AS TEAM GB – and all British sports fans – celebrate Super Sunday, this country’s most successful ever day at an overseas Olympics, the gold rush needs to be seen in this countext. In 1992, UK competitors won five gold medals at Barcelona – and worse was to come four years later at Atlanta when Britain’s blushes were only spared by Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent in rowing’s coxless pairs.
Now Britain is a global sporting superpower after winning five gold medals on Sunday alone and with the potential of more to come, courtesy of our own Nicola Adams and others.
Of course much of this success would not be possible without the advent of National Lottery funding.
It’s taken 20 years to reach this point – success does not happen overnight – and the challenge now is making sure that all Olympic sports receive sufficient funding over the next two decades.
Though UK Sport has changed the mentality and mindset by targeting resources at those sports, like rowing and cycling, which produce medal-winners, it has often been at the expense of team sports, like basketball, where the chances of Olympic success are limited. Yet, given that participants simply need a pair of trainers, a ball and a net, the opportunities could be limitless, not just for Team GB but communities across the country as they look to tackle youth crime and obesity.