According to UK Sports Chair and Olympic gold medalist Katherine Grainger, Team GB owners have set their sights on a record race from the Beijing Winter Olympics, aiming to excel at more sports than ever before.
A medal target of between three and seven has been set by UK Sport for next month’s Games, with the potential to top both Sochi in 2014 and Pyeongchang four years ago, the previous record of five medals.
UK Sport Chief Executive Sally Munday said: “Our intelligence tells us that British athletes have the potential to win between three and seven medals at the Olympics and between five and nine medals at the Paralympics. We have the ability to excite and inspire the public. A young, dynamic, motivated team with real potential.”
While the majority of those medals will come from sports receiving national lottery funding, UK Sport has also set up a Beijing Support Fund, which has assigned significant sums to non-lottery-funded sports, including seven games before Beijing it. New funding has been received. ,
Chief among them is Bobsleigh, who has now received £120,000, with 31-year-old Brad Hall looking like a medal contender, having already taken six World Cup podiums this season between two-man and four-man events. captured, as well as taking silver at the test event in Beijing.
And Grainger, Britain’s most successful female rower to date, having won five Olympic medals, including gold in London, believes the spread of investment across a wide range of sports, with some targeted funding, will help the public. to see the athletes in action, which otherwise would not have been done for Beijing.
Grainger, who is leading UK Sport’s mission to create the biggest decade of sporting moments and reach, unite and inspire the country, explained: “We are a huge force in Winter Olympic and Paralympic sport. And we know that’s a real privilege to be part of a world-class performance system and it should always feel special. As athletes, and of course when I was an athlete, you never did it Not taken lightly, you felt incredibly privileged to have access to everything that comes with it.
“But it should feel that it is accessible and it is possible to get and get it. So there was a sense of how we can open the doors to more sports and more individual athletes who have the potential but have world class program funding. It was really exciting for the Winter Games, we were able to support seven sports that were really important to us.
“Bobsley has already seen the biggest comeback from his success. We all wait until after the games, don’t put too much pressure on him.
“But we haven’t seen a long track speed skater in British colors in a long time. Depending on how qualifying goes in the coming days, we could see Team GB representing a record nine sports at the Olympic Games, Including other Beijing support fund sports such as figure skating, luge and biathlon. So just by numbers, we are already building a big base.
“The return on investment will not be determined only by the amount of medals at the end of the day. The fact that they will be in their Team GB kit and already on that big stage will be a return.
“The public would see athletes they wouldn’t have seen otherwise and see sports they wouldn’t have seen in a very long time. It’s a thrill because you wanted to see more and more British representation in all sports. It’s about athletes and their sports.” And there are more ways for the public to connect with the team.
For a long time, the focus of Olympic teams has been on medal return over investment, but Grainger described how UK Sport has adopted broader measures of success for Beijing.
She continued: “What is important to us is performance in a growing range of events and a range of athletes in men and women and a greater gender balance. It is important, equally, to share the stories of athletes who have have started their winter sports journey in facilities in the UK and who have top class training experience around the world. We can’t wait to see British Olympic and Paralympic athletes excited and inspiring the British public with their performances in Beijing as they They pick up the baton from the summer athletes who lit up Tokyo.”
UK Sport has ambitions to become an even greater force in Great Britain’s winter sports. The Beijing Support Fund demonstrates UK Sport’s commitment to the broadest group of sports, athletes and teams in the high-performing community as part of its mission to create the biggest decade of exceptional sporting moments; Reaching out, inspiring and uniting the nation. visit for more information www.uksport.gov.uk