‘Team’ Blueprint Key for Future Games Success
The strong elite partnerships across Wales and the UK have given Welsh athletes the platform to bring home a record Olympic Games medal haul, says Sport Wales Chief Exective Sarah Powell.
The 10 medals won in Rio smashed the previous best of seven at London 2012 and equalled the four golds won at Antwerp in 1920.
The history-making group of athletes was also the largest ever overseas contingent of Welsh athletes at an Olympic Games.
According to the woman at the helm of Sport Wales, a number of factors are combining for Welsh elite sport to thrive, and point towards more success in the future.
“Before the Games we knew the athletes were as well prepared as they have ever been and that we were sending a collection of world class athletes who could make an impact in Rio,” said chief executive Sarah Powell.
“They have exceeded our expectations and given us some unforgetable sporting moments, against iconic Rio backdrops, which will live long in the memory as great moments in Welsh and British sport.
“I will personally remember the bravery of Jazz Carlin after missing out on London and the comeback queen Becky James. And how about the world and Olympic records in the velodrome, ruthless kicking from the headhunter Jade Jones and Hannah Mills dancing with delight out on the water.
“Athletes such as Chloe Tutton, just missing out on a medal at her first Olympics, have shown so much potential for a bright future at major events.
“Coming so soon after the inspirational performances of the men’s football team at the Euros, our athletes are proving they are champions who can excel at the very highest level of sport. We are exceling and competing at the very top across such a variety of sports.
“We know the athletes are an inspiration to young people in Wales and are role models for their determination, committment and work ethic, as well as their huge sporting talent.
“Every athlete has acknowledged the support around them, which comes through smart investment, partnership working and innovative thinking.
“To get athletes to this level needs structures that provide the best people, environments, facilities and programmes.
“Working in close partnership with govening bodies and UK Sport means we give our athletes and their coaches the very best chance of success, not just through financial resources but also athlete services such as sports science and medicine at the Sport Wales Institute.
“Investment through the National Lottery and support from Welsh Government is also vital if we are maintain this level of ahievement.
“We work on systematic development so that we have a constant stream of athletes capable of competing at this level.
“We should no longer be surprised when we succeed – we plan to win and we expect success.”
There are now less than 600 days before the next major multi-sport event, with the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast starting on 4th April 2018.
After a record breaking medal haul for Team Wales in 2014, many of the athletes who competed in Rio will be looking for further accolades in Australia.
Professor Nicola Phillips, Team Wales Chef de Mission for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, said:
"Welsh athletes have yet again made us proud in Rio, beating the 2012 medal record. We congratulate them all on their achievement, as well the coaches, staff and governing bodies who have supported them.
"As they return to Wales, many of the athletes already have their sights set on the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia in just over 18 months. This will be the next opportunity for them to compete in a multi-sport event, and even more importantly, to represent Wales internationally.
"The preparations for Gold Coast are well underway, and the qualification period for Team Wales at the Commonwealth Games will start soon. We look forward to following Welsh athletes' performance over the coming months, and hope to bring even more medals home to Wales in 2018."