Thomas makes history as first female Comm Games Chef de Mission

Written by: Commonwealth Games
02 July 2019
Petria Thomas will lead the Australian 2022 Commonwealth Games team as Chef de Mission.

Swimming Australia congratulates nine-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist Petria Thomas OAM on her historic appointment as Australia’s first female Commonwealth Games team Chef de Mission.

It was announced on Tuesday afternoon that Thomas will lead the Australian team at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Birmingham will be the eighth Commonwealth Games appearance for Thomas, after a decorated career as an athlete saw her win three consecutive gold medals in her pet 100m butterfly event. Post her career in the pool, she also attended 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’ appointment as team Chef de Mission for Birmingham follows three Games as Athletes Services Manager and her Gold Coast role as General Manager of Team Services. Thomas 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, Thomas captured nine Commonwealth Games, three Olympic and three world championship gold medals.

Thomas celebrates a gold medal with teammates.
Thomas (far left) celebrates a gold medal with teammates at the 2002 Manchester Comm Games.

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 crowned AIS Athlete of the Year on three occasions (2001, 2002 and 2004), won ‘The Don’ Award in 2004 and was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2007.

An elated 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,” Thomas said.

“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.

“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.

Petria Thomas at the Commonwealth Games

Athlete

Year

Venue

Result

Event

1994

Victoria, Canada

Gold

Gold

100m butterfly

4x100m medley relay

1998

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Gold

Gold
Silver

100m butterfly

4x100m medley relay

200m butterfly

2002

Manchester, England

Gold

Gold

Gold

Gold

Gold

Silver

Bronze

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

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

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 27July, and will play a key role in ensuring the needs of the Australian athletes are met. 

To be staged from 27July to 7August 2022, the Birmingham 2020 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.

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