Conference concludes with peace campaigner's incredible storySubscribe
Grace Cullen 28 November 2012
The third and final day of UK Sport’s 2012 World Class Performance Conference began with a continuation of the theme of ‘relationships’, kicked off in vibrant style the previous evening by Sir Tim Smit, co-founder of the Eden Project.
Peter Eriksson, who recently made the transition from Paralympic Head Coach to Olympic Head Coach, shared his journey from speed skater in Sweden to leading the GB Athletics squad to 29 Paralympic medals at London 2012. Eriksson emphasised the importance of building a strong team, and encouraging athletes from different disciplines to work alongside, and learn from, one another.
Utilising his RADA training, coach to Olympic bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz, Fuzz Ahmed, demonstrated the importance of words, and how to use them to their full effect in his session ‘how to make friends and influence athletes’.
Meanwhile Danny Kerry, Head Coach of the women’s GB hockey team, explained how, when Captain Kate Walsh suffered a Games-threatening injury in the first match of their 2012 campaign, they pulled together, and utilised the individual strengths of each member of their support team, to manage the team dynamics and ultimately secure the bronze medal (thankfully with Walsh back in the team).
UK Sport's soon to be new Director of Performance, Simon Timson, was invited to introduce the final theme of the Conference: 'performance focus'. Reflecting on both the success of the London Games and his new role as the successor to Peter Keen, he entitled his presentation ‘Follow that!’
Timson said the mission going forward would be to "take the collective experiences of all the sports and work collaboratively to create a stronger more sustainable high performance system" while "hard wiring the lessons of the London cycle in order to try and make success inevitable."
Timson continued on the Conference theme by explaining "we don't need a rebuild; calibration for us is fine tuning in order to build and move forward."
Dr Matt Parker introduced a session on the complete ‘performance focus’ that was required to deliver the six world records in six races that led to the Olympic gold medal won by coach Paul Manning’s women’s pursuit team. Parker, Manning and the team of English Institute of Sport scientists behind this feat, which ultimately knocked seven seconds off the world record, said that it was no surprise to them and had in fact had be planned two years out from the Games.
The 12th World Class Performance Conference was rounded off spectacularly by Sean Carasso, the founder of Falling Whistles’, a campaign for peace in Congo. Carasso discovered in 2007, while travelling the world, that children too small to carry a gun were being sent to the front line in Congo, the site of the world’s deadliest war, armed only with a whistle. Carasso shared his philosophy for “committing wholly and absolutely to what you believe in”.
It was a fitting end to this year’s Conference. After a year of incredible success delegates had been encouraged to recalibrate themselves and their relationships, in a bid to come away refreshed and motivated to continue delivering success at the highest level with complete performance focus.
You can look back over this year’s World Class Performance Conference and the conversations and key reflections it provoked by following @uk_sport or #WCPC12 on Twitter.