London 2012 success means funding boost for elite cycling ahead of Rio 2016
Cycling among the winners under UK Sport's "no compromise" policy but some sports see funding vanish altogether
British Cycling has welcomed the award of £37 million for elite cycling for the current Olympic and Paralympic cycle through to Rio 2016. The funding, confirmed today by UK Sport, follows yesterday’s news that the governing body has been given £32 million by Sport England to develop grassroots cycling from 2013-17.
The money has been made available by the government and the National Lottery, is part of £347 million announced today across Olympic and Paralympic sports, aimed at making Great Britain the first country in the history of the Games to build on its success as a host nation by winning even more medals four years later.
Ian Drake, chief executive of British Cycling, commented: “At British Cycling, we take seriously the responsibility to deliver good value which comes with lottery funding. We believe that winning medals is not an end in itself but a means to growing the sport as whole.
“Today’s announcement from UK Sport is recognition of the success of our riders, our coaches and the work we put into identifying new talent.
“It is also a challenge for us to do better over the next four years – particularly in para-cycling where we have received substantially increased funding.
“In 2012 we have seen unprecedented results for British cyclists but there is still work to be done to improve the sport in this country.”
The total funding of £347 million represents an 11 per cent increase on that made available for the London Olympic cycle, with most of that additional funding going towards Paralympic sports, up by 43 per cent to £70.2 million. Funding for Olympic sports, meanwhile, grows 5 per cent to £276.4 million.
There are winners and losers among individual sports, however, in line with UK Sport’s “no compromise” formula under which the emphasis is firmly on rewarding and investing in proven success, with a target already set for the Rio Olympics of 66 medals, one more than Team GB achieved this summer, while Paralympics GB is expected to deliver 121 medals in Brazil, again one more than in London.
Those sports that matched or exceeded their medal targets this summer, like cycling which had a target of between six and ten Olympic medals and achieved 12, have seen their funding grow – excluding Paralympic cycling, funding for the sport has gone up from £26 million to £30.6 million. That’s only surpassed by rowing, which will get £32.6 million.
Others have seen their funding slashed or removed altogether. The latter mainly include Olympic sports that Great Britain has not traditionally competed in, but did so this summer as host nation, such as handball, while basketball and volleyball – other than women’s beach volleyball – have also lost all their funding.
The big loser is swimming, which had a target of between five and seven Olympic medals, but only achieved three – its funding for the Rio cycle has been cut from £25.1 million to £21.4 million, and only the first year of that is currently guaranteed.
Baroness Sue Campbell, Chair of UK Sport, commented: “Our announcement today is unprecedented, as we increase investment in British elite sport post our home Games and aim to achieve something no other host nation in recent history has before, in surpassing this year’s incredible performance at both the next summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.
”At UK Sport we take our responsibility for the strategic investment of public and National Lottery funds very seriously - the achievements in London simply would not have been possible without this unparalleled support and our ‘no compromise’ approach to investment.
“London 2012 was just the beginning, not the end, for Olympic and Paralympic sport in this country, and we plan to continue to make this funding work as hard as it can to help our best athletes achieve medal success at the highest level; to make this nation as proud as they did this summer and to inspire the next generation.”
Hugh Robertson, Minister for Sport, added: “We are investing more public money to support our elite athletes in the four years to Rio 2016 than for our home Games, which shows our desire to keep up the momentum from London 2012. The significant increase for Paralympic sports reflects on the extraordinary success and achievements of our Paralympic athletes this summer."