Team GB’s athletes do not face medal goals for the Olympics in Tokyo after it was revealed that its experts do not have enough data to make accurate predictions due to the Covid pandemic.
Mark England, head of the British Olympic Association’s mission for Tokyo, was asked if Team GB’s athletes were able to exceed the 67 medals won at the Rio 2016 Games. “We have not set a medal goal on it – and we will not be honest,” he said. “I also do not think UK Sport will.”
Asked why England said: “The last 12 months have given young athletes the opportunity to be stronger and put themselves in conflict. But it has been very obvious that any competition data as to where we stand against our main competitors around the world is really not there. We only have snatches of times and qualifying times. ”
It marks a marked shift in approach given that medal goals have been at the heart of UK Sport’s “no compromise” approach for years, as sport knew that if they fell short at an Olympics, they could lose some or all of their funding the next games.
England said he was convinced Team GB would take around 375 athletes to Tokyo – nine more than traveled to Rio. “We believe we are taking a highly competitive team, this is a performance-focused team,” he said. “And we’re excited to see what they can do.”
“We want a pre-party that lands on July 1st. We have a huge preparation camp set up which is extensive and fantastic. We are happy to see how it unfolds and what life in the Olympic Village is like. We plan without respite. This is pretty fast. ”
UK Sport did not comment on England’s comments but is still in discussions with some sports on the adoption of certain performance targets. One source confirmed that due to the lack of international competition data, it had been far more difficult than usual to predict medals in most sports.