UK Sport chief executive Sally Munday believes the success of Team GB’s Tokyo 2020 cyclists can inspire the next generation of Olympic racers.
Tokyo 2020 has seen Team GB’s cycling contingent collect a host of medals, across a range of disciplines, with their medal tally currently standing at 11.
With the Olympics coming to an end this weekend, British cycling fans will be beginning to turn their attention towards the upcoming 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships in Glasgow, thanks to The National Lottery, Glasgow City Council and Scottish Government funding.
And Munday reckons both Tokyo and Glasgow will have lasting impressions, leaving the entire nation with cycling fever.
“Tokyo has just come at such an important time after the past 18 months,” explained Munday.
“The British cycling team has just been amazing. From mountain biking, to BMX, to track – it’s just been so impressive.
“It’s really exciting when you look forward to the 2023 UCI World Championships in Glasgow and it’s incredibly exciting for British cycling, cyclists and for the people of Scotland.
“If I think back to how excited they got about the Commonwealth Games back in 2014 and what incredible hosts they were, I’m really excited for what this event can do to inspire people to get on their bikes and join in this amazing buzz of sport.”
Out on the track in Tokyo, stars like Laura Kenny, who be became the first British woman to win gold at three Olympics and Scots Katie Archibald and Jack Carlin have all featured heavily on the podium.
Through The National Lottery, which is the biggest supporter of British and Scottish cycling, £4.5m worth of funding will go into hosting the 2023 Worlds.
Held in Glasgow, the Championships promises to be unique, with all 13 different individual disciplines being hosted in the same city for the first time.
And Munday also believes the Olympics and Glasgow Championships can be a force for good, inspiring people to get on a bike and enjoy the benefits of a healthier lifestyle.
“We know just how important physical and mental well-being is to people's overall health and we know the Olympics and Paralympics encourages people to get out and participate and the positive impact that that has,” said Munday.
“Whether it’s something that just puts a smile on people's faces and makes them feel proud to be British or whether it inspires somebody to think you know what I am going to get my bike out the shed and go and have a ride – that can only be a good thing.
“We know how much the Brits love sport, and I'm excited for Glasgow, I'm excited for Scotland and I'm excited for Great Britain that the UCI Worlds are coming [to Scotland] and we’re going to get to see the very best of world cycling.”
And Glasgow Life’s Head of Events Julie Pearson was in lockstep with Munday about the wholesale benefits the 2023 Championships could have both locally and generationally.
“For Glasgow, it’s another opportunity to be on the global stage as we did with the Commonwealth Games in 2014 and the European Championships in 2018,” said Pearson.
“It’s also more than an event, it’s an opportunity for us to drive wider benefits for the community.
“I think the World Championships in two years-time and the Olympics this summer do serve as a platform to showcase sport to provide inspiration to the next generation.
“What’s exciting from our point of view is to see the success of the Scottish athletes like Jack Carlin and Katie Archibald out on the track – they’ve been the everyday kid picking up their bike and going for a ride.
“It will be interesting to look ahead to see how youngsters have been inspired to get on their bike and get moving.”
One of the community sites that allows young children the opportunity to get on their bike and ride in Glasgow is Drumchapel Cycle Hub, which has been supported by National Lottery funding and forms part of sportscotland’s Community Support Hub programme.
And volunteer Anne Glass believes that community hubs have a vital role to play in keeping kids active and encouraged in the wake of Tokyo 2020.
“Seeing young kids get excited about cycling is fantastic,” said Glass.
“We’re delivering to people of all abilities and ages and we’re working with the community.
“The young people that come to us, they’ve got a healthy future ahead of them.”
By playing The National Lottery, the general public helps to raise £36m every week for good causes, including community cycling initiatives throughout the UK and elite level cycling activity. To find your nearest cycling club, visit www.britishcycling.org.uk
The National Lottery and its players’ are the biggest supporter of cycling through funding to British and Scottish Cycling and a host of community cycling programmes.
The upcoming 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships in Glasgow will also help to inspire more people and families to get on a bike. For more information, go to www.cyclingworldchamps.com