Petria Thomas Named Chef de Mission For The 2022 Commonwealth Games

Image source: Getty Images and Commonwealth Games Australia.

Australian swimming legend Petria Thomas OAM has added another honour to her name with Commonwealth Games Australia announcing that Thomas will be Chef de Mission at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. 

With predecessor Steve Moneghetti having led some of Australia’s great success stories at the Games, Thomas was thrilled to be chosen and to once again create a piece of sporting history.

“I feel very humbled and very honoured to be given the opportunity to lead the team.” Ms Thomas said. 

“I’m very excited to be the first female Chef de Mission at a Commonwealth Games for Australia. There are some amazing names on the list of past Chef De Missions and to join that list is very exciting. I have big shoes to fill.

“I’ve been lucky enough to be on the team alongside Steve Moneghetti and he did a terrific job and I’ve learnt a lot from him over those years. I hope to be able to bring my own style and my own experience to the role.”

Looking ahead to Birmingham, Thomas highlighted that the Commonwealth Games are an important event for Australian athletes, many working their entire lives to qualify for the event.

“It was the Commonwealth Games in 1994 that really launched my career. It was my first multi-sport event and I went there as a young athlete with not necessarily many expectations and came away with a Gold Medal.

“It was that point in time that made me believe that I was good enough to compete on the world stage. For me, it was a career defining and life changing moment”.

Currently Gymnastics Australia’s High Performance Manager, Petria Thomas highlighted the great work that Commonwealth Games Australia is doing with its member sports, by taking an active interest in and investing in how sports are preparing for Birmingham 2022. This will build strong relationships and position the Australian Team well for Birmingham 2022.  

“Commonwealth Games Australia has real partnerships with its member sports and the investment provided in the lead up to Birmingham 2022 will contribute to sports being as well prepared as they can be.” 

No stranger to the international sporting stage herself, Gymnastics Australia Chief Executive Officer Kitty Chiller AM had nothing but praise for Thomas.

“I am so happy for Petria who is one of Australia’s true sporting legends and has subsequently shown herself to be a great sport administrator as well. Petria will bring a special understanding to the role and everyone at Gymnastics Australia is extremely proud of her. 

“Knowing myself what a real honour it is to lead an Australian team as Chef de Mission, I wish her all the very best for this new challenge in her sporting career.”

Despite the Australian Team’s success at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, Thomas is expecting nothing but high standards of competition and a real fight to maintain the number one position on the overall and gold medal table when the Team competes at the Birmingham Games in just over 3 years’ time. 

“By no means do we expect to go to England and for the competition to be easy. It won’t be. We know that from when the Games were in Glasgow in 2014, where England beat Australia in the medal tally.

“It’s not going to be easy, and we are going to be in for a fight. That’s the way us Aussies like it. In a way I think we like to go in as underdogs and we will have to fight for every medal and every result, so that is the challenge ahead for all of us.”

With the Games now a little over three years away, Thomas will start to bring her philosophy and style to the Team as she works with Commonwealth Games Australia on assembling the team staff.

“We are performance focused. It’s about providing the right environment for the athletes and coaches to do what they do best. And it’s not just athletes and coaches, it about every member of our Team being able to perform their role to the best of their ability to make it a successful competition for Australia.

“Whilst there is a strong performance focus, it is also about everyone on the Team having a really positive experience.” 

Having had many successful Commonwealth Games campaigns, as both an athlete and a member of the executive team, Thomas’ excitement is obvious as her journey to her eighth Games continues. While her competitive attitude and aim to win will be a focus, overall Thomas is thrilled to once again represent Australia on the world stage.

“I’m looking forward to being part of it. It’s a wonderful experience when you get to be part of a multi-sport event such as the Commonwealth Games. You get a real sense of belonging when the Team pulls together to achieve. 

“When walking out on the field for the Gold Coast Games closing ceremony, as part of the Australian Team Executive, I felt an immense sense of pride of what we were able to achieve as entire team.

“That is something that I hope as a team we can work towards, everyone having that same sense of pride of what has been accomplished at the end of Birmingham 2022.”