Lottery takes sport to a new level

Published 4 November 2004


Sport in the UK is at a new level thanks to the National Lottery. That was the simple verdict from UK Sport as it reflected on the difference that funding had made in the last seven years to our top sportsmen and women.

While the National Lottery has being supporting good causes for a decade and celebrates its 10th Birthday this weekend, a change in legislation was required before money could be invested in people rather than bricks and mortar. This meant that Olympic and Paralympic sport didn’t begin to benefit from Lottery money until May 1997, when Athletics and Rowing were among the first seven sports to gain awards.

A quick look at the Olympic medal tables shows the impact that the Lottery has made. A solitary gold medal in Atlanta in 1996 meant 36th place in the medal table. The two summer Olympics since - which have benefited from a total Lottery investment of £167m - yielded 20 gold medals and have seen Team GB become a fixture in the top 10. Britain also has a series of heroes in Ben Ainslie, Kelly Holmes, Matthew Pinsent and Tanni Grey-Thompson to inspire future generations, whatever their background, towards a dream in which they could be competing at a London Olympics in 2012.

"Every athlete who has received Lottery funding will have a story to tell of the difference that it has made to their Olympic dream, but the bottom line is that the Lottery has helped us take sport in the UK to a new level", said Sue Campbell, UK Sport’s Chair.

"But the Athens Games proved that there is no longer any margin for error if you want the top prize. If you put the winning margins of Kelly Holmes in the 800m, Chris Hoy in the track cycling, the Men’s Coxless Four and 4 x 100m relay team all together, the collective total is still only just over two tenths of a second. The power of our Lottery investment is in its ability to seek out those tenths, hundredths or even thousandths of a second, wherever they exist, and make sure that if there’s a close call, British athletes emerge on the winning side."

And the results haven’t just been about Olympic success. Great Britain finished second in the Paralympic Games medal table for the second Games in succession in Athens. In addition to that, the four years prior to the Athens Olympics saw an incredible 340 medals won at major sporting championships by British athletes.

UK Sport has also been able to invest the more modest sum of £11m in another area that makes a big difference, not just for our athletes, but also for sports and communities, by bringing major sporting events to the UK. The World Class Events programme has seen world championships staged across the UK from the World Indoor Athletics Championships in Birmingham, to the World Amateur Boxing Championships in Belfast.

Staging events at home has given British athletes the benefit of home advantage, but has also given local economies a massive boost and provided opportunities for the public to see their heroes at first hand, providing inspiration for future generations of sportsmen and women.

"The National Lottery has allowed UK Sport to do some special things over the last seven years, but our task now is to make that money work even harder and to ensure that we deliver sustained success in sports that matter to the British public. The funding has allowed us to compete on a level with the world’s leading sporting nations, now we need to apply our world famous ingenuity to give us a competitive edge", Sue Campbell added.

Details of Lottery awards to sports and events can be found on UK Sport’s web site.

Funding Partners
  • DCMS
  • TNL partners
Official Partners
  • BAES logo
  • BUPA
  • IHG logo
Strategic Partners
  • British Olympic Association
  • Paralympics GB
  • Sport England
  • Sport Northern Ireland
  • Sport Wales
  • Sport Scotland