The Sydney Olympic Park Athletic Centre is Sydney’s premier athletics venue. It’s name is abbreviated as SOPAC, by which it is often referred.
The venue was opened as the Sydney International Athletics Centre on 12 March 1994 at the Australian Championships by Betty Cuthbert, who the grandstand is named after. It has served as Sydney’s main athletics venue since.
The venue hosted the 1996 World Junior Championships and served as the warm-up track for the 2000 Olympic Games, being connected by a tunnel to Stadium Australia, where the Olympic competition was held.
In the lead up to the 2000 Olympic Games the venue hosted several high profile editions of the Sydney Grand Prix meet. Except for three years (2002-2004), the track has hosted Sydney’s annual high performance meets (variously, the Sydney Grand Prix, Sydney University Track Classic and Sydney Track Classic) as well as hosting the Australian Championships in 1994, 1995, 1996, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2013, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2021 and 2022.
Following the Olympic Games the name of the venue was changed to Sydney Olympic Park Athletic Centre.
On the promenade behind the grandstand is the Path of Champions, which honours NSW athletes who have won an Olympic or world title, or have held a world record. The 14 athletes features with bronze plaques are:
- Nick Winter
- Jack Metcalfe
- Marjorie Jackson
- Betty Cuthbert
- Fleur Mellor
- Marlene Mathews
- Albie Thomas
- Denis Wilson
- Betty Moore
- Bob Lay
- Maureen Caird
- Jennifer Lamy
- Kerry Saxby
- Jana Rawlinson
The venue is managed by the Sydney Olympic Park Authority, with the track regularly used for school carnivals and Athletics NSW’s competition, as well as being available (along with the venue’s warm up track) for training.
The venue finished third in Australia’s Favourite Athletics Track competition in 2021.