In June 2008 the UK Talent Team began a search for highly competitive sportswomen with the potential to become Olympic champions in cycling and other targeted Olympic sports (bob skeleton, canoeing, modern pentathlon, rowing and sailing). Girls4Gold is the single most extensive female sporting talent recruitment drive ever undertaken in Great Britain.
To apply for Girls4Gold applicants had to be female, aged between 17 and 25 years old, competing in any sport at county/regional level, fit, powerful and strong, mentally tough and competitive and up for a once in a lifetime opportunity to become part of Britain’s sporting elite.
The ultimate aim of Girls4Gold is to unearth exceptional female talent capable of achieving medal success in London in 2012 and beyond. There are numerous British female World and Olympic medallists who have specialised in a new Olympic sport at a relatively late age, going on to achieve medal success in short timeframes. These include:
Shelley Rudman: a former track hurdler, who won a silver medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics in bob skeleton, less than four years after trying the sport for the first time aged 21.
Annie Vernon and Anna Bebington: rowing medallists at the 2008 Olympic Games, five years after being selected through a talent identification scheme (The GB Rowing team’s World Class Start Programme, sponsored by Siemens) aged 20 and 19, respectively.
Rebecca Romero: a former medal winning Olympic rower who transferred to the sport of track cycling aged 26 and became Olympic Champion in 2008, less than three years after taking up the sport.
A number of Girls4Gold have successfully joined Olympic development programmes. You can read some of their stories on our Talent Ambassadors page.