The Sleeman Centre originally built for the Brisbane Games is proving to be an important resource for Australia’s Winter Olympians as they compete against the world’s best in Beijing.
As it approaches its 40-year anniversary, the Sleeman Centre in Chandler, some 15 kilometres east of Brisbane, continues to be a valuable resource in the development and training of Australia’s Winter Olympians.
Originally purpose-built for events at the Brisbane 1982 Commonwealth Games, the centre has surged back into the spotlight thanks to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olypmics.
The site is home to the Brisbane Aquatic Centre. where Australian swimmers and divers dominated the Brisbane Games winning 34 swimming medals, including 13 gold, and five diving medals, including two golds, and the current generation of Queensland swimming and diving stars continue to train.
But it was a 2020 construction at the centre, also known as the Sleeman Sports Complex, of a water ramp facility that saw the centre welcome new sports to its precinct.
The Geoff Henke Olympic Winter Training Centre, named in honour of one of Australia’s most influential winter sport athletes, has allowed elite aerials and moguls skiers to train all year.
The construction of seven ramps and a launch tower that reaches 35m at its highest point and with a longest jump of 60m, the centre has revolutionised athlete’s training allowing freestyle ski-jumpers year-round training.
Training without the harsh and unforgiving frozen conditions of snow, replaced by the forgiving conditions of water breaking an athletes’ landing and cushioning their falls.
It provides a year-long training facility for Australia’s elite aerial skiers.
The centre has already paid dividends with Australian mogul superstar Jakara Anthony winning gold in the women’s moguls in Beijing, the first Australian Winter Olympics gold medal since 2010.
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“To have the new water ramp facility in Australia is really game-changing for winter sport,” Anthony said after her gold medal win on Sunday night.
“It means we don’t have to travel internationally so much and we can just duck up and train some jumps while we’re on snow.
“Particularly in these last couple of years with COVID when it hasn’t been easy to get overseas to access those facilities, it’s really been a game changer.
“It’s massive for freestyle skiing in Australia.”
In 2016, the complex open the Anna Meares Velodrome.
A 250-metre indoor velodrome, named in honour of the five-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist, that hosted the track cycling events at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
The Anna Meares Velodrome will play host to the cycling track events at the Brisbane 2032 Summer Olympics and Paralympics.
When Brisbane hosts those Games, it will continue to use the centre built for the 1982 Commonwealth Games as it celebrates its 50-year anniversary and its fifth decade of welcoming the nation’s and the world’s best athletes.