Three-time Olympic and nine-time Commonwealth Games swimming Gold Medallist, Petria Thomas OAM, is joining Gymnastics Australia (GA) in the newly-created role of General Manager, High Performance, where she will add her decades of experience to the sport’s rising HP credentials.
Thomas’ role is the second emanating from the new GA High Performance (HP) Plan released in July this year following the appointment of Director, HP Strategy and Engagement, Andrew Logan.
The three-time World Champion has experience across all facets of HP and since retiring from the pool has worked for the Australian Sports Commission (now Sport Australia), Swimming Australia and was the General Manager Team Services for the Australian Commonwealth Games team for the Gold Coast event earlier this year.
GA Chief Executive Officer, Kitty Chiller, welcome Thomas and the breadth of experience she will bring to all elements of gymnastics HP program.
“It is incredibly exciting to have Petria join us at Gymnastics Australia,” Ms Chiller said.
“Her experience as an elite athlete and her understanding of the Games environment coupled with her incredible sports management experience since her retirement will be of enormous benefit to our sport and our athletes.
“Petria is extremely highly regarded in the sports community and we are very fortunate to have her as part of our team as we look to implement our newly released High Performance Plan.
“That Plan is uncompromising in its purpose to produce podium performances at benchmark events in the future and Petria’s personal experiences in the elite high performance arena will ensure that we leave no stone unturned as we implement the next phase of Gymnastics high performance in this country.”
Thomas is eager to help develop the HP side of the sport and provide further support to GA’s elite athletes.
“I am very excited about the opportunity to join Gymnastics Australia and help the sport move forward with the team already in place,” Thomas said.
“I did a little bit of gymnastics as a kid and my daughter is doing it at state level and really enjoying it.
“Gymnastics is such a wonderful all-round development sport. It provides the opportunity to develop balance, coordination, stability and strength. At the elite level it is just fantastic to watch which is evidenced by how many people watch it at Olympic and Commonwealth Games.
“Gymnastics is highly skillful and it takes a lot of hard work from athletes to reach the elite level. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes and I am looking forward to getting involved and providing input to make the systems and processes better to support the HP programs.”
GA’s new HP head, Andrew Logan believes Thomas will be a key individual in developing all the elements needed to deliver on the sport’s new high performance plan.
“GA’s aspiration is, by 2024 and ultimately 2028, for our gymnasts to be competitive internationally, to challenge for podium results at Commonwealth, World and Olympic Games and, to inspire our community,” said Logan.
“To achieve this, comes through meticulous planning, the implementation and execution. It’s also about our people.
“We welcome Petria to GA’s high performance team. As an athlete who knows what it takes to win, but also highly respected within the national sport sector through her roles since retiring from the pool, Petria’s experience in HP processes and capability development will be an invaluable asset within the Gymnastics community.”
Thomas starts at GA later in November and will be based at the sport’s National Training Centre at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in Canberra.