UK Sport has set British and Northern Irish athletes the target of winning an unprecedented five medals at next month’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
The funding body is confident that a vast increase in investment over the four-year cycle from £14m to £32m will result in the best ever Winter Games for the country’s Olympians and the most successful in 30 years for its Paralympians.
“We know that our goals for any Games are always ambitious,” said UK Sport director of performance Chelsea Warr.
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“However, this is a particularly stretching target given the high risks, low margins for error across a range of events we have medal opportunities in, and in some events more unpredictable outdoor terrains that our athletes will need to skilfully navigate.
“Nevertheless, some fantastic work has gone on behind the scenes by all the teams working with our athletes to ensure they are the best prepared in the world.”
A medal haul of between four and 10 is projected at the Winter Olympics, which starts in South Korea on 9 February. UK Sport has forecast 6-12 medals at the Winter Paralympics, which follows in March.
British competitors claimed a record-equalling four medals at the Winter Olympics in Sochi four years ago, when Lizzy Yarnold starred with gold in the skeleton bob.
Yarnold is among Britain’s strongest hopes in Pyeongchang, along with speed skating triple world champion Elise Christie, skiers James Woods and Izzy Atkin, and the men’s and women’s curling teams.
“The target of a best ever Olympic Winter Games is indicative of just how far the athletes and their national governing bodies have progressed over the past four years,” said Team GB Chef de Mission Mike Hay.
“It is a reflection of the growth we have seen across many of our winter sports that they have medal potential on the world stage and that Great Britain is a now viewed as a credible winter nation.”