GB snowsport chief executive, vicky gosling, explains why we’ll be keeping a close eye on the olympic and paralympic games in tokyo
After everything we’ve experienced over the past 18 months, you’d be forgiven for thinking we’re all used to weird situations. But there is something genuinely strange about seeing British athletes preparing to take to Tokyo for the Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games, knowing our Winter Games are just a few short months away.
Normally at the beginning of a Summer Games we’d be just over halfway through our preparation cycle. A busy time, certainly, but one where we’re still able to switch our focus, just a little bit, to cheering on our compatriots in their own Olympic and Paralympic Games. This year, though, we’re just over six months away from the opening ceremony in Beijing and the experiences of seeing Team GB athletes flying out to Asia knowing we’ll be doing the same thing in just a few short months puts a different perspective on the situation.
It’s also different, of course, because it’s the first glimpse we’ll have of how athletes and teams will cope in a Games in the time of covid. Indeed, as I write this, news emerges of British team members having to isolate due to a close contact on their flight from London to Tokyo.
Of course, we all hope that by next February a little more normality will have returned to the world. But as the Governing Body accountable for 98% of all medals available in the Paralympic Winter Games and 50% at the Olympic Winter Games – the highest level of medal responsibility across any Olympic or Paralympic Governing Body, summer or winter – it would be irresponsible not to be prepared for a situation where covid is still impacting our preparations in some ways this winter.
That’s one area where the British sporting system really works to our benefit.
The accumulation of knowledge and the sharing of best practices across different sports is something British world class teams are well known for. Every experience a British athlete has in Tokyo this summer will become part of the pool of knowledge that informs every British athlete flying out to Beijing next winter. So that’s something we’ll be keeping a close eye on.
We’ll also be watching out for what cycling popularised as the ‘marginal gains’ that can make a difference between a strong performance and a medal-winning performance at Games time. Again, this is where that shared knowledge between sports becomes so valuable – any performance edge we can adapt to a snowsport environment could be the key to bringing home more medals from Beijing, and we’ll be watching that closely too.
There’s another reason we’ll be watching too. And it’s the same reason that millions of Brits will be tuning in every day: because we’re fans.
At GB Snowsport we’ve been working tirelessly to instil a “one team” ethos into our sport, so that whether you’re a VI Skier, a Freestyle Snowboarder, or a Cross Country athlete, you’ll still feel you’re a part of the same team. As far as I’m concerned, the same thing applies to our summer sport counterparts too.
Every athlete that steps out there representing Team GB is an athlete we’ll be right behind; as teammates, as supporters, and as part of a sporting family. We’ll be cheering every success, feeling every setback, and celebrating every medal. And we know that when it’s our turn next winter, they’ll be doing the same thing for us.