London 2012: BOA welcomes UK government funding promise
BOA chairman Colin Moynihan welcomes the government's decision to ringfence elite sport's funding past 2014
British Olympic Association officials have welcomed the decision to make £300m available to fund athletes’ preparations for the Rio 2016 Games.
Elite funding agency UK Sport will be awarded the same level of lottery cash across all Olympic disciplines in the build-up to the London Games.
They had been told funding would only be guaranteed until 2014 – the date of the next comprehensive spending review – but Prime Minister David Cameron on Sunday confirmed the whole Olympic cycle would receive full support.
The situation is unique, as most host nations scale back their commitment to sports almost as soon as the flame has been extinguished.
“The most important issue for us is that our athletes are well-funded for the next Games.” said BOA chairman Colin Moynihan.
“To hear the prime minister commit to a full four years of funding was great news, you can’t win gold medals unless you’ve got the best coaches and prepared athletes and that takes financial support.
“This is tremendous support for high performance sport and a great step forward as we look to build on the success of London 2012.
“We need to give athletes the opportunity to push the barriers and boundaries back further and increase their focus on performance. We need to give them the opportunity to do even better in Rio.”
However, Moynihan is mindful of the trend that shows performance dropping off in subsequent Games after hosting.
Australia won 58 medals, including 16 golds, at their home Games in Sydney and took that winning momentum into Athens, claiming 17 golds.
However, in Beijing and London the funding hangover hit home and they under-performed on expectations, winning 14 and seven golds respectively to drop down the medal table.
“Analysis shows that home nations tend to outperform at the following Games but their performance drops in the Games after that,” added Moynihan.
“If you take that historical analogy then we can build on London for Rio and then there is a challenge thereafter.
“I don’t think we need a longer funding cycle than four years because it’s important to have a review process.
“However, I would not be satisfied if we sat here and didn’t say we could not do better.”
Meanwhile, Moynihan has promised to lobby hard to make sure gold medal winning athletes are recognised in the New Years Honours list.
Traditionally, everyone who tops the podium is awarded an MBE but under new rules they will only be rewarded based on their contribution to community, the level of competition and participation numbers in their sport.
Four years ago, Great Britain’s Paralympic team finished second in the medals table, compared to the Olympic teams’ fourth.
Every gold medallist in the Olympics was given an honour ranging from an MBE to a knighthood, but 17 of the 35 Paralympic champions got nothing at all.
“The BOA’s view is that those who have given service to their country through sport should be recognised,” added Moynihan.
“I’m sure this will be taken care of and I would certainly be supportive if it was.”
© Sportsbeat 2012