Chris Boardman replaces Nick Bitel as chair of Sport England ©Getty Images

Olympic cycling champion Chris Boardman has been appointed as the new chair of Sport England, it has been announced.

Boardman, who won individual pursuit gold at Barcelona 2012, replaces Nick Bitel who stands down after eight years in the position.

It was also confirmed by the United Kingdom Government that Dame Katherine Grainger, an Olympic rowing champion, has been re-appointed as chair of UK Sport.

The London 2012 gold medallist has been given an additional four-year term and will be responsible for elite sport.

Boardman is set to serve in his new role until July 2025 and will be tasked with developing grassroots sport and getting more people active across the country as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

"As we head into a major summer of sport with fans finally returning, the Euros, the Tokyo Games, and the Rugby League World Cups to name a few, I am thrilled that we now have two Olympic heroes in Chris and Dame Katherine steering the growth of grassroots and professional sport in this country," said Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden.

"I will be working closely with them as we place sport and physical activity at the heart of our recovery plan to build back better and fitter from this pandemic."

Boardman is due to start the position on July 22 and is expected to play a key role in supporting Sport England's delivery of its 10-year strategy, entitled "Uniting the Movement".

Dame Katherine Grainger has been re-appointed as chair of Sport England on a four-year term ©Getty Images
Dame Katherine Grainger has been re-appointed as chair of Sport England on a four-year term ©Getty Images

"I am delighted to take up the position of chair for Sport England," said Boardman.

"Sport and activity are central to my own life and it’s clear they have a heightened importance for all of us right now.

"I am looking forward to helping the team bring opportunities to be active to more people than ever before."

Tim Hollingsworth, chief executive of Sport England, added: "I have no doubt that Chris will play a significant leadership role and play a crucial part in our work to transform lives and communities through sport and physical activity."

Dame Katherine’s re-appointment comes less than a month before the Olympics are scheduled to open.

The five-time Olympic medallist has been tasked with providing strategic direction to UK Sport as it bids to carry out its new strategic plan to "create the greatest decade of extraordinary sporting moments; reaching, inspiring and uniting the nation".

"I consider it a huge honour to be in this role, especially at an extremely exciting time for Olympic and Paralympic sport in the UK with the Tokyo Summer Games about to start and the Beijing Winter Games just around the corner," said Dame Katherine.

"When I was first appointed chair back in 2017, I was very aware of challenges we faced as a high-performance community and those are challenges I have relished tackling.

"Having launched our new strategic plan earlier this year, I am determined to do everything I can to help UK Sport fulfil its ambitious mission."

Sally Munday, chief executive of UK Sport, said Dame Katherine had made a "hugely positive impact" on high-performance sport.

"She has been instrumental in shaping our new 10-year strategic plan and I’m delighted she will be chairing the organisation as we set about implementing that new strategy," said Munday.

"She is an outstanding leader, an inclusive chair-person and drawing on her experiences as one of Britain’s most successful Olympic athletes, her ability to navigate and lead through significant change and challenge is without question.

"I’ve seen first-hand her passion, energy and determination for continuous improvement and that’s why I’m so excited about what UK Sport and the wider Olympic and Paralympic high performance community can achieve over the coming decade.

"Our mission to create the greatest decade of extraordinary sporting moments; reaching, inspiring and uniting the nation is something I know is very close to Katherine’s heart and a big driver for her wanting to undertake a second term."