Photo: GB Snowsport Nordic Athlete James Clugnet training in Norway by Arne Olav Wagenius
GB Snowsport chief executive, vicky gosling, reflects on the publication of uk sport’s new strategy
The publication of a new strategy for world class sport in Britain is always good cause for a few moments of self-reflection. Are we working towards the right plan? Does our strategy fit the bigger national picture? Do we have a role to play?
Those moments of self-reflection are, I think, helpful. In fact, they’re critical in a high-performance environment like ours. If you’re not interrogating your strategy and looking for new opportunities, you’re not going to be primed to spot the things that can take you to the next level.
UK Sport’s new strategy, which was formally published last week, was one of those moments for me. The plan we’ve set out for GB Snowsport is already paying dividends – our results last season were testament to that fact – but I wanted to be certain it’s fit for the future too. So, does our strategy fit the bigger national picture? Do we have a role to play?
The answer is yes. We absolutely have a role to play, and we’re ready to do our bit.
The three ambitions outlined in the new UK Sport strategy – to keep winning and winning well; to grow a thriving sporting system; and, to inspire positive change – are ambitions that we also aspire to.
Our athletes are the embodiment of the first.
Whether it’s Dave Ryding’s phenomenal podium finish at Abelboden in January and Charlie Guest’s storming season finale or Mia Brookes’ overall Europa Cup Bronze and Charlotte Bankes’ World Championship Gold, British snowsport athletes are breaking new ground every week, and they’re doing so in the right way. We have the single largest medal responsibility across any Olympic and Paralympic National Governing Body, summer or winter, and we are mindful of that in every step of our work. From competing clean to participating in a culture that values openness, mental wellbeing, and standing up for causes they are passionate about, the GB Snowsport team knows that winning well and winning with integrity are the hallmarks of great champions.
In the second, we are and will continue to be a model for sustainable sporting success.
From coaching and sport science to domestic and international partnerships, I am determined that GB Snowsport should be at the cutting-edge of British sport, and that the lessons we learn should be available to the rest of the country’s sporting infrastructure. After all, that’s what sits at the heart of our ‘One Team’ method, where each of our disciplines work together, shares coaching and training methodologies, and supports one another more than ever before. Of course, we care about building our own successes, but how much more powerful will they be if we can be a rising tide for other sports too?
The third – inspiring positive change – really gets to the heart of what I believe our sports can be.
We all know that sport, in all its forms, has the power to change lives. Today’s successes inspire tomorrow’s champions, of course, but the impact extends further than that. We are conscious that the maxim “if you can’t see it, you can’t believe it” rings true for our sports – and that extends beyond our successes on the snow. We have a wider responsibility that uses our world class performances as a springboard to inspire and captivate the nation in a whole array of areas. We can be a force for good in so many areas, both here in the UK and across the world. From social justice to responsible leadership and campaigning for change, we have both the responsibility and the power to leave a lasting impression on the world around us.
None of this would be possible, of course, without the support of UK Sport.
We consider ourselves fortunate to be backed so strongly and we’re determined to repay the faith shown in us by living up to the ideals set out in the new strategy. Our focus may be on Beijing and the season ahead, but we still have time to reflect – and those reflections show we’re moving forward on the right path.