In February 2007 the UK Talent Team set out to awaken some future giants of British sport. In the first appeal of its kind, UK Sport asked potential athletes to make themselves known – providing they fulfilled the basic criteria of being tall (a minimum of 6’3” or 190cm for men and 5’11” or 180cm for women), young (between 16 and 25), and with some sort of athletic background.
The incentive was the potential for the most talented to become part of the performance programme in the Olympic sports of rowing, handball or volleyball and who better to throw down the gauntlet than Britain’s greatest ever Olympian, Sir Steve Redgrave?
The response was staggering and when the registration period closed the project leaders had around 4,800 applications to sift through – with just under 4,000 applications meeting all the basic criteria. It took around two months to assess all the applications before plans for testing could be developed in detail. By May 2007, handball assessments were ready to get underway, with rowing joining the fray in July and volleyball in September.
The chances of Sporting Giants applicants becoming Olympians ready to represent their nation in London in 2012 are slight, but a number of 'Sporting Giants' have successfully joined Olympic development programmes. You can read some of their stories on our Talent Ambassadors page.
Follow our talent campaigns on the UK Sport page on Facebook.