The Australian Sports Commission first suggested the idea of a Masters Games and the philosophy of Masters sport in the early 1980s. The development of Masters sport included an underlying belief that each participant is a champion in his or her own right, as long as the physical and mental attributes for each stage of life have been maintained at their optimum levels.
The Northern Territory Government embraced the idea, seeing potential economic and social development opportunities. As a result, in 1986, the first-ever Masters Games event in Australia was held in Alice Springs.
The 1986 Alice Springs Masters Games (then called the Central Australian Masters Games) was only the second event of its kind to be staged in the world. The only previous multi-sport Masters games was the first World Masters in Toronto, Canada, in 1985.
The Alice Springs Masters Games became a success story and quickly earned a reputation of being the ‘Friendly Games’, thanks to the camaraderie and good-spirited nature of the thousands of competitors who took part.
The ‘Friendly Games’ tag stuck, and it’s easy to see why. The Alice Springs Masters Games has reached some amazing milestones over the years. In 2016, we celebrated a monumental 30 years of this biennial event in the heart of Australia. Remarkably, more than 100 competitors, officials and volunteers have continuously played an integral role in the Games since its inception in 1986.