Thomas selected for second berth at Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games

Petria Thomas OAM at the 2022 Queen's Baton Relay ahead of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

Australian swimming legend Petria Thomas OAM will lead the Australian Team as Chef de Mission for the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games. 

Victoria 2026 will mark Thomas’ ninth consecutive appearance at a Games and follows her most recent tenure at Birmingham 2022 that saw Australia pip England to top the medal table. 

Thomas’ historic appointment as Chef de Mission in Birmingham saw her become the first female to serve in the role for Australia, with her appointment and performance recognised when she won the Leadership Award at the 2022 Australia Sports Performance Awards. 

As an athlete, Thomas had a highly decorated career that saw her claim nine gold, two silver and one bronze medal across three Commonwealth Games (Victoria 1994, Kuala Lumpur 1998, and Manchester 2002). 

Her tally of eight Olympic medals (three gold, four silver, one bronze) is equal with two other Commonwealth Games legends, Dawn Fraser AC MBE, and Susie O’Neill AM, further cementing her status as a legend of Australian sport.  

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. 

Prior to Birmingham 2022, Thomas served as Team General Manager for three Commonwealth Youth Games (2004, 2008, and 2011), and held roles as an Athlete Services Manager and General Manager – Team Services across four Commonwealth Games (2006, 2010, 2014, and 2018). 

“I am honoured to again be Chef de Mission for the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games and look forward to welcoming the Games back to Victoria and Australia,” Thomas said. 

“Birmingham 2022 showcased the best of Australia’s sporting talent, evidenced by the medal results and the tenacious spirit and determination that was displayed throughout, which was inspiring for all.” 

“I believe the Games last year built on the legacy and success of past teams. I look forward to leading the team again, creating a performance focussed and positive environment for our team members, and a Games to remember for all.” 

Commonwealth Games Australia CEO Craig Phillips AM commended Thomas on the success of the team in Birmingham 2022, while welcoming her second appointment. 

“Petria ably demonstrated her management skills while leading the team in Birmingham 2022, showcasing the integrity, dedication, and commitment required of the role,” Phillips said. 

“She is held in high regard by all team members, and the leadership, knowledge and experiences Petria brings to the team ensures the best opportunities to excel both on and off the field of play.” 

“Her second appointment as Chef de Mission is a testament to that and will allow her to lead the Australian team to finish atop the medal tally at home once again.” 

Thomas and other key Commonwealth Games Australia staff members are from today touring regional Victoria to commence team preparations for a Games slated to commence in three years’ time. 

The contingent will meet with representatives of local councils, traditional owner groups and other community leaders to introduce Commonwealth Games Australia’s plans for a home Games and ways in which locals can get behind the green and gold. 

The Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games will be held from 17 to 29 March 2026 across five regional hubs – Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Gippsland, and Shepparton – and will feature 22 sports. 

Golf and coastal rowing will make their Commonwealth Games debut, while BMX will join the cycling program for the first time. Shooting returns to the Games sport program after and absence in 2022. 

Athletics, badminton, 3×3 basketball, beach volleyball, boxing, cricket T20, cycling (mountain bike, road, and track), diving, gymnastics (artistic), hockey, lawn bowls, netball, powerlifting, rugby 7s, squash, swimming, table tennis, triathlon, and weightlifting round out the competition. 

Australia was represented by 429 athletes at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, with the team topping the medal tally with 67 gold, 57 silver and 54 bronze medals. 


Petria Thomas at the Commonwealth Games


Year Venue Result Event
1994 Victoria, Canada Gold


100m butterfly

4x100m medley relay

1998 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Gold



100m butterfly

4x100m medley relay

200m butterfly

2002 Manchester, England Gold







50m butterfly

100m butterfly

200m butterfly

4x100m freestyle relay

4x100m medley relay

4x200m freestyle relay

200m freestyle


Team Official – Commonwealth Games

Year Venue Position
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
2022 Birmingham, England Chef de Mission


Team Official – Commonwealth Youth Games

Year Venue Position
2004 Bendigo, Australia Team General Manager
2008 Pune, India Team General Manager
2011 Isle of Man, Isle of Man Team General Manager





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