The appointment on Wednesday of Lord Moynihan as Chairman of the British Olympic Association has further highlighted the excitement and expectation felt by sport in this country regarding 2012. The ambition to field the largest and most competitive Team GB of modern times is shared by everyone involved in Olympic and Paralympic sport.
As the Government body responsible for funding and supporting the development of elite GB athletes, UK Sport believes that London 2012 offers a once in a lifetime chance to build a lasting legacy of world class success and that serious planning and preparation for the next seven years must start now. It is therefore developing with the British Olympic Association and Paralympic Associations a Performance Plan for 2012 that is likely to be as comprehensive as anything previously produced by a host nation.
Determining the medal potential and competitiveness of Team GB at the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games is absolutely crucial to assessing the chances for success and that process is well underway. UK Sport and the British Olympic Association are jointly currently meeting with all of the 26 qualifying sports that will be hoping to compete in 2012, to examine their medal potential, competitiveness and the likely opposition they will face.
Alongside this information, UK Sport has developed a highly sophisticated investment model that will calculate the precise funding required to deliver against proposed medal targets and the number of athletes required to achieve them. Created by Peter Keen, Performance Advisor at UK Sport, a former Performance Director at British Cycling and one of the country's leading experts in high performance sport, the model was developed with significant input from Performance Directors of Olympic and Paralympic Sport, including John Derbyshire, PD of Sailing and Chairman of the Performance Directors Forum.
It includes detailed analysis on a sport-by-sport basis of the performance staff, infrastructure, and operational functions that must surround and support an athlete, such as coaching and medical services, as well as the central services required to operate the programme as a whole. The investments made using this model will be on a 'no compromise' basis with the sports and athletes, ensuring that the funding made available is used to the best possible effect.
The calculations that emerge from the UK Sport investment model, in conjunction with the information gathered in partnership with the BOA and BPA, will form the basis of the joint 2012 Performance Plan.
John Steele, Chief Executive at UK Sport, says: "Whilst we obviously have unlimited ambition in terms of Team GB's performance in 2012, the sky is not necessarily the limit, as the nation's size means that we will never have athlete numbers to rival those of nations such as the USA, Russia and China. So, we have concentrated our efforts on examining the range of our potential, from where we currently are - a top 10 Olympic nation competitive in around 20 sports - to the ultimate we could conceivably reach in 2012 - moving up the medal table and being competitive in all 26 sports. There are a number of alternative destinations on that journey and our job is to identify them and establish what it would take to arrive there in each case."
"The work that has already gone on since 6 July to establish our likely competitiveness and medal potential in 2012 has been extraordinary, with ourselves the BOA and BPA all committed to achieving the best possible result for Team GB. When you consider the detail into which we are going with our analysis, and the sophistication of the model we have developed, it is clear that we will have the most comprehensive performance plan ever presented by a host nation."