UK Sport is celebrating a golden 2015 for #EveryRoadtoRio with more than a quarter of a million sports fans getting the chance to see their heroes in action as they prepare for Rio 2016.
The #EveryRoadtoRio 2015 Annual Review reveals 21 world class sport events funded by UK Sport were staged throughout the UK, making use of 18 different venues including those from London 2012 and Glasgow 2014.
These events, which included the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Glasgow, the European Wheelchair Basketball Championships in Worcester and the EuroHockey Championships on the Olympic Park, are part of a carefully planned UK Sport strategy, in partnership with the respective national governing bodies of these sports, to ensure British athletes have the best possible qualification and preparation opportunities ahead of Rio 2016.
Independent research has estimated a potential £21million economic impact to the economy from the initial £5m investment of National Lottery income.
UK Sport Chair, Rod Carr, who launched #EveryRoadtoRio in 2015, said:
“#EveryRoadtoRio events had a superb 2015 thanks to the great British public.
“The success of our major events programme this year demonstrates once again the inspirational power of witnessing our British Olympic and Paralympic sporting heroes and heroines in action first hand.
“We know it gives our athletes a tremendous boost as they strive to qualify for Rio 2016 to compete in front of a passionate home crowd but is also makes wonderful use of London 2012 and Glasgow 2014 legacy venues while bringing significant benefits to the local economy.
“The UK is without doubt a world leader in staging outstanding international sporting events to make the nation proud.”
Sports fans will have the chance to see an array of star British names as they fine tune their preparations for Rio 2016 at a range of exciting events including the UCI World Track Cycling Championships, LEN European Aquatics Championships and the London Anniversary Games all at London 2012 venues.
The World Artistic Gymnastics Championships at the SSE Hydro Arena, Glasgow in October featured the largest ever video wall at an inside sporting venue and was recently crowned sports event of the year at the Scottish Sports Awards.
Max Whitlock, who became the first ever British male world gymnastics champion at the event, said:
“There is no doubt the World Gymnastics Championships in Glasgow were the best World Championships I’ve ever been to.
“I remember before my pommel horse final there was a massive crowd waiting for us just to go in to the warm up gym, that’s what was so special about Glasgow – we would never get that anywhere else – that level of excitement and that support.
“The crowds were unbelievable and the fact that the GB team made history across the board shows what such amazing support can do.”
UK Sport research shows that home support can be crucial as athletes seek to reach the qualifying standard for Rio 2016.
Sophie Carrigill, who captained the women’s GB Wheelchair Basketball team to a bronze medal and Rio 2016 qualification, said:
“It was an amazing experience for us to have the European Wheelchair Basketball Championships held in Worcester where we train every day.
“It definitely helped having the home crowd behind us and motivated us even more to get the bronze medal and a qualification place in Rio.
“A big thank you to UK Sport and the National Lottery for supporting our journey so far, because with their help we can have the best preparations for the Rio Paralympic Games.”
Ian Sagar, Co-Captain of the men’s GB Wheelchair Basketball team, said:
“Winning gold at the European Championships is a great achievement and to have done so with friends and family coming throughout to show their support along with the massive home crowds makes this one that little bit extra special.
“I’m so very happy to be able to repay their support and the support of UK Sport and the National Lottery, without whom the Championships could not have taken place, by putting in great team performance and achieving qualification for the 2016 Paralympics in Brazil. The squad and I shall endeavour to keep this good run going through to Rio.”
Terry Bywater, Co-Captain of the men’s GB Wheelchair Basketball team, said:
“To win gold was amazing: three times in a row in the modern game is very special and a great way to say thank you to all involved.
“The support we received was fantastic, we know how proud the supporters are of us and we are proud of them too; they really had a say in our win, as did UK Sport and the National Lottery - without their support this would not have been possible.”
Sports Minister, Tracy Crouch, added:
“The #EveryRoadtoRio events have captured the public’s imagination and are crucial preparation for our athletes in the run up to this year's Games.
“As well as building momentum and support for athletes, these events are having a positive impact on the local economy.
“UKSport, backed by National Lottery and exchequer funding, play a huge part in ensuring our athletes are at their very best when they reach an Olympic or Paralympic Games. I cannot wait to see how our athletes fare in Rio and I know they will have the backing of the entire country.”
To find out more about future events and have the chance to get discounted tickets and win prizes sign up at www.uksport.gov.uk/every-road-to-rio