In addition to UQ, a number of other Australian universities have been ranked highly in the field, with the University of Sydney in 4th place, Deakin University in 6th and the University of Melbourne in 10th square.
Among other universities in Queensland, Griffith University has performed well, ranked 31st in the world for its sports science related programs.
Professor Cairney said there was exciting research going on not only in the area of the Olympics but also the Paralympics.
“There’s some really exciting research going on about how we achieve higher support needs in sport,” he said.
“One of the exciting things about it is targeting a really under-represented group, but there’s also a chance to make a mark – the top athletes are a small group but there are medals to be won there. down and Australia could be a leader.
The Games loom large despite a full decade, but Prof Cairney said the benefits of a strong and connected sports science field extend far beyond the event itself.
“2032, the Olympics and Paralympics, it’s been two weeks,” he said. “It’s 10 years for two weeks, but it’s really what you do before and after that is key.”
“If the Games mean that we develop fully accessible sports facilities, or that marginalized people are brought into sport, there are health, social and economic benefits to all of this.”