WMC header image



A note from Professor Snyder...

I am captivated by extraordinary success. I have always wanted to know what makes a champion - and I mean a champion in the broadest sense of the word. I see championship as a fundamental aspect of the mind, the aspect responsible for advancing civilisation. Furthermore, I believe that everyone is a potential champion.

Propelled by this motivation, the Centre for the Mind conceived the What Makes a Champion?™ event on the eve of the 2000 Olympics at the University of Sydney. Here, Nelson Mandela led a cast of timeless champions to explore the universals of great success.


We envisaged the 2000 Sydney Olympics as both the opportune moment as well as the quintessential vehicle for the exploration of human achievement. But, not achievement limited only to sports. Rather, human achievement across the board, across the spectrum of human endeavour.

What is championship?

"Answer this question and we will
have captured the crucial ingredient which lets the human spirit soar."

Professor Allan Snyder FRS
The Inaugural Edwin Flack Lecture
Sydney, 26 June 1998


The success of our initiative was astonishing. Led by
Nelson Mandela, over fifty champions from all walks of life and around the globe came together to discuss their own experiences, and to explore the secrets of success. The initiative inspired a revealing and thought-provoking book, What Makes a Champion!


The second What Makes a Champion? event was held in Beijing in 2008. Opened by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and featuring a video address by Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, extraordinary individuals from the East and West participated in three panels to distil the essence of great accomplishment and especially to discuss how culture and the society in which we live shape our approach to championship

The global interest in our What Makes a Champion?™ initiative continues to be overwhelming. From one simple question in 1998 has come a dynamic mosaic of unique and powerful programs, events and research.

We are delighted to announce that the next What Makes a Champion?™ event will be held in London in 2012 and will focus on the neuroscience of championship.



For more information on our exciting What Makes a Champion?™ initiative, check our our dedicated web site