The British Olympic Association today launched its Ambition Programme for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with 39 young athletes and coaches getting the chance to experience the Olympic environment this summer.
The Ambition Programme works with the sporting national governing bodies to offer athletes and coaches, who aspire to compete at Tokyo 2020, a unique opportunity to have an inside experience of an Olympic Games.
The programme, which was first launched for Beijing 2008, is designed to replicate a first Games experience for young British athletes and coaches.
The group will travel to Brazil next month and visit the world class facilities of Team GB’s preparation camp in Belo Horizonte before flying down to Rio to visit the Olympic Village, British School and British House as well as getting the chance to see Team GB in action.
Of the five Olympic Games prior to Beijing 2008, just over 30% of Team GB’s gold medallists came from first-time Olympians while for London 2012 this increased to 40%. These included double dressage gold from Charlotte Dujardin and shooting gold from Peter Wilson, who both experienced Beijing 2008 through the Ambition Programme.
Of the 105 athletes on the Beijing 2008 programme, 43 went on to compete at London 2012, winning nine medals across eight sports from the likes of Jonny Brownlee, Sam Oldham, Dan Purvis, George Nash and Jon Schofield.
For London 2012, 130 athletes and 56 coaches from summer and winter sport were selected as part of the Ambition Programme with all four of Team GB’s medals at Sochi 2014 contributed to by a member of the class of 2012.
Giarnni Regini-Moran, gymnastics, said: “I’ve been to the Youth Olympics but Rio will be so much bigger and to get the chance to be part of the Ambition Programme will give all of us athletes a great insight to what the Games are like.
“I recently injured myself just before the first gymnastics trials but it’s great to still get the opportunity to go to Rio and experience what life is like at an Olympic Games.
“Tokyo for me is the big goal and it’s when I’ll be at my peak in in my sport. Getting to see the Olympic Village and the whole environment in Rio will really help spur me on to the Games in four years time.
Francesca Summers, modern pentathlon, said: “The whole group is really excited to be getting this chance to be part of Rio 2016. Not many people get this opportunity so I feel really lucky and grateful to be part of the Ambition Programme.
“Being immersed in the Olympic environment will really help all of us for Tokyo. It’s great to be with other athletes and coaches from different sports to your own and seeing what drives and inspires them – you can learn a lot from these people.”
Charlotte Dujardin said: “The biggest thing I learnt from Beijing and being part of the Ambition Programme was seeing the Olympic Village. It was such a shock, from the food hall to the amount of people living in one area.
“It then really helped me going to London. It was a real eye-opener and I had a good idea of what I was going into and it was great that I had been able to have seen it all before.
“For these athletes going to Rio, they’ve earnt and deserved the chance to go as part of this programme and will no doubt learn a huge amount from the experience.”
The athletes and coaches for the Rio 2016 Ambition Programme are:
Jack Masefield, Archery
Elizabeth Warner, Archery
Pete Etherington (coach), Artistic Gymnastics
Joe Fraser, Artistic Gymnastics
Giarnni Regini-Moran, Artistic Gymnastics
Brett Ince (coach), Artistic Gymnastics
Alice Kinsella, Artistic Gymnastics
Maisie Methuen, Artistic Gymnastics
Philip Sellers (coach), Boxing
John Docherty, Boxing
Calum French, Boxing
Gareth Wilson (coach), Canoe Slalom
Bradley Forbes-Cryans, Canoe Slalom
Ryan Westley, Canoe Slalom
Eilidh Gibson, Canoe Slalom
Kimberley Woods, Canoe Slalom
Kristina Medovcikova (coach), Canoe Sprint
Emily Lewis, Canoe Sprint
Deborah Kerr, Canoe Sprint
Magnus Gregory, Canoe Sprint
Caroline Griffith (coach), Equestrian Dressage
Alice Oppenheimer, Equestrian Dressage
Hayley Watson Greaves, Equestrian Dressage
Sarah-Jane Verney (coach), Equestrian Eventing
Holly Woodhead, Equestrian Eventing
Camilla Dumas, Equestrian Eventing
Fredrik Bergendorff (coach), Equestrian Jumping
Jake Saywell, Equestrian Jumping
Millie Allen, Equestrian Jumping
William Deary, Fencing
Ludovic Sotto (coach), Fencing
Harvey Smith (coach), Gymnastics Trampoline
Isabelle Songhurst, Gymnastics Trampoline
Andrew Stamp, Gymnastics Trampoline
Stuart Mason (coach), Modern Pentathlon
Francesca Summers, Modern Pentathlon
Myles Pillage, Modern Pentathlon
James Dedman, Shooting
Jack Fairclough, Shooting