UK Sport has today announced its holistic approach to reviewing performance and evaluating success at the Olympics and Paralympics at what will be an extraordinary Games for British athletes in Tokyo and the public at home.
For UK Sport success at these unique Olympic and Paralympic Games is centred around those British athletes selected having every chance possible to compete and return to the UK safely, providing the nation with moments that generate an immense source of pride and happiness and achieving our collective medal ranges.
Tokyo will mark the sixth Summer Games of support from Government and The National Lottery, spanning 24 years of athletes and sports receiving substantial investment. Sports have received £342million during the Tokyo cycle, which will ensure British athletes are once again among the best prepared of all competing nations as possible.
Extraordinary Potential, Extraordinary Success
With a new mission to create the greatest decade of extraordinary sporting moments; reaching, inspiring and uniting the nation, UK Sport must play its part in ensuring that, as the Olympic and Paralympic high-performance community emerges from the coronavirus pandemic, it is robust and primed to deliver success over the long term.
The British team for the Olympic Games will be the biggest ever for an overseas Games, have more debutants than Rio in 2016, include more female athletes than ever before and for the first time at a Summer Games feature more women than men.
While selection is still ongoing for the Paralympics, combined across both, the British team for Tokyo will be one of the largest ever assembled for a Games outside the UK and will see athletes compete in a host of new and engaging sports, including skateboarding, sport climbing, para-badminton and para-taekwondo.
Both Games are set to demonstrate a huge array of trailblazing athletes and more female role models than ever before, which UK Sport sees as a clear sign of the long-term health of the Olympic and Paralympic high-performance community with the next Games in Paris three years away.
Given the extraordinary circumstances presented to athletes, coaches and support staff in the build up to Tokyo, UK Sport has applied a number of factors to concluding the collective medal ranges for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, which placed significant importance on consulting and listening to sports.
UK Sport also utilised the sport intelligence and data analysis available from the limited amount of competition that has taken place and is today setting out these collective medal ranges. For the Olympic Games it is 45-70 medals and for the Paralympic Games it is 100-140.
Last summer, thanks to Government, Olympic and Paralympic sports were given certainty of funding for Tokyo, ensuring athletes could focus on their preparations. In total during the Tokyo cycle, sports have received £342million of investment from Government and National Lottery players powering 600-plus athletes from across the UK set to represent their sports, their communities and our country, hoping to make the British public proud.
Recent UK Sport research suggests Tokyo will enable British athletes from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to come together and be a beacon of hope to inspire and reconnect the public to Olympic and Paralympic sport, as well as each other. It states that 63% of the British public agree the Games will be an important opportunity for athletes to inspire the nation once again following the pandemic and that 73% of the public feel proud when our athletes succeed.
Dame Katherine Grainger, Chair at UK Sport, said: “We know Olympic and Paralympic sport has a unique ability to reach, inspire and unite the nation. Tokyo will be an extraordinary Games where our British athletes will touch the hearts of our nation with their courage and endeavour and will make themselves, their families, their communities and the British public proud.
“We want to create the greatest decade of extraordinary sporting moments, and success at the Games is an integral part of that. But medals are not the only memorable moments from an Olympic and Paralympic Games. Every day in Tokyo we will witness moments of stunning skill, heart-warming bravery, inspiring entertainment and see sporting history being made. Tokyo will also showcase a significant number of British athletes making their Games debut and an opportunity to showcase the talent of tomorrow as we also build towards Paris in three years’ time.
“We want to our teams to truly reflect the diversity of society in the UK and we aim to highlight each and every moment that will capture the imagination of the British public and demonstrate how Olympic and Paralympic sport can be something for everyone.
“The British Olympic Association and the British Paralympic Association are doing a tremendous job in creating the safest and best possible environment for the teams in Tokyo. Our ambitions would also be far more limited without the support we receive from the Government and the National Lottery, and our thanks go to everybody who has made a contribution by playing the National Lottery.”
Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “It is fantastic that the time has finally come, and that Tokyo is finally getting the opportunity it deserves to host a brilliant, memorable – and probably unique – Games.
“As this Government has consistently shown through its levels of financial support, we are right behind our elite athletes. Team GB and ParalympicsGB are always the best prepared and best supported teams, for which credit is due to UK Sport, the British Olympic Association, the British Paralympic Association and the sports’ National Governing Bodies. That pride should be shared by National Lottery players.
“Recent Olympic and Paralympic Games have proven that their performances lift our national mood, promote the best of the UK abroad and help to inspire the nation - including a new generation of sporting stars. And as we emerge from the pandemic, this year’s Games are more important than ever before in inspiring millions across the nation to get more active.”
Sally Munday, CEO at UK Sport, said: “Tokyo is going to be an extraordinary Games for all of our Olympic and Paralympic athletes who have worked tirelessly before and during the pandemic to be in a position to achieve their dreams.
“The sports, and our partners, have done an outstanding job in getting the athletes in a position to be able to compete in Tokyo and it is therefore important that we consulted with them leading up to this point and, importantly, listened to them. We believe we have a team that absolutely has the potential to win now in Tokyo and also looking towards the next Games in Paris but our view of success is broader than ever before.
“Our hope is that every selected British athlete reaches Tokyo and returns home safely, that they provide a source of pride and happiness to the nation and that we achieve our collective medal ranges. Tokyo will demonstrate a huge array of trailblazing British athletes, from the historic number of female athletes we have at the Olympics to the new sports of badminton and taekwondo we will see at the Paralympics.
“We’re grateful for all the support – from government and the National Lottery players – that has enabled athletes to train and compete where possible. It is truly remarkable what they have achieved given the circumstances. This support has played a vital role in our Olympic and Paralympic success and will continue to do so as we look at the wider impact the Games can have across our society.”
Team GB’s Chef de Mission Mark England said: “After five years of hard work our team for Tokyo 2020 is now complete. We have a strong squad of athletes ready to do their country proud and it’s great to welcome our largest travelling British Olympic team ever.
“I am also delighted we will be taking more women than men to a summer Olympic Games. It is a first for Team GB in its 125-year history – 2021 is truly the year of the female Olympian.”
Penny Briscoe, Chef de Mission, ParalympicsGB, said: “The sense of anticipation and excitement is palpably growing for ParalympicsGB athletes who have been training hard through these extraordinary times.
“There is no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic has presented all of us with an unprecedented challenge and our approach is to prioritise both athlete and staff physical and mental wellbeing.
“The incredible collaboration and innovation across the UK high performance sport system has created and maintained safe and secure training environments for athletes during the pandemic and driven new and innovative ways of approaching training, team work and competition.
“Athletes’ resilience, determination and adaptability and the professionalism and dedication of staff make me confident we have done everything within our power to take a competitive ParalympicsGB team to Tokyo that will inspire and unite the nation, celebrating the resilience of the human spirit with the athletes leading the way.”