Hosting the Olympic and Paralympics Games is perhaps the greatest opportunity a nation could have to transform its sporting system and structures, leaving a legacy of both sporting performance and participation that will last long after the Games have come to a close.
When the UK won the right to host the Games in London in 2012, UK Sport produced a submission to Government on options for increased funding for elite athletes in the run up to London 2012. The submission was based on UK Sport's ‘No Compromise’ approach to delivering performance success.
The Government responded in March 2006, by announcing an additional 2012 performance funding package of £300 million, £200million of which coming from public funding, with a further £100m to be found from the private sector. That enabled UK Sport to start to work towards the 'ultimate goal' – top four in the 2012 Olympic medal table, and second in the Paralympic medal table.
UK Sport moved quickly to deliver a 2012 investment strategy that increased funding for those sports already part of its performance pathway and bring a number of ‘new’ sports onto the pathway for the first time. Awards were made for the period up until the Beijing Games, where performances could be taken into account before confirming final investment levels up to the London Games.
In December 2008, following reviews of the Beijing Games, UK Sport confirmed individual sport investment levels for the London Olympiad, based on known resources assured by the Government together with the overall performance ambitions. It’s ‘No Compromise’ funding strategy of concentrating investment in those sports and athletes most likely to deliver medals sits at the heart of these decisions, while also providing an opportunity for the sports only brought into the scope of funding in 2006 to become competitive by the time the 2012 Games commence.
These figures were reviewed in December 2009, following the launch of ‘Team 2012’ , an initiative that has generated a third private income stream for Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes, in addition to Exchequer and National Lottery funds.
Coupled with its Mission 2012 process, which is designed to flag up and eliminate potential barriers to success, UK Sport is determined to ensure that London 2012 is an opportunity that is not missed. When the flame is extinguished we will have a high-performance system that is not only the envy of the world, but also goes on to produce inspirational results for decades to come.