Sporting Heroes Help Prepare New Generation of Hopefuls

03 December 2010 / 13:00


Forty-seven Team 2012 athletes, representing each of the Olympic and Paralympic sports and disciplines, gathered this week in London to hear guidance and advice from sporting legends such as Sir Clive Woodward and Baroness Grey-Thompson. The Athlete Summit event, organised by Team 2012 presented by Visa, provided aspiring young athletes from across the country with vital skills that will assist them on their journey as they prepare to compete in their first Games in less than two years’ time.

Alongside Baroness Grey-Thompson, Sir Clive Woodward (BOA Director of Sport) conducted workshops in which he shared his own perspective on the making of champions, with insights into the preparations which led his England team to victory in the 2003 Rugby World Cup.  Speaking after the Summit, Sir Clive said: “We expect over 75% of Team GB’s athletes in London 2012 to be first time Olympians, and 100% of British athletes will never before have competed in a home Olympic Games. With this in mind, the Team 2012 Athlete Summit provides a valuable opportunity for athletes from across the many sports and disciplines to come together and learn from Olympians and Paralympians who have been there, done it and succeeded - and to help prepare themselves for the unique opportunities of competing on home soil in front of thousands of enthusiastic British fans in 2012.”

This event is one of many initiatives being delivered by Team 2012 presented by Visa in order to provide its 1,200 Olympic and Paralympic athletes with the best possible chance of success.  Launched in September 2009, it is already over half way towards its fundraising target of £25million with the monies raised being invested back into sport.  Distributed primarily by UK Sport’s World Performance Programme, but also to the BOA and BPA to support their Games time preparations, these vital funds assist talented British sportsmen and women with the specialist support services required to help reach their potential - including access to world class coaches, sport science and medical support.

Liz Nicholl, CEO of UK Sport said: "Team 2012 presented by Visa is a unique part of the sporting landscape - where the key organisations involved in supporting our Olympic and Paralympic athletes have come together to unite behind our mission to maximise GB success at London 2012. The Athlete Summit shows how it is helping to bring athletes together too, to learn from others who have experienced the Games environment and feel part of this once in a lifetime opportunity."

Olympians and Paralympians Ben Hunt-Davis (Gold medallist, Sydney 2000), Sarah Winckless (bronze medallist, Athens 2004), Georgina Harland (bronze medallist, Athens 2004) and Darren Kenny Gold medallist, Athens 2004) also shared stories from their winning moments and their first-hand tips for mental preparation that led them to succeed at the top level.

Phil Lane, Chairman of the British Paralympic Association said: “In sport, we tend to focus intensely on seconds, as they make the crucial difference during competition time. However, it’s also important to recognise the significance of days at it is these that we remember in years to come. All athletes will remember the first day they played their chosen sport, the first day they competed, the day they first won.  And in a little over one year’s time, many Paralympic athletes will begin receiving the news that they are dedicating now each day of their lives to achieving - the news that they have qualified for a place on the Paralympics GB team. Today is therefore one of those life-defining moments they will remember, as it will help to truly prepare them for that best day of their life in 2012.”  

Colin Grannell, Executive Vice President, Partnership Marketing, at Visa Europe, said: "As presenting partner of Team 2012, Visa wants to help raise the profile of these athletes and get people to support them now and over the next 600 days as they, like us, prepare for the Games. The Athlete Summit is a great start and we will be carrying out further activities in 2011."

Eleven times Paralympic gold medallist Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Visa Ambassador, said: "I know how these athletes feel having been there myself. Support from companies like Visa makes days like today happen and provides an invaluable experience; which means that come the Games, the athletes can all concentrate on what they've come to accomplish - doing their best at London 2012."

Team 2012 media enquiries to:

Angharad Gibbs, Simon Lush

The Sports Business 

Tel: 020 7227 0972

Mobile: 07833 043749


Image Credit: Hung Tu

About Team 2012

Team 2012 presented by Visa is a programme designed to provide our UK athletes with the tools and support to reach their full potential and win more medals at European Championships, World Championships – and of course at the London Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012. It is a joint venture between the British Olympic Association, British Paralympic Association, UK Sport and LOCOG.

Alongside the vital role played by the National Lottery and government funding, Team 2012 aims to raise £25m to fund our athletes over the next two years. The vast majority of funds raised through Team 2012 will be distributed by UK Sport through its World Class Performance Programme which ensures that the UK’s most talented athletes have every chance of reaching their potential.

Having run their Programme since 1997, UK Sport has developed a highly successful “No Compromise” approach, which ultimately means taking no short cuts in resourcing the best athletes to realize their medal ambitions. Funding is provided to athletes via their sport’s governing body, in support of a performance programme that includes coaching, training and competition support, medical and scientific services and equipment and access to the best facilities.

Visa is the Presenting Partner for Team 2012 and has made a major contribution to the £25 million target.

For more information on:

Team 2012:


UK Sport and the World Class Performance Programme: