World Class Performance Programme
Winning medals on the international sporting stage is incredibly tough and the margins between success and failure become smaller with each passing year. To ensure that the UK’s most talented athletes have every chance of realising their potential, UK Sport has created the World Class Performance Programme.
The Programme covers all summer Olympic and Paralympic sports, together with the high-performing winter Olympic sports and operates at three distinct levels:
- Podium - supporting athletes with realistic medal winning capabilities at the next Olympic/Paralympic Games (i.e. a maximum of four years away from the podium)
- Development – comprising of athletes whose performances have suggested that they have realistic medal winning capabilities for 2016 and newly funded sports that are demonstrating the ability to be competitive by 2016
- Talent - designed to support the identification and confirmation of athletes who have the potential to progress through the World Class pathway with the help of targeted investment
Some 1,200 of the nation’s leading athletes at the Podium and Development levels alone, benefit from an annual investment of around £100 million, with many more involved at the Talent level. The Programme works by ensuring that athletes get the support – delivered through their sport’s national governing body – that they need at every stage of their development.
Having run the Programme since 1997 and with the benefit of lessons learned over the Sydney and Athens Olympiads, UK Sport has developed a No Compromise approach, which ultimately means taking no short cuts in resourcing the best athletes to realise their medal ambitions. Funding is targeted at athletes via their sport's governing body. Podium and Development level athletes will be surrounded by a performance programme that includes coaching, training and competition support, medical and scientific services and access to the best facilities that the UK (and often the World) has to offer.
In addition, recognising that succeeding in the majority of Olympic and Paralympic sports effectively means a full time commitment on behalf of athletes, UK Sport makes a contribution towards living and sporting costs via a means-tested Athlete Personal Award.