Two Years to Go to Rio 2016 UK Sport says Great Britain on course for record-breaking success

Published 5 August 2014

Rio_BAE Buda Mendes

  • UK Sport is confident Great Britain can achieve aspirational goal of becoming first nation to win more Olympic and Paralympic medals post hosting
  • Success in world class competition puts GB athletes on track for record medal haul in Rio
  • Up to £2million of National Lottery investment helping British Olympic Association and British Paralympic Association develop world class preparation camp in Brazil
  • UK Sport’s Gold Events Series targeting up to 18 key Rio qualification events in 2015/16 
  • Continuing partnership with BAE Systems gives sports access to the cream of young British engineering talent and the latest cutting-edge technologies

Following the incredible success of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games for Home Nation athletes UK Sport is confident Great Britain can make history at the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games by eclipsing the London medal haul.

The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games was a further example of the strength of the World Class Programme with more than 300 funded athletes competing for the Home Nations, winning 63 per cent of the medals in Olympic and Paralympic disciplines including 77 per cent of the gold medals.

UK Sport’s rigorous Mission 2016 review process has revealed sports are more advanced in their progress towards Olympic and Paralympic success than they were at the same point ahead of London 2012.

This analysis also suggests a record-breaking 34 sports are capable of winning a medal in Rio demonstrating the strength and sustainability of the high performance system.

Rod Carr, Chair of UK Sport, said: “The wonderful Commonwealth Games have been another reminder of the strength of the high performance system in this country with so many athletes on the World Class Programme winning medals and providing truly inspirational moments.

“We must not be complacent though as we have agreed a really challenging goal with sports and their athletes for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic games.

“The sustained level of National Lottery and Exchequer investment has been vital to building the momentum from London 2012 and I remain confident we are on course to achieve what no other nation has done before and win more Olympic and Paralympic medals post hosting.”

Minister for Sport Helen Grant said: “The performances of the home nations at the Commonwealth Games were absolutely fantastic, giving us many magical moments that will live long in the memory. UK Sport has raised the bar high for Rio 2016 but I am encouraged that, backed by record public investment, British athletes are on track to deliver. We have an excellent elite sport system in Britain and I know that UK Sport, alongside the sports’ governing bodies, BOA and BPA, will leave no stone unturned in ensuring our athletes are in the best possible shape for the next Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

UK Sport is investing over £350million of National Lottery and Exchequer income in to 37 summer Olympic and Paralympic sports - a record number for an overseas games.

Increased investment has also been focussed on coaching, talent development and the English Institute of Sport - the science medicine and technology arm of UK Sport - to ensure GB athletes are among the best prepared in the world.

Simon Timson, UK Sport Director of Performance, said: “The next two years are crucial as we focus the energy and expertise in the high performance system on striving to achieve our historic goal in Rio.

“It remains a considerable challenge but the world of high performance sport thrives on having ambitious and demanding goals and the evidence suggests the sports have the collective capability to do it with the continued support of all the partners in the system.

“UK Sport is working more closely than ever with the National Governing Bodies, the British Olympic Association, British Paralympic Association and home country institutes of sport to enable them to create the right environments and prepare their athletes for Rio so that Great Britain can make history at the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

UK Sport is targeting 18 major events which support qualification for Rio 2016 through its Gold Event Series to be staged on home soil in 2015 and 2016 to help GB athletes secure their place at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, with 13 events secured already.

To ensure Great Britain’s athletes have access to the best possible pre-games time environment, up to £2million of National Lottery investment is helping the British Olympic Association and the British Paralympic Association develop a world class preparation camp in Belo Horizonte for the crucial final period of acclimatisation before competition begins in Rio in two years’ time.

Mark England, British Olympic Association Chef de Mission for Rio 2016, said: “The British Olympic Association’s role is to prepare the way to Rio in a way which means Team GB athletes come into an environment where they can compete at their optimum level. We are leaving no stone unturned to ensure our planning and preparation is detailed and of a world class standard. The preparation camp facilities in Belo Horizonte will allow our athletes to familiarise themselves with the region before they head into the Olympic environment and with the support of UK Sport and help of National Lottery funding, we are extremely happy to have secured a base in the city.”

Georgina Sharples, Performance Manager at the British Paralympic Association, said: “At the half way point in our four year preparation strategy, we are on track and our partnerships with UK Sport, EIS and the BOA are all focussed on the delivery of the optimum environment to enable the ParalympicsGB athletes to perform in Rio.

“The hard work continues for us with our second Paralympic Potentials’ Camp at the end of this month which is another step on our journey towards being best prepared in 2016.”

UK Sport will also continue working with BAE Systems - its official Research and Innovation partner - in a £200,000 per annum technology partnership ahead of Rio 2016. The partnership began in 2008 and since that time BAE Systems has given in excess of £1.7M of engineering time and resources supporting over 20 different Olympic and Paralympic sports and 140 athletes ranging from cycling to skeleton, to taekwondo, speed-skating and sailing. Highlights include producing bespoke sleds for Amy Williams and Lizzy Yarnold, installing a laser-tracking timing system in Manchester Velodrome and analysing new scoring vests for GB Taekwondo.

Kelvin Davies, BAE Systems’ Sport Partnership Technology Lead said: “In a unique programme, more and more young engineers at BAE Systems are now working with British sport. The partnership has been a fantastic two-way success – giving athletes access to the best engineering minds in the UK whilst helping our young engineers build their confidence, leadership and project management skills. The partnership is one of the most sought-after projects for young people at BAE Systems to work on. By 2016, 20 of our most talented graduates and apprentices will have worked directly with dozens of athletes in sports ranging from BMX to Modern Pentathlon, Speed Skating to Wheelchair Racing.”

Peter Bentley, Head of Research and Innovation at the English Institute of Sport: “When it comes to finding medal winning margins, the low-hanging fruit have been taken. We now have to reach higher, dig deeper and go to places nobody has been before. That’s where partners such as BAE Systems really come in to play, bringing the unique skills, knowledge and expertise required to keep ahead of the game. For partners, they have the opportunity to share in that success and demonstrate that in their field, they also have the best of British talent.”

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