John Anderson MBE insists the future of British Canoeing is in safe hands after confirming that he will step down from his role as Performance Director later this year following two decades at the helm of the sport.
Following 23 years in the Royal Air Force Anderson joined British Canoeing as Performance Director in 1998 and has gone on to lead the sport through unprecedented success.
This culminated in Team GB’s most successful-ever Olympic Games last year in Rio in regards to canoeing, with two gold and two silver medals.
Prior to Anderson’s appointment Team GB had previously won only one Olympic medal in canoeing in the entire history of the Games.
But since his arrival British Canoeing has gone on to win World Cup, European and World Championship medals in both Olympic disciplines of Canoe Sprint and Canoe Slalom, while the number of Olympic medals won under his tenure is now 16.
Anderson has acted as Team Leader for the British Canoeing Olympic Programme at five successive Olympic Games in Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012 and recently in Rio 2016 – and he is confident success can carry on at Tokyo 2020.
“Joining British Canoeing as Performance Director in 1998 was my dream job, being involved in five successful Olympic cycles, culminating in our best Games ever in Rio, gives me an enormous sense of pride, as I reflect on what the athletes, coaches and support staff have achieved for our sport,” he said.
“It has been a privilege for me to work with such a talented group of athletes and coaches, but now it is the right time to hand over to a successor to take the sport on to even more success in the future.
“To achieve consistent success in both Olympic disciplines, winning 16 Olympic medals split equally between sprint and slalom with continuous improvement each cycle is something that British Canoeing should be proud of.
“However I’m confident that both Olympic and Paralympic programmes can continue to make those incremental steps forward to Tokyo 2020 and beyond. Winning nine medals in Rio, alongside Germany, is a phenomenal achievement for the athletes and for our sport, but I would like canoeing to step up again and make even further progress.”
During his tenure Anderson has also overseen the development of the Lee Valley White Water Centre as the iconic venue of the London 2012 Olympic Games, the establishment of a state of the art performance centre on the site and the successful hosting of a home World Championships in 2015, enabling athletes to qualify boats for the 2016 Olympic Games on home soil.
David Joy, Chief Executive of British Canoeing, added: “John Anderson has demonstrated passion, dedication and exemplary service to the sport of canoeing from his earliest days as an inspirational athlete, through to his current role as the leader and engineer of the sustained growth and success of canoeing in the UK and on the world and Olympic stage.
“John has been a leader on the international canoeing landscape for many years, representing Great Britain during important working groups planning the future direction of the sport and he is extremely well respected by his international peers.
“Whilst at home, he is similarly held in high regard by his UK counterparts, with his efforts to share best practice between Olympic high performance programmes demonstrating John’s steadfast commitment and service to UK elite sport.”
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