With 18 months to go until the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games, UK Sport has announced the membership of its new Mission 2012 Panel, responsible for overseeing the performance progress of all Olympic and Paralympic funded sports and offering expert support and advice when responding to any issues or challenges they or their athletes may face.
The new Panel, which will meet three times a year, will now be made up of ten professionals from the high-performance sporting community, each bringing a unique wealth of knowledge and experience.
In December 2010, UK Sport announced that it was increasing the scope of its original ‘Mission 2012’ process, to cover not just preparations for London 2012 but also plans for the year by year support provided for the Winter Games in Sochi 2014 and early thinking for the next Summer Games in Rio 2016. This extension of responsibility meant that the original expert Panels formed for Mission 2012 – one for Olympic and one for Paralympic sport – would be refreshed and merged into one single Panel, with an increase in membership to cover the additional expertise required.
The new Panel members, who come from a variety of backgrounds and have differing areas of expertise, are:
- Liz Nicholl OBE, Chief Executive, UK Sport
- Peter Keen OBE, Director of Performance, UK Sport
- Rod Carr CBE, Board Member, UK Sport
- Penny Briscoe, Performance Director, British Paralympic Association
- John Derbyshire OBE, Performance Director and Racing Manager, RYA
- Vicki Hansford, Paralympic Adaptive Rowing Medalist (Beijing)
- Georgina Harland, Olympic Modern Pentathlon Medalist (Athens)
- Craig Hunter, Deputy Chef De Mission, British Olympic Association
- Derek Mapp, Chair, British Amateur Boxing Association
- Simon Timson, Head of England Development Programme, England & Wales Cricket Board and former Performance Director, British Bob Skeleton Association
Some members of the original Panels do remain, but others such as Steve Cram, Sir Clive Woodward and Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, have stood down in order both to allow new members to take the work forward and to recognize their need to focus on their individual roles elsewhere in the run up to 2012.
Speaking following the announcement, Liz Nicholl, Chief Executive of UK Sport, said: “Mission 2012 has changed the way we work with sports and the way in which we deliver support to the high performance community. I am absolutely delighted that we are able to call on the expert knowledge and wisdom of this group of talented individuals. They are undoubtedly going to add value to the process and will, in turn, help us deliver the necessary support to sports in order that they are able to achieve success in London, Sochi and beyond.”
The new Panel’s first meeting will take place in early March 2011 and will provide important monitoring and updates on the progress sports are making on their journey to their next Games.
Nicholl, who will also Chair the new Panel, continued: “Now that we have fully aligned all our sporting investments and judge each sport on its potential to deliver success regardless of whether they are competing on water, grass or ice, it was important that our Panel had the same flexibility.
“I am grateful to those who served for the first three years – their support and advice has been crucial to the Mission’s development.”
Panel Members Reaction to their appointment:
Rod Carr, Board Member at UK Sport, said: “There is now a double focus for the Mission 2012 Panel; both to ensure medal success in London and also ensure we help the National Governing Bodies develop athletes that are capable of representing Great Britain in both Sochi 2014, Rio 2016 and beyond. A unified panel looking at Winter, Summer, Olympic and Paralympic sports is the most effective way of drawing on the considerable expertise UK Sport has at its disposal and I ’m delighted to be able to contribute to the crucial work of it.”
Penny Briscoe, Performance Director of the British Paralympic Association, said: “I am delighted to be given the opportunity to continue my role on the newly formed Panel, particularly at this crucial time for both Paralympic and Olympic sport. Just as the sports both challenge and support athletes on their journey, the Panel provides an important opportunity for sports to assess where they are on their journey to ensure maximum success and return on investment. I hope my experience in six Games, across both Olympic and Paralympic environments will continue to contribute to the process in a positive way.”
John Derbyshire OBE, Performance Director and Racing Manager at the RYA, said: “I am looking forward to working with the rest of the Panel and UK Sport. With each Olympic Games the margins required to win medals, gets smaller. As a Performance Director, I hope my involvement on the panel will give other PD’s confidence in the process and enable the Mission to really focus where it will have best effect, sharing gold standard practice and providing interventions that have a direct impact.”
Vicki Hansford, Paralympic Adaptive Rowing Medalist in Beijing, said: “I am really excited to be appointed as a member of the new Mission 2012 Panel in the lead up to the Games. I am looking forward to playing my part in making sure everything that can be done, is done, for our team of athletes to perform their very best on the world stage. It’s fantastic as a retired athlete to be able to put something back into sport. I hope to bring my experience of competing at an international level in two sports to the panel; and in particular my knowledge and experience of competing at the last Paralympic Games in Beijing 2008”.
Georgina Harland, Olympic Modern Pentathlon Medalist in Athens, said: “Having been on the Olympic panel for the last 18 months I recognise the importance of the Mission 2012 process to Olympic sport. The changes to the panel reflect UK Sport’s ambition to make a real performance difference through process across all Olympic and Paralympic sport, both Summer and Winter. As a recently retired athlete with experience of working within an International Federation and, in my current role with the British Olympic Association working across a number of different Olympic sports, I hope that I can offer a unique insight at the panel discussions and I look forward to joining up with my fellow panel members at our first meeting in March.”
Craig Hunter, London 2012 Deputy Chef De Mission, British Olympic Association, said: “I am excited about joining the Mission 2012 Panel at this most interesting time for British sport. The next few years will be full of opportunities which we must maximise to our best advantage. I look forward to working with the Mission Panel in assisting Olympic and Paralympic sports, both summer and winter, to make a difference that will hopefully lead to increased podium success.”
Derek Mapp, Chair of the British Amateur Boxing Association, said: “I am delighted to be appointed as a new Mission 2012 Panel member and this will enable me to continue my commitment to help UK Sport in its efforts to improve elite sport in the UK. Since being appointed Chairman of the British Amateur Boxing Association it has given me firsthand experience of the results that can be achieved by a successful elite programme with appropriate funding. I hope my business experience, experience of leading the restructuring and development of GB Boxing and my knowledge of sporting infrastructure will prove to be of benefit to the panel.”
Simon Timson, Head of England Development Programme at the England & Wales Cricket Board and former Performance Director at British Bob Skeleton Association, said: “I’m delighted to have the opportunity to be part of the Mission 2012 Panel and support the partnership between UK Sport and both Olympic and Paralympic sports to help deliver their goals at London 2012 and beyond. I hope I can contribute in some small part to this process using the experience I've gathered from my work at the ECB and previously within Winter Olympic sport developing high performance talent identification / development systems.”