UK Sport looks ahead to success at Rio 2016 after superb home Olympics
Tuesday, 14 August 2012
August 14 - UK Sport chair Baroness Sue Campbell has hailed Britain's superb performance at London 2012 but said that they now faced the challenge of transferring a "unique" moment for sport in the country into "a future vision", as they aim to improve on their medal haul for the Rio 2016 Olympics.
"Our challenge now is to turn the marvellous performance of our athletes from inspiration into participation," Baroness Campbell told a post Olympic briefing here today.
"I believe we have had an iconic and unique moment for British sport and the challenge now is to translate that into a future vision.
"These were probably the most memorable two weeks of my life and brought to life by the incredible performances of our athletes."
Britain picked up 65 medals, at the upper end of the scale forecast by UK Sport, which represented the hosts' best Olympic result since the first time they hosted the Games in 1908, when they finished top of the medals table with 146, including 56 gold.
The organisation had envisaged bringing home 40-70 medals, with an actual goal of 48 laid down.
Of the 28 UK Sport-funded disciplines, Britain also exceeded targets for the number of sports winning medals which, at 17, was significantly more than the 12 that picked up top-three results at Beijing 2008.
Swimming was the only sport which failed to achieve its target, picking up only three medals, compared to the minimum of five UK Sport had set.
The only other sport which may be disappointed with its performance is athletics, which failed to reach the target of eight medals UK Athletics chief coach Charles van Commenee had set for the Games.
However, it did hit UK Sport's target of between five and eight medals, including three golds on the middle Saturday of the Games – the high point for the hosts and for British athletics in recent memory – along with a memorable fourth gold for Mo Farah in the 5,000 metres on the final weekend.
Taking the bigger picture, the other major achievements for Team GB were the 29 gold medals won overall, which UK Sport's special advisor for performance, Peter Keen, admitted it was less able to influence, and finishing in the targeted top four on the medal table, as they had in Beijing.
"How on earth do we better that?" Keen asked.
"Sixty-five medals is pretty much the number that UK Sport has seen on spreadsheet after spreadsheet in terms of what is possible with the time and resources.
"What we could not have anticipated or take credit for is 29 golds.
"That was unanticipated as the margins between winning and losing are incredibly tight.
"There is no great shock in all of this but there is something about 29 golds and home advantage that we have to accept.
"The roar and momentum lifted us and makes me a little anxious [about how to exceed that].
"But what a lovely problem to have."
Referring to the board which UK Sport has been constantly updating with its medal targets, Liz Nicholl, UK Sport's chief executive, said: "It is a great day to be standing here and seeing the board complete with such a positive outcome.
"When we declared our target it was at least 48 medals and in at least 12 sports.
"As we stand here today we are really near the top of that range so it is not a surprise – we knew it was possible.
"The fantastic thing about these home Games is that they enabled more possibilities to become a reality.
"We can say this is the most successful British Olympic team ever.
"We are proud of the athletes and the sport, and we are all very proud to be part of this success.
"We are enjoying the moment almost as much as you must be," Nicholl concluded, referring to the women sat to her right, rower Katherine Grainger, who ended a run of three consecutive Olympic silver medals by winning gold in the women's double sculls alongside Anna Watkins in one of the most memorable moments of London 2012.
In beating Russia to third spot, Britain exceeded expectations, and Nicholl added: "We knew that the top four was possible and knew we could challenge the Russians.
"But to be standing here when the athletes outperformed, pushing Russia into fourth, is a very special moment in time for British sport."
Nicholl went on to explain that they were already well on the way to planning for success at Rio 2016, with funding underway for the next Olympic cycle.
Each sport produced draft business cases for funding for Rio earlier this year, which has been reviewed by UK Sport performance experts.
Sports such as handball, basketball, indoor and beach volleyball, and water polo will face a challenge to prove they can become sports at which Britain can compete for medals.
Redrafts of each sport's business plan will be submitted by the beginning of October, but Nicholl insists the aim is to try to surpass the remarkable success of this summer.
"We invest four-year funding on an eight-year pathway and are well on our way to Rio success," she said.
"The London performance is an indicator to us of the potential talent for Rio.
"We will be able to invest about the same amount for the London cycle in the Rio cycle and that is an exceptional position to be in.
"Most other countries had an uplift in funding for a home Games but that has not been sustained for subsequent Games.
"We are in a really good place to be able to maintain this momentum."
August 2012: Moynihan determined to better London medal haul of Britain's "greatest team ever" at Rio 2016