Eriksson confirmed as new UK Athletics head coach
Monday, 29 October 2012
October 29 - UK Athletics has today named Peter Eriksson as the newly appointed Olympic head coach.
The 59-year-old Swede, who will move on from his role as UK Athletics' Paralympic head coach with immediate effect, has worked for the governing body since January 2009.
As Paralympic head coach he masterminded a dramatic rise in performance of the British team, finishing second in the medal table in the 2011 World Championships and third at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, in which the ParalympicsGB athletics team finished third with 29 medals – of which 11 were gold.
His success in London 2012 exceeded all expectations – hitting performance targets four years ahead of schedule – and was a significant improvement on the 17 medals won at Beijing 2008 when the athletics team finished 18th in the medal table with just two gold medal winning performances.
Eriksson (pictured top) has been an integral part of UK Athletics' 2012 Task Force, the group set up by chief executive Niels de Vos following the Beijing 2008 Games to deliver improved medal success in London.
Since his arrival in 2009 he has been working alongside performance director Neil Black and the outgoing Olympic head coach, Charles van Commenee.
"Peter has proved time and again that he has the priceless ability to lead and inspire athletes to deliver when it matters most – at the biggest championships, on the global stage," Black said.
"He is a rare talent, fantastically well positioned to now assume leadership of the Olympic team, and to build on the impressive progress the sport has made between Beijing and London."
Eriksson added: "It is a great privilege to be asked to take on this role.
"I will continue with the methods and approach that has proved so successful in the Paralympic arena, and that has been about strong performance management of our best medal prospects to maximise the likelihood of medal winning performances.
"The Olympic team performed very well in London, finishing fourth in the world with four golds so I have a great platform on which to build.
"But I believe that we can still do better at Rio 2016, and of course when the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) World Athletics Championships take place in the London Olympic Stadium in 2017.
"The next five years look like an exhilarating time for British athletics."
Former Olympic 400 metres champion and current silver medallist Christine Ohuruogu was equally pleased by the appointment.
"I have such a lot of respect for Peter and what he's achieved," she explained.
"I've been in the fortunate position where I was with him over the summer at the Paralympic Games holding camp and I was struck by the fact that he did whatever he could do get the best out of the athletes – he had a real no-nonsense approach and was totally focused on winning medals.
"I think Peter has shown that he's willing to make hard decisions.
"He has also shown he has great intuition; I don't think my coach Lloyd [Cowan] was an obvious choice to work at the Paralympics but Peter saw something in him.
"His work will give other coaches confidence that they too may have a skill set that has not been recognised before but could be recognised by Peter – I'm really happy he's been appointed in this role."
Eriksson has almost 40 years' experience in elite sport, first as an athlete and then as a coach at seven Paralympic Games, five Olympic Games and six World Championships.
Formerly coach to Chantal Petitclerc, one of the most decorated athletes of all time with 14 Paralympic gold medals, Eriksson has coached athletes to 122 medals in total at Paralympic Games since 1984.