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New British talent campaign launched in bid to find nation’s future Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games athletes

New British talent campaign launched in bid to find nation’s future Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games athletes

GB Snowsport and British Biathlon have set out ambitions to boost the nation’s Nordic talent pool with a new talent identification campaign aimed at uncovering new talent which, alongside our current cohort of young athletes, will form the next generation of British snowsport competitors.

The campaign, developed to target 15-22 year olds with a background in endurance sport, is part of wider efforts led by GB Snowsport and supported by Snowsport Scotland and Snowsport England to strengthen the country’s talent domestic pathway and provide young British athletes with a clear roadmap to representing their country at future Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

The focus on the Nordic programme comes as part of a wider GB Snowsport talent and pipeline strategy which builds on the efforts of the Home Nations and the British Academy system to help boost medal prospects on the World Cup, World Championships and Olympic and Paralympic circuits among other outcomes. As the country builds towards the Beijing 2022 Games, the sport’s talent campaigns are increasingly focused on the 2026 and 2030 Olympic and Paralympic cycles.

Discussing the British Biathlon/British Nordic campaign, and GB Snowsport’s wider commitment to the talent pathway, Mark Ritchie, GB Snowsport Head of Talent, explained further.

Why is this campaign launching now?

Understandably there’s a big focus across all of snowsport right now on the 2021/22 season and the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, but we also have to focus on what’s happening four or even eight years down the line. Creating more success for Britain over the next decade means making smart decisions now about how we boost our talent pool right across the country.

What are you aiming to achieve with this campaign?

In direct terms, we want to be in a position where we identify and support athletes to compete and achieve credible results  at the 2026 and 2030 Olympic Winter Games. More generally, we want to cast a wider net in terms of the talent we’re accessing and in finding new athletes to support through our talent and domestic programmes. Across our disciplines we’ve got some young athletes demonstrating real potential, but we know there’s no point resting on our laurels – we’ve got to find and nurture as wide a pool of talent as we possibly can, whether it’s in Nordic or any of our other disciplines where appropriate.

How does this fit into the wider GB Snowsport talent plan?

This piece of work is a really important part of our pathway planning, but it is just one aspect of what we’re looking to achieve. Right now, we’re working really closely with the Home Nations in England, Scotland and Wales to make sure we’re joined up in our approach to bringing talent through at every level of the sport; campaigns like this are designed to supplement the efforts that are already in place across the whole of the pathway.

Are there any other areas that GB Snowsport is focusing on?

One of the things we’re really working hard on is ensuring that we’re as open and accessible a sport as we can be. One of the great benefits of running a campaign like this is that it’s specifically designed to tap into a completely new pool of potential athletes. That can only be a good thing in terms of building our representation and the diversity of our athlete pool over the next decade.