London 2012 - William and Kate get Olympic role
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been appointed official ambassadors to the London 2012 Olympic Games.
St. James's Palace confirmed that William, Kate and Prince Harry will play a leading role in "encouraging and inspiring the British public to rally behind the 900 Olympic and Paralympic athletes" competing for Team GB.
The royal trio will join 27 British Olympians, including five-times gold medallist Sir Steve Redgrave, revealed as 2012 ambassadors by the British Olympic Association earlier this year.
"London hosting the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will inspire so many people - particularly the young - to be the best they can be," said Prince William, whose cousin, Zara Phillips, is hoping to be part of Britain's three-day eventing team.
"We are hugely looking forward to this incredible sporting competition, but are also looking beyond next summer's Games to the springboard it will provide for future success and excellence.
"The athletes and coaches taking part in the Team GB ambition programme are part of that future success - potential medal-winners and sources of inspiration to come.
"We hope they enjoy the experience of London 2012 to the full, and learn from it how to become successful British Olympians of the future."
The British Olympic Association confirmed the three will play a role in their ambition programme, which aims to give 200 aspiring athletes not selected for the Games the chance to experience the event, as they focus their sights on the next Winter Olympics in Sochi and summer Games in Rio in 2016.
Team GB ran a similar scheme in Beijing with athletes in attendance including Hannah England, Jonathan Brownlee, Perri Shakes Drayton and Mhairi Spence, who are all pushing hard for selection in their respective sports and are considered serious medal prospects for next summer.
Former rower Sarah Winckless, who now heads the BOA's athletes' commission, will be responsible for delivering the programme which will give athletes a three-day experience of the Games.
"We are particularly pleased to draw upon the experience and inspiration of Sarah Winckless, our Team GB Ambassadors, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry," said BOA chief executive and Team GB chef de mission Andy Hunt.
"Following the successful launch of the Team GB Ambition Programme in 2008, we are delighted to once again work in partnership with the national governing bodies to provide aspiring Olympic athletes and coaches with this unique introduction to the Games environment.
"Athletes and coaches who have succeeded in the Olympic Games often reflect upon the importance of being aware of the complexities and pressures of the Games environment, and having confidence in knowing how to deal with those challenges.
"That’s what this programme is all about: supporting British athletes and coaches at the highest level of international sport by providing an invaluable introduction to the Olympic environment."