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FUNDING UP FOR GB ATHLETES - Jane Peel, Chief Reporter
Monday July 2, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

British ski and snowboard athletes are set to benefit from a big boost in funding ahead of the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022.

The body that allocates National Lottery and government money to elite sport, UK Sport, has announced that British Ski and Snowboard will be awarded £6.75 million over the next four years.

That's up from the £5 million it received in the four years leading up to the Pyeongchang Games, a rise of more than 30 per cent.

Para Ski and Snowboard will also see its funding increased from £2.77 million to £3.5 million.

It's great news for the sport, especially as the overall pot of money has reduced from £32 million to £24 million and some winter sports have lost their funding altogether.

The money will support around 70 athletes across all the funded sports.

UK Sport has based its decision on what it currently believes are the best medal possibilities at Beijing, with an estimated 5-12 Olympic medals and 7-11 Paralympic medals.

Ski and Snowboard - with two medals at the Pyeongchang Olympics in February and seven at the Paralympics in March - will join Skeleton and Curling as the funded sports ahead of Beijing.

UK Sport Beijing funding tableBeijing funding table (WCP = World Class Programme)




















UK Sport says the investment will go further due in part to a "planned voluntary integration" between the British Ski and Snowboard and British Parasnowsport programmes.

PlanetSKI understands the two bodies will shortly announce that they are merging.

This will "create efficiencies as well as enabling cutting-edge coaching and innovation to be shared between the squads," UK Sport says in its announcement.

"The funded winter sports have pledged £3.4 million of co-funding into their world class programmes, with the bulk of this coming from the booming popularity and commercial success of the Ski and Snowboard sector."

Ironically, Britain's most successful ski and snowboard athletes - the park and pipe freestylers - could find they're no better off from the increase in funding.

Billy MorganBilly Morgan - one of GB Park & Pipe's success stories

In the previous funding cycle, investment was made specifically to the GB Park and Pipe programme,  which has produced all three of GB's snowsports medals at the last two Olympics.

Snowboarder Jenny Jones won bronze in Sochi.

Skier Izzy Atkin and snowboarder Billy Morgan both matched her result in Pyeongchang.

The investment in snowsports leading into Beijing will, however, be much broader, focusing not mainly on Park and Pipe but on more disciplines, more programmes and more athletes than in the past.

Andrew YoungMore money for cross-country and other disciplines
















"This is great news for all of our sports and of course the athletes themselves," said the Chief Executive of British Ski and Snowboard, Vicky Gosling.

"It is not only a sign of the progression British snowsports has made in recent years, it also shows UK Sport believe we will continue to generate more Olympic medals on snow, something that hadn't even been achieved before 2014.

"Our aim is to be one of the top five snowsports nations by 2030, and we need to be competitive across a range of disciplines if we are going to get there.

"Over the course of the next four years we're going to see more investment across more sports, while ensuring our park and pipe programme remains right up there with the best in the world.

"There's a lot of hard work still to be done, but we're already getting the right programmes and coaching structures in place to set ourselves up for the best chance of success."

Vicky GoslingVicky Gosling, CEO British Ski & Snowboard



















PlanetSKI assessed the chances of Britain becoming a top snowsports nation following the Pyeongchang Olympics:

While the funding announcement is good news for snowsports, there's disappointment for some of the ice sports.

The current funding principles, which prioritise sports with the greatest medal potential, means that four of them will lose their world class programme funding.

They are bobsleigh, short track speed skating, figure skating and wheelchair curling.

Although short track speed skating misses out, its world champion Elise Christie, who was devastated to suffer disqualification and injury in Pyeongchang, will benefit from individual investment as part of a new Medal Support Plan.

Elise ChristieElise Christie















A "transition fund" of around £1.5 million will be available to support athletes from the unfunded sports to allow them to compete for world championship events next winter, for which they are already in training.

"While UK Sport would like to be able to invest in every Olympic and Paralympic sport our role is to prioritise within agreed resources in order to protect and enhance the medal potential within the system," Liz Nicholl, Chief Executive of UK Sport said.

"We believe these strategic investments will deliver medal winning success to inspire the nation once again in Beijing in 2022.

"We fully understand the huge significance of our decisions and that they will impact on the hopes and dreams of the athletes, coaches and support staff that we are unable to invest in at this time.

"We are committed to managing this with appropriate care and will be working closely with those affected by these decisions to help support them in their transition."

UK Sport recently announced a public consultation to help decide its funding strategy for elite sport for the future.   Any changes for winter sports would not be implemented until after Beijing 2022:

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

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