World Class Pathway
It can take athletes years to develop the skills and competitive maturity required to win medals in the world’s toughest sporting arenas and that is why UK Sport makes investment decisions based on an eight year pathway. UK Sport’s approach to funding reflects that journey and works on the basis of an athlete pathway with three clear and distinct levels –Podium, Podium Potential and Talent. At each level, funding is geared to reflect the challenges faced by the athlete and the level of support they need to achieve their goals.
We have developed definitions that broadly help to classify athletes. We have then linked these to our funding strategy, to provide a logical and transparent approach to funding – accepting that many sport specific situations exist. Current definitions are as follows:
- Podium - athletes with realistic medal winning capabilities at the next Olympic/Paralympic Games (i.e. a maximum of four years away from the podium)
- Podium Potential - comprising athletes and sports whose performances have suggested that they have credible medal winning potential within the next two Olympic cycles (an eight year pathway). In general terms however, it is not expected that athletes in individual sports would spend more than 3 to 4 years at this level
- 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
UK Sport’s investment model, informs the funding award decision-making process by allocating Podium and Podium Potential places to each sport on the basis of both current/past performance and demonstrable future potential. The assumption is that investment per athlete at the Podium level is the amount that is typically required to support that athlete to reach their potential. At the Podium Potential level, the support represents the typical investment necessary to underpin the athlete’s successful progression to the Podium level. Support at the Talent stage is more akin to an R&D investment and is positioned to support programmes of activity designed to identify and confirm talent as opposed to individualised named athlete support.