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Swim champ Perkins takes top sports role

Olympic champion Kieren Perkins has been appointed the Australian Sports Commission’s new chief executive.

The star swimmer, who won consecutive 1500m gold medals at the 1992 and 1996 Olympics, said he takes the top job with an eye on preparing the nation’s athletes for the 2032 Brisbane games.

“It’s the most amazing opportunity to help shape participation and elite sport for Australia,” he said.

“The decade leading to 2032 is a generational opportunity to build a lasting legacy for all sports.”

While his sporting achievements are storied, Perkins also brings a strong business background as a NAB executive and Australia Unity Bank chief executive.

He was also as ASC commissioner between 2001 and 2007.

“As an athlete and administrator, I have lived the importance of a symbiotic sport system that has strong grassroots participation, underpinned by volunteerism, helping uncover and develop the ambitious talent that will represent our country on the world’s biggest stages,” he said.

Sport Minister Richard Colbeck welcomed the appointment of “one of our greatest ever Olympians”.

“Sport plays an incredibly important role in Australia, and we are delighted to have Mr Perkins lead the ASC at this pivotal time,” he said.

“(He) brings first-hand experience of high-performance sport as well as an intrinsic understanding of the important role grassroots sport plays in the health and wellbeing of all Australians.”

It also means Perkins will step down as Swimming Australia president. He had been on the board since June 2019.

He launched the organisation’s independent review into the treatment of women and girls following allegations of exploitation.

SA chief executive Eugenie Buckley thanked Perkins for his support building the sport’s 2032 vision.

“This is a great opportunity for someone of Kieren’s professionalism, both within sport and the corporate world, to lead the Australian Sports Commission and we know he’ll be a great asset and support for Olympic and Paralympic sports in this country,” she said.

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