UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and DCMS Secretary, Nigel Huddleston, have announced a £323 million investment for Team GB Olympic and Paralympics GB athletes ahead of the Paris 2024 games.
Released in the buildup to the games, the £77.4 million a year investment – channeled to elite sport agency UK Sport – represents a 44% increase in funding from the £54 million received in preparation for Tokyo 2020.
The most recent edition of the games was a significant success for the British athletes, with Team GB winning a total of 65 medals across 25 disciplines – including swimming, diving, taekwondo, boxing, BMX and skateboarding, the later of which made its Olympic debut – securing fourth place in the overall table.
Returning athletes including gold medal winners Adam Peaty, Jason and Laura Kenny, Tom Daley and Sky Brown will be welcomed home today at Wembley Arena in front of a live audience and broadcast by BBC One.
Meanwhile, the Paralympic games are due to start later this month, and will feature 240 athletes, including track runners Jonnie Peacock and Hannah Cockroft and swimmer Ellie Simmonds.
“Team GB showed us the very best of this country in Tokyo – demonstrating sportsmanship, hard work and record-breaking performances,” said Boris Johnson.
“From the pool to the track to the velodrome, our Olympians gave us so many reasons to be proud, and to celebrate their extraordinary success. This increased funding will support Team GB to deliver their best possible performances in three years time in Paris.”
The additional investment builds on the UK National Lottery’s ongoing support for the Olympic and Paralympic athletes of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which this year involved its ‘largest ever’ fully integrated and multi-channel brand campaign.
Team GB athletes encountered a range of hurdles due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the build-up to Tokyo 2020 – which itself was rescheduled from the previous year as a result of the global health crisis, incurring heavy debt to the Japanese government and Olympic organisers – including disrupted training schedules, the impact of lockdowns on organisation and additional safety measures.
A total of 376 British athletes were able to attend the events, the largest Great Britain team ever mobilised for the games, a feat attributed to the ‘hard work and dedication’ of participants with the financial support provided.
“Our Olympic athletes have been an inspiration to people across Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the world,” Dowden remarked. “Their incredible performances gave us many medal winning-moments in Tokyo that will live long in the memory and I am sure we will enjoy many more from our Paralympians later this month.
“Their success is years in the making and a credit to their resilience, dedication and brilliant talent. Despite major disruption caused by the pandemic, Team GB have brought the entire nation together and inspired the next generation of athletes.
“Today we reaffirm our commitment with increased government funding, ensuring they can focus on delivering more memorable performances at Paris and beyond.”
Commenting on the extension of Olympic funding, Sally Munday, CEO, of UK Sport, said: “On behalf of the Olympic and Paralympic sport community, I’d like to thank the Government for providing us with the certainty UK Sport, Britain’s athletes, and, crucially, their world class support teams, needed for the coming three years towards Beijing 2022 and Paris 2024.
“The past 18 months have been challenging time for everyone, and I think we have all seen the power of sport to uplift us, demonstrated by our Olympians in Tokyo, and we are looking forward to our Paralympians doing the same in less than two weeks’ time.”