UK Sport, supported by its science, medicine and technology arm, the English Institute of Sport (EIS), today shared its vision for building a stronger, more sustainable high performance system, to support British athletes to win Olympic and Paralympic medals for many years to come.
As the results of the summer sports' 2013 competitive season were collated, showing British athletes had won a total of 42 medals in Olympic disciplines at key milestone events this year and 149 in Paralympic disciplines*, against target ranges of 26-54 and 88-127 respectively, UK Sport expressed confidence in their aim to win more Olympic and Paralympic medals in Rio than were won in London, a feat no other host nation has achieved post-hosting in recent history.
In the past year since London 2012, UK Sport has been masterminding its plan to ensure the UK high performance system is in the best possible shape to meet the demands of the challenging goals set for Rio 2016, and sustain success for many Olympic and Paralympic Games beyond that.
Simon Timson, Director of Performance at UK Sport, who took up his post in January 2013, said: "Winning more Olympic and Paralympic medals in Rio than we did in London, bucking the trend of a host nation slump in performance at the following Games, presents a sizable challenge but one the high performance system is capable of meeting."
"Past success is no guarantee of future medals, and we must not assume replicating what we did for Beijing and London, because it produced incredible results, will work for Rio.
"We have been through a period of recalibration post-London, and, while we have a long way to go, I am confident that we are in a good position to achieve our goals at Rio 2016, PyeongChang 2018, and beyond.
"By standing firmly by our ‘no compromise’ approach to investing in the right athletes and sports for the right reasons, developing more transformational relationships with sports, using the best available data and confronting the brutal facts when necessary while capturing and sharing best practice whenever possible, we are well on our way to building a stronger, more sustainable UK high performance system."
Key developments include:
- A new, more rigorous, evidence based and action oriented Mission 2016 tracking tool to support the on-going development of all World Class Performance Programmes
- A new in-house Mission Strategy and Analysis Function to provide comprehensive data centralisation, analysis and interpretation on athletes and World Class Programmes’ performance pathways
- The establishment of a Project Para Impact Group in partnership with the BPA and Home Country Sports Institutes, made up of multidisciplinary experts in high performance Paralympic sport with a shared aim of accelerating the development of the Paralympic high performance system
- Increased investment into Coach Development and Performance Pathways (Talent) to extend their reach and deliver more bespoke programmes of education and support
- The transfer of UK Sport’s Research and Innovation function to the EIS, to improve the alignment and integration of all the technical areas of science, medicine and technological solutions and research
Meanwhile the EIS, UK Sport's science, medicine and technology arm, which works with 28 of the 30 sports that won a medal in London, has made a number of refinements to its working relationships with sports which aim to maximise the impact of the services it offers and provide athletes and coaches with access to world leading expertise. The changes include:
- The creation of a Performance Solutions team to manage relationships with sports and work with them to develop a Performance Partnership Plan whereby the EIS delivers a holistic range of science, medicine, technology and research services designed to increase the probability of success by optimising training programmes, maximising performances in competition and reducing the number of training days lost to injury
- Integration of UK Sport’s Research and Innovation function into the EIS’s portfolio so that it now offers a more integrated end-to-end service to sports
- A host of senior appointments and newly established partnerships with globally renowned experts to ensure athletes that work with the EIS have access to some of the world’s leading authorities in their field of expertise
Specific appointments include:
- Five Special Advisors appointed to support the Performance Solutions team and provide them access to world leading expertise in areas including: fluid dynamics, design engineering, materials engineering, endurance physiology, the neuroscience of learning, skill development and motor control, coaching science and speed and power development
- A Technical Advisory Group of seven experts appointed to provide technical advice, scrutiny and guidance to the EIS board
- A Head of Speed and Power and a Head of Endurance Sports both hired to provide expert knowledge and oversee the delivery of service to sports in these critically important areas
Nigel Walker, EIS National Director, explained: "The high performance system that has been built up over the last 10 years to support sports has been successful in helping athletes and coaches to deliver medals however we cannot be complacent and just carry on doing the same things as before if we want to continue to achieve the target for Rio.
"We have to look at where we can make changes and how we can do things better and as a result of this process the EIS has changed the way it interfaces with sports to become more of a solutions provider and an organisation that can work with their athletes and coaches to address a wide range of performance issues. The development of the Partnership Performance Plan underpins this way of working and ensures that everything we do for a coach or athlete is focused on the goal of helping them to produce medal winning performances.
"The addition of Research and Innovation to our portfolio and the recruitment of a host of globally-renowned experts to work with us or in an advisory capacity has significantly enhanced our all-round service and ensures that athletes in Great Britain will have access to world-leading expertise and support in sport science, medicine, technology and engineering."
2013 Milestone Targets - Olympic sports and Disciplines
2013 Milestone Targets - Paralympic sports and Disciplines