The British Olympic Association (BOA) today announced that P&G will once again partner with Team GB to deliver a ‘nearest & dearest’ programme to support Britain’s Olympic winter athletes and their loved ones in preparation for, and during, the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
The ‘nearest and dearest’ programme was successfully implemented for family and friends of Team GB athletes in the lead up to and during the London 2012 Olympics. P&G considers the programme a great fit with its ‘Thank You Mum’ campaign which it launched at the start of its 10 year global partnership with the IOC in 2010.
The support that athletes receive from their friends and family members in the run up to and during the Olympic Winter Games can have a significant impact on their performance. The Team GB ‘nearest & dearest’ programme, presented by P&G, has been designed to help those closest to the athlete understand how they can best support their loved ones in the build up to and during the Games.
As part of their commitment to Great Britain’s Olympic athletes and their families and friends, P&G will be offering each Team GB athlete two tickets, paid for by P&G, to the first session in which they compete at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
The programme further takes the form of a roadshow and a microsite, which provides useful information such as how/when to meet their athlete during competition, how to access tickets, how to deal with media interest and understanding the athlete’s media obligations. The roadshow brings together athletes’ nearest and dearest with and without Olympic Winter Games experience and also has a retired Olympian available to answer all those questions family and friends might not want to bother their athlete with, but want an answer to. The first roadshow will take place on 6 July in Bath.
During the Winter Olympics, the Programme will provide areas where athletes can meet with their family and friends, as well as on-the-ground support for the family and friends before, during and after their athlete’s competition.
It is anticipated that approximately 100-200 family and friends of athletes will travel to Sochi to watch their nearest and dearest in action.
The inaugural ‘nearest & dearest’ programme for the London 2012 Games, which was also presented by P&G, received excellent feedback from athletes, family and friends alike, which is why the BOA is committed to continuing with the programme for 2014. This is possible thanks to the support of P&G. A clear majority of London 2012 Team GB athletes surveyed said that the programme was helpful in allowing them to focus on their performance as they knew that their family and friends were well taken care of.
Said Irwin Lee, Managing Director of Procter & Gamble UK:
”As a company we are delighted to have the opportunity to continue to support the nearest & dearest programme during the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. We recognise how important it is for the athletes to know that their friends and families are supported in this way, so that they can focus on what they do best. This is our way to keep thanking mums, including those of our Team GB athletes.”
Said Seb Coe, Chairman of the BOA:
“It is through the support of P&G that we are able to roll out the nearest & dearest programme for family and friends of athletes aiming to compete at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Russia. This is a programme that really does make a difference - we know that from the feedback we received after the London 2012 Olympics, when the programme was implemented with Team GB for the first time. The Team GB nearest & dearest programme helps maximise support and minimise potential distractions for our athletes so that they can focus on their performance and make the most of the unique opportunity to compete on one of the world’s largest stages – the Olympic Winter Games.
“The fact that every Team GB athlete that competes in 2014 already now knows that they will have two tickets, free of charge to them as provided by P&G, for the first session in which they compete, will certainly give them peace of mind and help family and friends in their planning.”
Carol Hoy, mum of Team GB’s most decorated Olympian of all time Sir Chris Hoy, said:
“For the first time, during the London 2012 Olympic Games, we were able to be part of the nearest & dearest programme, supported by P&G and delivered to athletes’ families by the British Olympic Association. We still talk almost every day about the fantastic memories we have of the Olympic Park, the volunteers and the fabulous atmosphere throughout London.
“The provision of a couple of tickets for Chris’ first race and access for our family to P&G’s nearest & dearest Lounge in Team GB House was a wonderful bonus. We have found these large events to be quite stressful over the years but must say that the support and friendship shown to us through the scheme, made a huge difference to our family and our Olympic experience.
“I am delighted to hear the programme will be made available to Team GB athletes’ families during the forthcoming 2014 Winter Olympics and would certainly encourage them to take advantage of all that is available. The roadshow events are a great chance to find out about the Games before leaving this country. The collective knowledge of a group of parents, whether seasoned campaigners or first time Olympic supporters, is a fantastic resource. It gave us confidence knowing that support and guidance was available throughout our trip.
“Thank you P&G and BOA for supporting families as well as the athletes!”
London 2012 Olympian and three time World Champion (50m backstroke) Liam Tancock commented:
“My parents have supported me throughout my career so knowing that P&G were supporting them in the lead up to and during the London 2012 Olympics was fantastic. They were able to find out in advance what the Olympic environment would be like, where to go to collect tickets and where they would be able to have some space to relax. It was nice for the parents of athletes to be able to get to know each other ahead of the Games. It also meant there was one less thing for me to worry about. Having my family and friends at the venue sharing those Olympic moments with me was amazing and thanks to the P&G programme we knew that we had tickets secured.”