British athletes will continue to be strongly supported by National Lottery and Exchequer cash in the run up to the Rio 2016 Games, Prime Minister David Cameron announced today.
UK Sport will receive around £125 million a year over the next four years, providing sports’ governing bodies with the certainty they need to put long-terms plans in place to try and emulate, or even better, the 2012 medal haul that Team GB has enjoyed. The funding will also support Paralympic GB athletes who begin their campaign for medals in London in 18 days time.
The move is designed to reward the success of the UK’s outstanding elite sport system. It will ensure that the country continues to ride high in world sport and that our athletes can inspire future generations to take up sport, just as they have done in London.
The Prime Minister, David Cameron, said:
“The motto of these Games has been “inspire a generation”. Nothing has been more inspirational than seeing our elite athletes win gold this summer. There’s a direct link between elite success and participation in sport. I want one of the legacies of these Games to be our athletes triumphing in Rio in 2016, and in future Olympic Games. Guaranteeing this funding will help ensure that happens.”
UK Sport had already been allocated Exchequer funding for elite athletes up to the end of the current spending review period (2014/15), covering the first half of the four years leading up to the Rio Games. As an exception, Exchequer funding is now being committed to 2016/17, to give athletes financial certainty in the crucial final two years in the run up to Rio 2016.
The commitment of Exchequer funding of around £40 million a year in 2015/16 and 2016/17, added to an estimated £87 million of National Lottery funding a year, means that the likes of cyclist Laura Trott, gymnast Max Whitlock, and the 100 metre rising stars of Adam Gemili in the Olympic squad and Jonnie Peacock in the Paralympic squad will be able to train full time in their sports – and focus solely on achieving their medal potential at future Commonwealth Games, World Championships and ultimately at Rio in four years time.
As part of this deal, and in the volunteering spirit of the Games, funded British athletes will be asked to offer up to five days a year of their time, free of charge, to inspire the next generation through school sport.
Baroness Sue Campbell, Chair of UK Sport, said:
“What has been achieved in London is momentous. We have put the UK on the map as a high performance nation with the talent to compete with the best nations of the world. What was once unthinkable has been achieved resoundingly. The Government’s announcement to maintain funding in our high performance system demonstrates vision and commitment to sustain this level of high performance beyond London onto Rio and beyond – a true legacy of the Games.
“Most importantly it signals to our children and the future generation of British Olympians and Paralympians that we are serious about sport and high performance sport in the UK and that if you show the talent, commitment and determination to aspire to be the best in the world then there is a high performance system in place to nurture your potential to be the best.”
Liz Nicholl, Chief Executive of UK Sport, said:
“We are very proud of what has been achieved in high performance sport in the UK and at the London 2012 Olympic Games by our elite athletes. It’s been a long journey from the nadir of the Atlanta games when we won just one gold and came 36th in the medal table. The high performance system we have today is the envy of the world. To go from 36th to 10th to fourth, and then to achieve third in the medal table at a home Games is a great achievement.
“With sustained funding from the Exchequer and the National Lottery we will continue to apply our “No Compromise” approach to invest in the right athletes and the right sports, and we will further develop the high performance system to sustain the high performance legacy on to Rio and beyond. Today’s Government commitment to do just that is very welcome news to UK Sport and indeed to sports, athletes and performance staff who are committed to creating winners to inspire the nation at future Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
Sir Chris Hoy, six time Olympic Gold medallist, said:
“National Lottery and Government funding has helped me to achieve all my dreams in cycling. UK Sport has built a high performance system that is the envy of the world and this new commitment to maintain funding will allow our athletes to fulfil their potential and build on the incredible performances at London 2012.
“I am old enough to remember a time when things were run on a shoestring budget before National Lottery and Government investment transformed British Olympic sport. Having these guarantees for the future will be a huge boost for all the athletes aiming to win medals at Rio 2016 and proves we are serious about building a strong legacy from London 2012.”
Jessica Ennis, who won gold in the Heptathlon, said:
“It’s fantastic that the Government has made a big commitment to invest in British Olympic sport. Funding from National Lottery and Government has helped and supported me throughout my athletics career and allowed me to attain my goals.
“Competing in the Olympic Stadium was unforgettable and demonstrated the unique and amazing power of sport to provide those inspirational moments that can bring a nation together. Continued funding means we can seize the opportunity to build a lasting legacy from what has been an amazing London Olympics.
“I benefited from world-class coaching and the medical support now available to British athletes when recovering from the foot injury I suffered before Beijing. I have seen the way the National Lottery and Government investment has made a huge difference transforming my sport and many others to ensure they have access to the very best coaches, sports scientists and facilities.”
Ben Ainslie, four time Olympic champion, said:
“I am delighted the Government has committed to continue its support for British Olympic Sport through UK Sport’s high performance system well beyond London 2012. It has been an honour and a privilege to represent my country at five Olympic games and in that time I have seen the significant impact of Government and National Lottery funding. I was at Atlanta in 1996 when GB finished 36th in medal table so to see where we are now in third place at London 2012 demonstrates just how successful this strategic investment has been.
“When I look at the fantastic facilities at the National Performance centre in Weymouth I know we have the opportunity to build a wonderful legacy for our most talented sailors and for future generations to inspire young people in to trying this fantastic sport.”
Helen Glover, who won GB’s first gold medal of London 2012 with Heather Stanning in the women’s rowing pair, said:
“London 2012 has been an amazing experience for me personally and for the whole nation. To keep that momentum now is crucial and securing Government funding for the future will help drive our Olympic and Paralympic sports to the next level.
“I have been extremely fortunate to train on the world class British Rowing Start programme in Bath which fast-tracked me in to the sport. It’s incredible to think I only joined that rowing programme four years ago after joining through a Government and National Lottery funded UK Sport talent identification initiative and now I am an Olympic gold medallist! I am proof that there’s a system and investment strategy in place that allows you to realise your sporting potential and your dreams.”
Sarah Storey, cyclist and double gold medallist in Beijing said:
“London will be my sixth Paralympic Games so I’ve seen for myself the impact of National Lottery and Exchequer funding on the Paralympics GB team. It has helped us maintain our position as a leading nation as countries around the world have started to invest in Paralympic sport. I’ve been lucky enough to be supported every year since ’96 and being able to train full time has made a massive difference to my development as an athlete to help me be these best I can be.
“After Team GB’s incredible performance, it’s now our turn to show the nation what we’re capable of and to inspire the next generation of disabled athletes. Knowing that the investment in the high performance system is continuing through to Rio is fantastic as it means we can continue the momentum that has built up through a home Games.”