• A record 36 Olympic and Paralympic sports are currently targeting a medal at Rio 2016
• Thanks to ongoing Government and National Lottery support planning well advanced for Tokyo 2020
At the start of the Rio Olympic and Paralympic year, UK Sport’s latest intelligence suggests confidence should be high in British athletes achieving the best ever “away” Olympics (currently Beijing 2008 – 47) and continuing success in the increasingly competitive Paralympic sports.
Based on the latest sophisticated analysis, UK Sport also believes the aspirational goal of doing what no host nation has done before by winning more Olympic and Paralympic medals at the next Games post hosting, remains “within sight”.
This follows a year of mixed results from the Olympic and Paralympic sports in 2015, which saw Diving, Gymnastics, Para-Rowing and Swimming achieve record medal hauls at their World Championships.
In 2015, British Olympic sports won 47 medals at their targeted events against an agreed target range of between 39 and 71. On the Paralympic side 125 medals were won against a target range of 110 to 156.
Final medal target ranges for Rio 2016 will be agreed with the Olympic and Paralympic sports funded by UK Sport in the coming months, as qualification and selection is finalised, and made publically available in July.
Simon Timson, Director of Performance at UK Sport, said: “Our aspirational goal has played an important role in uniting everyone in the high performance system behind an incredibly challenging mission. The ambitious aspiration has resonated with athletes, coaches, Performance Directors and practitioners and focussed their pursuit of excellence throughout the Rio cycle as we have sought to maximise the possibility of doing what no other host nation has managed to achieve.
“I remain confident the aspirational goal will be within the medal target ranges when we announce them in July, but the least I expect is the best ever “away” Olympics and to remain as competitive at the Paralympic Games.
“This would represent a fantastic, and historic, achievement, and make Rio 2016 another memorable Games to inspire the nation through the success of Team GB and ParalympicsGB.”
Liz Nicholl, CEO of UK Sport, said: “Our aspirational goal for Rio remains within sight at the top of the possible outcomes, and a key focus for UK Sport, our sports and partners.
“Our planning with sports for the Tokyo 2020 Games is also progressing with real purpose as our high performance system continues to focus on keeping ahead of other nations in an ever more competitive environment. The commitment we recently received through the Government’s spending review to continuing current levels of funding into the Tokyo cycle gives us a huge advantage.
“This, alongside the Government’s new sport strategy, bodes extremely well for continued success for British sport.
“That said, these are challenging times, with sports governance increasingly under the spotlight, and we welcome the opportunity to develop a UK sports governance code and the ambition for this to be applied internationally.”
Minister for Sport David Evennett said: "We are investing a record amount of public money in helping our athletes prepare for Rio 2016. The ambition to win more medals in Brazil than at London 2012 is a tough one to achieve however I am encouraged that UK Sport believes our athletes are on track for a very strong performance in Rio. The whole country will be right behind them."
Additional quotes from sports:
Jane Allen, CEO of British Gymnastics, said: “The 2015 World Gymnastics Championships, held in Glasgow’s SSE Hydro, was a historically successful event for British Gymnastics and for the sport as a whole. It is also a breath-taking example of an excellent world-class event that was so successfully held in Scotland, with the help of many, including the FIG, UK Sport, Glasgow City Council, through Glasgow Life, and EventScotland.
“We delivered an event that has propelled gymnastics into a brand new and exciting era in the UK. We also delivered an event that has set such a high standard for future World Gymnastics Championships events to aspire to. The success of the British teams was truly historic and testament to the programmes we have in place and the support structures enabling our gymnasts to excel.
”Paula Dunn, Paralympic Head Coach at British Athletics, said: “2015 was a great year for para-athletics. At October’s IPC Athletics World Championships, we won a total of 32 medals including 13 gold, which was our best return since 2002. What makes this tally all the more impressive is the fact that six of the 14 debutants medalled, which goes to show the strength in depth we have in the system at present.
“Also, with 24 new personal bests set and five world records broken out in the Middle East, we definitely underlined our status as one of the leading lights in the sport. However, we cannot take this for granted in a Paralympic year where everyone will be eyeing up those gold medals in Rio. A Games is the pinnacle of an athlete’s career, so to have London 2017 just around the corner, I have no doubt we will see some special performances from the British contingent over the next 18 months.”
Shane Sutton, Great Britain Cycling Team technical director, said: “Lizzie Armitstead’s road world championship victory, six world Para-cycling titles, six European golds and overall victories in the UCI track cycling and BMX World Cup series show the Great Britain Cycling Team is in good shape as we head into 2016.
“March’s UCI Track World Championships at the Lee Valley VeloPark will be a brilliant event – all but a handful of tickets have been sold and the whole team is relishing the chance to compete in front of a packed-out home crowd. We are expecting a stiff challenge from the world’s other leading cycling nations in London and in Rio but that is something we relish and our riders will be given all the support they need to deliver their best.”
Results vs targets, sport by sport, from 2013-16 can be found via our Olympic & Paralympic Tracker Boards