POSTED: Wednesday November 4th 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
100 Days to Vancouver - Better Never Stops
By Andy Hunt
With only 100 days to go until the start of the 2010 Olympic Games, we still have 100 days to make a real difference for our athletes as they prepare for Vancouver. All of them are striving to reach their best form, their coaches are pushing them all the way, and all of us at the British Olympic Association are doing everything we can to make these Games a success for Team GB.
One of the first decisions I made when I took over as the BOA’s Chief Executive was to increase the focus on the Winter Sports and the Vancouver Games. It would have been easy to concentrate most of our resources, and most of our attention, on the 2012 Games in London, but I felt strongly that that would be wrong.
Why? Well because we have some extraordinarily talented and dedicated winter sport athletes who deserve to get our complete backing as they chase medal positions or a personal best. The BOA is here to support all of our Olympic sports in equal measure, and that’s what we’re planning to do.
So, right now, we’re dedicating a significant amount of time planning for Vancouver. We’re investing in our winter athletes and sports, and we’re working on ways that we can support them not just in Vancouver, but in the years to come. It’s a huge honour for me to be Team GB’s Chef de Mission in Vancouver, and there’s no way that I want winter athletes to ever feel like second-class citizens – they are absolutely fundamental to the Olympic movement, both in Britain and around the world.
that there aren’t serious challenges. The amount of Exchequer and
Lottery funding given to GB winter sports is roughly 1.5% of that
available to the summer sports, while many of our athletes clearly have
to train abroad for much of the time. This challenges the sports and
athletes to be ingenious, entrepreneurial and frugal to make the most
of limited the resources. Most winter athletes also rely on significant
support from their families and friends, without whom their journeys to
achieve their ultimate goal would have ceased a long time ago.
Around the world, British athletes are now competing, many in qualification events, in earnest with an eye on next year’s Games. We’ve already secured places for our men’s and women’s Curling teams. We also have five places for athletes in figure skating – comprised of a ladies single place, a pairs place and also an ice dance qualification and we’re certain of a men’s biathlon place. But we’re aiming much higher than that – our team should include more than 45 athletes by the time we arrive in Canada.
the moment, the emphasis is on honing performances and earning those
crucial places. It can be a stressful time – athletes are
understandably anxious about injury, about losing form, and, most of
all, about missing out on a place at the Games. But coping with stress
is one of the attributes of a great sportsman or woman – a capacity to
rise to the occasion.
Over the next 100 days, I will be visiting the majority of our long-list Winter Athletes in competition as they qualify and prepare for the Games. Next week, I’ll be going to Marquette, in the United States, to watch our Short Track skating team attempting to earn their places on the flight to Vancouver. I’ve got every confidence in them to produce something special, and I want to be there to see it happen and to cheer them along. I hope the message will be clear – the BOA is putting its athletes and their performance at the heart of everything we do, every decision we make - and every ambition we cherish.
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Name: Miriam Wilkens
Organization: BOA British Olympic Association
Phone: +44 020 8871 2677 ext. 227
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