BRITAIN will not repeat the mistakes of Australia and let performance levels plummet after a successful home Olympics, some of the country’s leading sport powerbrokers vowed yesterday.
Olympics minister Hugh Robertson and elite performance agency UK Sport are confident Team GB will instead improve on their record-breaking London 2012 medal tally at the next Games in Brazil.
That belief is based on the guarantee that total central funding for all sport leading up to Rio 2016 will dip only fractionally from £512m to £508m, as well as a number of other factors.
Robertson cited the 10 sports that failed to meet their London targets as obvious sources of potential improvement and identified the two sports set to join the Games – golf and sevens rugby – as strong medal hopes.
“We’re delighted to get 65 medals [at London 2012], but we knew it was possible,” said UK Sport chief executive Liz Nicholl.
“Most countries have had uplift in funding [for a home Games] but this has not been sustained. We’re in a really good place to maintain this momentum.”
Australia won a record 58 medals and finished fourth in the table at the Sydney Games in 2000, but have steadily deteriorated since, ranking 10th in London with just 35.
Peter Keen, UK Sport’s performance advisor, said it was “entirely reasonable” to expect Britain to surpass its London performance at the next Games.
He added: “Planning for Rio is vastly better – unrecognisably better – than it was six years ago. We’re actually starting to get it.”
Team GB won a record tally of 29 gold medals at London 2012.