UK Sport, the British government body, announced last week that the organization will invest an additional £2.4 million (USD 3.05 million) into several Winter Olympic and Paralympic sports. The boost is designed to support athletes preparing for the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Milan-Cortina, Italy, and follows in the wake of successful 22/23 winter season, which demonstrated the potential of British athletes in a wide range of winter sports.
Last season, British winter athletes won nine world championships medals across five Olympic sports (including four gold medals), and another nine medals in three Paralympic sports.
The additional funds will be distributed as follows:
- Ski and Snowboard — £41,430 (USD 52,577)
- Para Ski and Snowboard — £141,493 (USD 179,562)
- Skeleton — £856,088 (USD 1,086,423)
- Bobsleigh — £895,738 (USD 1,136,741)
- Skating — £431,035 (USD 547,007)
Bobsleigh and Skeleton, will receive the lion-share of the additional funding, after Britain’s four-man bob finished second at the World Championships. It was Britain’s first medal in the event in 84 years. Futhermore, the four-man bob podiumed in another seven of eight of their races. While in Skeleton, Matt Weston won individual World Championship Gold and the mixed team won two medals in the new Mixed Team event.
GB Snowsport stated in a press release on August 14, 2023, that they welcome the UK Sport’s decision to invest an additional £173,000 into GB Snowsport programmes, the bulk of which will go towards the Paralympic programs. GB Snowsport includes all alpine and nordic disciplines, from alpine skiing to snowboard cross, moguls and cross-country.
GB Snowsport Chief Executive Victoria Gosling said: “It has been a record-breaking season at GB Snowsport, with the Olympic and Paralympic teams winning more medals than ever before, including one in every discipline we represent. This has taken incredible skill and resilience from the team and the additional UK Sport funding will be crucial as we ramp up our preparations for Milan-Cortina. We want to give our athletes, like Scott Meenagh, every chance of success and are grateful to the National Lottery for their continued support and investment in such a special group of individuals.”
In a last ditch attempt to increase funding, GB Snowsport had turned to an independent arbitrator after UK Sport had cut Olympic funding to £ 11.9 million (USD 14.7 million) for both Olympic and Paralympic Winter Athletes. The independent arbitrator dismissed the claim, but GB Snowsport maintained that the funds would not be sufficient to maintain elite performance. The GB Alpine Team even launched a crowdfunding campaign to help support its training efforts for the 2026 Winter Olympics.
- Related: United Kingdom Cuts Snowsports Funding After Disappointing Performance in Beijing Winter Olympics
While the increase in funding by £173,000 only represents an increase of 1.5%, one can assume that any funds will be greatly appreciated by GB Snowsport athletes.