Winter Olympics - BOA boss: One medal 'would be fantastic'

Thu, 28 Jan 14:29:00 2010

British Olympic Association chief executive Andy Hunt insists he would be happy with just one medal from next month's Winter Olympics in Vancouver, irrespective of UK Sport's target of three.

British skeleton racer Shelley Rudman - 0

UK Sport chief executive John Steele had laid out a target of three medals as return on the 6.5 million investment in winter sports since Turin 2006, a haul which would represent Britain's most successful Winter Games since Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany in 1936.

And recent results in winter sports have given reasons for optimism, with both bobsleigh duo Nicola MInichiello and Gillian Cooke and the men's curling team arriving in Vancouver as world champions.

But Hunt claimed that any improvement on Shelley Rudman's (pictured) solitary skeleton silver from Turin 2006 would represent success, and said that even equalling the achievement would be "fantastic".

"I've been pretty consistent from the beginning," he said. "The target is to be better than Turin and for every athlete to achieve a personal best.

"We haven't set a medal target whereas UK Sport have. I don't actually believe that there is any performance benefit of doing so.

"If I thought that doing that would deliver more medals then I would set one but I don't think it will.

"UK Sport are a government agency and they can do whatever they want in terms of setting targets and I fully understand their choice to do so to measure their return of investment.

"But we're in a team leadership and management capacity and much different to UK Sport. It doesn't put me under any added pressure at all because I've always stood by the target of better than Turin.

"I would love to get three medals, more even, but the reality is, we're not a winter sport nation and our investment in winter sports is only 1.5 per cent of summer sports.

"Even if we get one medal just like we did in Turin it would be a fantastic achievement."

Meanwhile, Sir Clive Woodward, the BOA's director of elite performance, echoed Hunt's sentiments and believes preparation will prove pivotal in Vancouver.

"I think it's right for UK Sport to give a medal target because they fund some of these sports but from the BOA's point of view, it's been my advice to avoid a medals target," he added.

"I just think we've got some fantastic chances this year. Some of the athletes are not as well funded as summer sports so to be in with a realistic chance of winning some medals is fantastic.

"I think the obvious one is Shelley Rudman and (fellow skeleton rider) Kristan Bromley and then the men's curling team and the women's curling team and some of the short track speed skaters.

"I think the favourites tend to win and the top-ranked athletes tend to win and those that run the best programmes are the ones that tend to succeed. That's why we're going there with chances of not only medals but gold medals.

"Take bobsleigh and Nicola Minichiello. You can almost compare bobsleigh to cycling - you need real power athletes, you need some real engineering in terms of the sled and the technology.

"And so if we can excel at cycling, which we do, we dominate the world, with the right support and background we can aim to excel at bobsleigh."

More Than The Games / Eurosport

Not already a Yahoo! user ? to get a free Yahoo! Account