Life Saving to be included in Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games. 'X' / SLS AUSTRALIA

The International Life Saving Federation (ILS) and Surf Life Saving Australia are pushing for life saving sports to be included in the Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games.

Lifesaving has long served as a training ground for many os Australia's elite Olympians, including Ky Hurst (open water swimming), Michelle Steele (winter Olympics - skeleton), Kim Crowe (rowing), Grant Hackett (swimming) and kayakers Kenny Wallace, Clint Robinson, Grant Kenny and Tom Green.

ILS President Graham Ford AO said: "Today marks the first official steps in the pursuit of an Olympic dream for lifesaving sport, with some of the biggest names in the sport, both past and present, joining us. Internationally, lifesaving sport continues to grow with our World Championships attracting more than 7,000 competitors of all ages.

"Our goal is to have the Ocean Man & Ocean Woman events, along with a mixed ocean relay, included as part of the Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games. We have an unique goal. All of our members are trained lifesavers who are ready to perform rescues and save lives," he continued.

"While the Ironman and Ironwoman series is well known in Australia, we have actually been part of the World Games since 1985. This is our opportunity to provide an Olympic pathway for athletes in our sport.

The 2024 Australian Surf Life Saving Championships on the Sunshine Coast attracted more than 8,100 competitors over nine days. Surf Life Saving Australia President John Baker ESM AM, said: “We are delighted to be working with the ILS to include our sport as part of the vibrant Brisbane 2032 sports programme. We want to create a pathway for our athletes so they don't leave our sport to pursue an Olympic dream."

"In Australia we have more than 80,000 members under the age of 18, demonstrating the depth and breadth of our movement and a strong pathway from which athletes can be selected. Australia will host the ILS World Championships on the Gold Coast later this year and Australia holds the reigning World Ironman and Ironwoman crowns," he pointed out.

Former world and Australian Ironman Trevor Hendy AM could not contain his excitement at the announcement. "When you have something that you really want, you get nervous on the inside. The fact that we've put our foot on the line and said we really want to be part of this... I was a bit nervous because it means so much to so many people. And I think the lifesaving movement is a movement of the heart," he stressed.

Ironwoman legend, former world and Australian champion, Karla Gilbert OAM added: "It would just be amazing - I'm just so excited to think of our sport going to the that next level and showing the world what we do. We don't just have the athletes behind us, we have the community behind us."

Triple Olympian and Olympic kayak gold medalist Ken Wallace OAM, highlighted: "It's an incredible opportunity that we have in front of us. I was one of those athletes who tried both and I'm very happy to say that I never left surf lifesaving to go to the Olympics. Surf lifesaving was part of my Olympic Games."

The International Life Saving Federation will be working with key stakeholders from the Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games to explore opportunities for inclusion in the Olympic Games.