states and territories across Australia. Having great success during this time the program is on the cusp of reaching 10,000 participants.


Promote a healthy and active lifestyle

The Let’s Ride programme provides a unique opportunity to target children and to promote cycling as a fun way to practice sport and to use bikes as an alternative means of transportation. It further offers a way to educate the youth and to encourage them to adopt a healthy and active lifestyle. Ultimately, this could help combat youth obesity, which is becoming an issue not only in Australia, but worldwide.

Develop human capital and generate social cohesion

The programme targets both parents and children. In order to make the road safer for biking, it is important to educate both these groups. For kids, knowing how to ride a bike independently does not necessarily translate to road awareness and safety. The Let’s Ride programme aims to fill this gap.

By offering programmes through schools Cycling Australia and the Australian Sport Commission created a new approach towards teaching children how to ride. The programme aims at educating children on the proper techniques and road safety measures that are needed in modern day cycling.




A post participation survey is sent to the parents whose child took part in the programme. The coaches aim at finding out what the kids think of the programme by asking specific questions.

In addition, meetings are organised with the delivery centres every six months to get their feedback on how the programmes is working in the various local towns.


Key Challenges


Defining the programme

In a typical week, one out of every six Australians will ride a bike. Biking is really popular in Australia and it is important to teach children to learn how to ride. Before defining the programme comprehensive and robust research was required to ensure the right set-up. Thousands of parents, teachers and kids were involved in the process. Independent experts also contributed in the research by sharing their knowledge and assessing potential solutions. This was a long process but a lot of crucial information and guidance were gained, which helped shaping the programme for maximum appeal to kids and parents.


Maintaining Quality

Due to the fact that the programme is delivered by various centres, it is a challenge to make sure that the programme is consistent across the country. The objective is to keep up the standards level of delivery regardless of where the programme is held. Parents and children should get the same level of response, knowledge and experience.

The online registration which coaches have to complete at the end of each session helps the governing team to monitor the progress of the various sessions taking place and therefore, if they feel that something needs to be adapted or changed, they can deal directly with the appropriate centre or coach.


Key Learnings & Recommendations


Research, research, research!

The information gathered during the research phase of the programme proved to be quite relevant and useful. It allowed the team to know what age groups to target, how the concept of learning to ride was perceived in the market and how to build the communication strategy.

The research showed that 1.9 million out of 2.6 million children in Australia are riding bikes. However, it also showed that the majority were taught by parents who did not know the proper techniques and safety measures needed in cycling These results helped the team obtain the much needed financial support from the government.


Target the right audience

For a programme such as Let’s Ride to be successful, it is important to know who the target audience is. By conducting extensive research, this information can be obtained and used to better reach the set objectives.

The results of the research showed that parents were the most likely persons to teach their kids how to ride. This was a critical information for the development of the programme. The focus of the communication has therefore been geared towards the parents. It also helped tailor the programme for the different age groups to meet their different needs.



More information


The full case is available in printable version on the members’ portal

In addition to the above description, the PDF version also gathers practical information including internal and external partners involved; finance and cost; use of the olympic brand; human resources and time; and contact details. 

The World Union of Olympic Cities’ team remains at your disposal for any further information and contact’s facilitation at info@olympiccities.org 

Additional resources can be found through the following links: