Following a breakthrough Games in Sochi, where British Olympians won four medals to equal their greatest ever winter medal haul, including a first medal on snow, and the Paralympic team won six medals, their best winter haul in 30 years and a first ever winter Paralympic gold medal, the sports were able to make a compelling case to UK Sport for increased investment in the next cycle.
UK Sport will invest up to £31 million in eight winter Olympic and Paralympic sports, who have demonstrated credible medal potential for PyeongChang 2018 or in 2022, and will contribute towards a collective ambition for Great Britain to have yet another record breaking Games in four years’ time. This is more than double the investment in the Sochi cycle, of just over £14 million.
A BPA spokesperson said: “We welcome this announcement from UK Sport and the news of additional support for our winter sports. This is good backing after their great performances in Sochi. We are committed to being a successful winter Sport nation and look forward to working with the sports and UK Sport in the build up to 2018.”
Liz Nicholl, CEO of UK Sport, said: “Our winter Olympic and Paralympic athletes performed exceptionally in Sochi. Inspired by our summer teams’ performances at London 2012, our winter athletes followed suit; proving that our UK system is working and we can create a nation of winners, with sustained funding from Government and The National Lottery invested strategically by UK Sport.
“The record £31 million investment announced today reflects the belief we have in the potential of our winter sports and athletes to make us proud again in four years’ time in PyeongChang, with yet more medal success.”
Minister for Sport Helen Grant said: “It’s fantastic news that UK Sport is doubling their investment in our winter Olympic and Paralympic teams. This recognises the hard work put in by our athletes who brought home a record medal haul from Sochi. We are now in a great place to break more records and deliver more medals at PyeongChang 2018.”
Simon Timson, Director of Performance, said: “In over 20 years of working in British high performance sport, I have never seen our winter sports and athletes in better shape.
“The investments announced today, along with the underpinning support of our Performance Advisors, Coaching and Talent teams, working in partnership with the Institutes of Sport, should keep these sports on an upward trajectory.
“Through the extensive review process we have undertaken to determine these investment levels, we have looked at detailed analysis of the performance profiles and international trends within all of these sports and disciplines, and feel confident we are investing appropriately to achieve even greater medal success in PyeongChang.
“I’d like to thank all the sports involved in this process for the extensive work that went into making their business cases, and National Lottery players for making it possible for us to back these sports on their path to PyeongChang.”
The investment allocations, approved by UK Sport’s Board yesterday, follow a rigorous investment process with winter Olympic and Paralympic sports, which began over a year ago. Sports produced business cases for investment in their programmes for the PyeongChang cycle, which provided UK Sport with evidence of medal potential for PyeongChang 2018 and the following Games in 2022.
This process, first implemented for the Rio cycle investment decisions, allows UK Sport to ensure a focussed approach to investment into winter sports, targeting finite resources towards an eight year athlete pathway where there is the greatest potential for medal success. This sets out to enable the best to do better, support those developing, and challenge the under-performing. It has led to the historic achievements of the Olympic and Paralympic teams in both London 2012 and Sochi 2014.
Up to £27 million will be invested in Olympic sports for the PyeongChang cycle, just over double the investment in the Sochi cycle. The funded sports are: Bobsleigh*, Curling, Figure Skating*, Short Track Speed Skating*, Skeleton, Ski and Snowboard.
On the Paralympic side, there is a more than five-fold overall increase in funding from the Sochi cycle. Up to £4 million has been confirmed today to support Para-Alpine Skiing* and Wheelchair Curling.
All investment decisions are subject to ongoing evaluation through UK Sport’s annual investment review process.