The leaders of the three key organisations charged with delivering success at Rio 2016 came together yesterday (26 Nov) to share their thoughts with Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic community.
Liz Nicholl, Bill Sweeney and Tim Hollingsworth, CEOs of UK Sport, the British Olympic Association (BOA) and British Paralympic Association (BPA) respectively, were speaking at the closing session of UK Sport’s World Class Performance Conference, presented by Sportscover.
Bill Sweeney, who joined the BOA in 2013 from adidas, said: “We all have exactly the same goal; for the nation to come out of Rio feeling as great as we did in London.”
Tim Hollingsworth, who announced his senior leadership team for the Rio 2016 Games just last week, echoed Sweeney’s comments, saying: “We are more united behind common goals than ever before.”
Liz Nicholl confirmed the significance of the “critical partnership” between the three organisations: “It is our collective responsibility to make sure athletes can compete at their best in Rio in 2016. We can triangulate the information we have to make informed decisions about how we best support our sports in the build up to and during the Games.”
With record investment from the Government and National Lottery supporting Great Britain’s athletes on the road to Rio, UK Sport has an ambition to do what no host nation has done before and perform even better than at London 2012, and the BOA and BPA are also focused on delivering more medal success for the nation.
Hollingsworth said: “There’s a demand for success but we are facing unchartered waters; Sydney, Athens and Beijing were great Games for ParalympicsGB, but the movement didn't have the profile that it will in Brazil, so it's slightly unknown. In many ways we [Great Britain] are preeminent, but at the same time still finding our way. It’s a unique and wonderful time to be involved in the Paralympic movement.”
Sweeney paid tribute to the support the athletes receive from The National Lottery, and the indirect impact this has on his organisation: “We’re heavily reliant on our sponsors to provide the best possible Games time environment for our athletes, and sponsors like to get behind winners. We want to do what’s not been done before, and the athletes couldn’t do it without the National Lottery funding they receive from UK Sport, so we’re really grateful for that.”
With regard to the goal itself, Liz Nicholl was keen to point out that intelligence from the sports is suggesting it can be achieved, calling it “a collective ambition.”
Sweeney assured the delegates that there will be “no stone left unturned to have best possible team in Rio and win as many medals as we can”, while Hollingsworth stated the BPA will be “ruthless and relentless on what we have to do.”
Reflecting on the World Class Performance Conference itself, Hollingsworth felt there had been a real sense of a collective will to both “learn and deliver”, while Sweeney felt the message was clear from the expert speakers involved that in order to succeed we must “be bold, with no fear of failure; set big goals and courageously attack them.”
UK Sport’s World Class Performance Conference, presented by Sportscover, took place at the Wembley Hilton from 24-26 November 2014. The annual conference brings together coaches, practitioners and leaders from the British high performance sports community to meet, debate and share best practice across key themes influencing athletes’ performances. The theme of this year’s Conference was Focus.