Nine-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist Petria Thomas OAM will lead the Australian team at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, becoming Australia’s first female Commonwealth Games team Chef de Mission.
Birmingham will be the eighth Commonwealth Games appearance for Thomas, after a decorated career as an athlete that saw her win three consecutive gold medals in her pet 100m butterfly event. Post her swimming career she has served at the past four Games as part of the Australian team headquarters staff.
At her most recent Games on the Gold Coast, the 43-year-old served as a deputy to Chef de Mission Steve Moneghetti, who has signed off after three stints as team boss.
Thomas’s appointment as team Chef de Mission for Birmingham follows three Games as Athlete Services Manager and her Gold Coast role as General Manager of Team Services. Thomas has also led the Australian team at three editions of the Commonwealth Youth Games.
During a representative swimming career that spanned eight years and three Commonwealth Games, Petria Thomas captured nine Commonwealth Games, three Olympic and three world championship gold medals.
Her tally of eight Olympic medals (three gold, four silver, one bronze) is equal with two other Commonwealth Games legends, Dawn Fraser and Susie O’Neill, as the best by an Australian woman. She was Australian swim team captain from 2001-2004, was three times crowned AIS Athlete of the Year (2001, 2002 and 2004), won the 2004 ‘The Don’ Award and was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2007.
Thomas said she was honoured to be appointed the leader of the Australian team.
“I’ve had the privilege to work alongside and learn from Mona at the last three Games and will take the learnings from this experience into the role. Steve leaves some big shoes to fill and whilst I will strive to fill those shoes, I will draw on my own experience and skills to forge my own path as team leader,” Thomas said.
“The Commonwealth Games provided me with the moment that made me realise that I was good enough to compete on the world stage. This was a priceless life-changing moment and I’m sure if you asked other Commonwealth Games athletes, they would share their own individual stories of how the Commonwealth Games have positively influenced their life.”
“This experience has shown me that the Commonwealth Games provide a wonderful opportunity for athletes to showcase themselves, their talent and their Aussie spirit and pride to the world.”
“I want to lead a team that builds on the legacy and success of past teams, particularly Gold Coast 2018, and be a driver of efforts to create a performance focus and positive experience for our Birmingham 2022 Team,” Thomas said.
Petria Thomas at the Commonwealth Games
4x100m medley relay
|1998||Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia||Gold
4x100m medley relay
4x100m freestyle relay
4x100m medley relay
4x200m freestyle relay
Team Official – Commonwealth Games
|2006||Melbourne, Australia||Athlete Services Manager|
|2010||Delhi, India||Athlete Services Manager|
|2014||Glasgow, Scotland||Athlete Services Manager|
|2018||Gold Coast, Australia||General Manager – Team Services|
Team Official – Commonwealth Youth Games
|2004||Bendigo, Australia||Team General Manager|
|2008||Pune, India||Team General Manager|
|2011||Isle of Man, Isle of Man||Team General Manager|
CGA Chief Executive Officer Craig Phillips said Thomas was the logical successor to the long-serving Moneghetti.
“Petria has served the perfect apprenticeship under Mona and brings the experiences as an athlete and team executive member from seven previous Games to the role,” Phillips said.
“She has also shown through her leadership of our teams to the Commonwealth Youth Games that she is more than capable of heading up a team in her own right.”
“Petria is respected by all athletes and like Mona will no doubt bring her own style to the important role of galvanising the Australian team as has occurred at the past three Games,” Phillips added
Thomas will head to Birmingham as part of a Commonwealth Games Australia delegation to mark three years to go, from the 27th July, and will play a key role in ensuring the needs of the Australian athletes are met.
To be staged from 27th July to 7th August 2022, the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will feature 19 sports across 12 days of sporting and cultural festivities.
Games organisers recently announced a proposal to add women’s T20 cricket, beach volleyball and Para-table tennis to the list of existing sports including aquatics (swimming, Para-swimming and diving), athletics and Para-athletics, badminton, basketball 3×3 and wheelchair basketball 3×3, boxing, cycling (mountain, road, track and Para-track), gymnastics (artistic and rhythmic), hockey, judo, lawn bowls and Para-bowls, netball, rugby sevens, squash, table tennis, triathlon and Para-triathlon, weightlifting and Para-powerlifting and wrestling.
Commonwealth Games Australia is planning to send one of its largest teams to ever compete in an away Commonwealth Games campaign. It’s anticipated that in excess of 400 athletes will represent Australia.
Australia was represented by 473 athletes on the Gold Coast with the team topping the medal tally with 80 gold, 59 silver and 59 bronze medals.