Prentice, Yarnold and Willis among Olympic Ambition programme names for London 2012
Saturday, 14 July 2012
July 14 - A total of 130 athletes and 56 coaches from 44 different sports have been for the Team GB Olympic Ambition Programme during the London Games.
The Programme, supported by Lloyds TSB, will give the young and talented British athletes and coaches the opportunity to experience the Olympic Games environment at first hand this Summer as they look ahead to competing at either the Winter Games in Sochi in 2014 or the Rio Games of 2016.
For some, such as modern pentathletes Freyja Prentice and Kate French, who narrowly missed out on making the team for 2012, the experience will doubtless prove bitter-sweet – but they may gain heart from the fact that their team-mate Mhairi Spence, who earned selection for 2012 after winning the world title this year, underwent the same experience as part of the Ambition Programme at the Beijing Games of 2008.
The talented young athletes involved include fencing's Philip Marsh, road cycling's Lucy Garner, judo's Hayley Willis, Susannah Townsend and Maddie Hinch from hockey, canoe slalom trio Tom Brady, Natalie Wilson and Adam Burgess, athletics middle distance runner Emelia Gorecka and world youth 200m champion Desiree Henry (pictured below), who will be seeking further success before the Games get underway as she competes at the World Junior Championships in Barcelona.
Also involved, two years ahead of the Sochi Games, will be 23-year-old world junior skeleton champion Lizzy Yarnold and speed skater Charlotte Gilmartin.
The Ambition Programme was first delivered by the British Olympic Association at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, where those involved in the programme included Athletics World Championship silver medallist Hannah England and European bronze medallist Perri Shakes-Drayton, Triathlon world number two Jonathan Brownlee (pictured below), Badminton World Championship silver medallists Chris Adcock and Imogen Bankier, and Modern Pentathlon World Champion Mhairi Spence.
All of these athletes will be hoping to use their experiences from Beijing to help them achieve their personal best with Team GB at their first Olympic Games as a competitor this summer.
Team GB Chef de Mission and British Olympic Association chief executive Andy Hunt said: "The Olympic Ambition Programme is a key element of our legacy planning for future Olympic Games, both Summer and Winter.
"The young athletes and coaches participating in the programme will experience the unique atmosphere and environment of the Olympic Games and gain a very special behind the scenes insight with Team GB.
"We hope the Programme will provide them with added inspiration and knowledge to further develop their international sporting careers and compete successfully for Team GB at future Olympic Games."
British Athletes Commission Chair and Ambition Programme Director Sarah Winckless, said: "The Ambition Programme is world leading in terms of preparation for competing at future Olympic Games and I will be encouraging the young British athletes and coaches to grab hold of this special opportunity with both hands and take in as much from the experience as they possibly can.
"The Programme aims to give the athletes and coaches an insight into the different unique aspects of the Olympic environment and to help them develop the tools they will need to become successful Olympians of the future, both as athletes, and as well rounded young people."