To support British athletes in achieving success at Olympic summer and winter Games, the British Olympic Association (BOA) announced today that it will once again deliver the Team GB Ambition Programme at the London 2012 Games.
The programme will focus on athletes and coaches who aspire to represent Team GB at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games and Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Athletes and coaches from all 35 sports on the Olympic Programme for the next two Games (28 summer, seven winter) will be eligible for the Team GB Ambition Programme. Participants will be nominated by their respective National Governing Bodies, and approximately 200 athletes and coaches will be selected to take part.
The Team GB Ambition Programme will be directed by Sarah Winckless, a bronze medalist in rowing at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, two-time World Champion, and current Chair of the BOA Athletes’ Commission; with oversight from Clive Woodward, Team GB Deputy Chef de Mission and BOA Director of Sport.
Further support for the Team GB Ambition Progamme will be provided by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, who were introduced today as Official Ambassadors for Team GB and Paralympics GB for the London 2012 Games.
The Team GB Ambition Programme has four specific objectives:
To support aspiring Olympians and their coaches by providing practical insight into the unique aspects of the Olympic Games environment
To inspire young athletes and their coaches to continue pursuing their ambitions
To develop greater awareness and understanding of the Olympic Values and the One Team GB culture
To foster communication and a commitment amongst participants, the BOA, Team GB Ambassadors, Team GB Olympians from previous Games and the National Governing Bodies
Programme participants will begin their journey with a two-day stay at the Team GB Prep Camp at Loughborough University, where they will take part in a Team GB orientation session, Olympic education programmes and their own version of ‘kitting out.’
From there, the participants will travel to London for three days of hands-on experience in the Olympic Games environment, including two sessions of sport competition (including, where possible, their own sport), a behind-the-scenes tour of Team GB House, and inspirational presentations from Team GB Ambassadors. The participants will be housed at Queen Mary University, where most members of the Team GB support staff for London 2012 will reside.
The final element of the programme will be a one-day workshop following the Olympic Games, during which participants will reflect upon and share their experiences, and develop strategies to share the knowledge and understanding gained with others in their sport.
The Team GB Ambition Programme was introduced in conjunction with the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and proved to be highly successful. The inaugural programme included 152 athletes and coaches across every sport on the summer Games programme. Among the aspiring Olympians who participated in the 2008 programme and are now vying for positions on Team GB for London 2012 are:
Jonathan Brownlee, triathlon
Lucy Boulton and Denise Johns, beach volleyball
Perri Shakes Drayton, athletics
Paul Drinkhall, table tennis
Hannah England, athletics
Chrystall Nicoll, fencing
Sam Oldham, gymnastics
Zoe Smith, weightlifting
Mhairi Spence, modern pentathlon
Andy Hunt, Team GB Chef de Mission and BOA Chief Executive:
“Following the successful launch of the Team GB Ambition Programme in 2008, we are delighted to once again work in partnership with the National Governing Bodies to provide aspiring Olympic athletes and coaches with this unique introduction to the Games environment.
"Athletes and coaches who have succeeded in the Olympic Games often reflect upon the importance of being aware of the complexities and pressures of the Games environment, and having confidence in knowing how to deal with those challenges. That’s what this programme is all about: supporting British athletes and coaches at the highest level of international sport by providing an invaluable introduction to the Olympic environment.
"We are particularly pleased to draw upon the experience and inspiration of Sarah Winckless, our Team GB Ambassadors, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.”
Sarah Winckless, Head of Team GB Ambition Programme and BOA Athletes’ Commission Chair:
“The Olympic Games environment is unlike anything else in sport. It is impossible to simulate or replicate, which makes it all the more beneficial for athletes and coaches to have the opportunity to gain first-hand experience before actually competing in the Games. The Team GB Ambition Programme is instrumental in providing aspiring Olympians with the understanding and confidence they need to navigate the Olympic environment and, ultimately, succeed on the field of play.
"Programme participants will also benefit from the friendships they will develop with their peers, and from the insight and inspiration offered by Team GB ambassadors who have earned the ultimate honour of representing Team GB in previous Olympic Games.”