New Year Message From Dame Katherine Grainger: Dame Katherine Grainger Credit Matthew Lewis

LONDON: The turning of the year is an ideal time to reflect and also look forward to what lies ahead. For many of us it provides a rare moment to take a breath and assess the work that has been done over the past 12 months in Olympic and Paralympic sport – and the challenges approaching.

It’s tempting to say, as the new year dawns, that all eyes will be on Paris 2024. As we count down to the Olympics and Paralympics, excitement and anticipation will steadily rise, fired by the thoughts of the unforgettable sporting moments that will be created in the French capital.

In many ways, that’s true, and entirely understandable. The athletes, coaches and support staff of Team GB and ParalympicsGB will be fully focused on arriving in Paris, ready to produce peak performances that make our nation proud and inspire the next generation. We know that this Paris Games (the only summer Games on European soil for the quarter of a century following London 2012) presents such a fantastic opportunity to unite and inspire the British public and remind them of the special thrill that comes from having a major multi-sport event on our doorstep.

And we have every reason to believe the British teams will once again produce memorable and ground-breaking displays of athleticism, ambition and adventure. Great Britain currently boasts no fewer than 50 current world champions across 15 Olympic sports, and 63 in 13 Paralympic sports.

I know you will join me in wishing our athletes well as they pursue their dreams in the French capital next summer. 

After Paris we of course have a Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games to look forward to in Milan-Cortina in 2026. Following a record breaking 2022/23 season, our winter athletes have picked up where they left off, starting this season with a flurry of World Cup medals, national sporting awards and breathtaking displays. I have no doubt that we’ll see many more incredible performances as the season unfolds in the coming months.

However, whilst the nation’s attention will rightly be on Paris 2024, and then Milan-Cortina 2026, behind the scenes there’s a huge amount of work already going into planning for the LA28 Summer Games.

Why are we working towards Los Angeles already?

For UK Sport, our responsibility for strategic leadership and investment of The National Lottery and Government funds, demands that we look farther ahead so that the high performance community is ready and prepared for the Los Angeles cycle.

People outside the high performance community might be surprised by the amount of work and advanced planning for LA that has already been completed. For instance, we are already heavily engaged in the process of working with national governing bodies to establish the appropriate level of funding to enable them to build towards LA28 and detailed conversations about their plans, ambitions and aspirations have already taken place.

Taking such a long-term view has been fundamental to the extraordinary and unprecedented success that our teams have enjoyed at the Olympics and Paralympics over the last two decades. Not only has a long-term view been fundamental, but so has the clarity we’ve always had around the investment of public funds that we receive from the Government and The National Lottery.

Increased investment is essential to sustained success

As we look to the future, it’s important to remember that the successes of the recent past did not happen by chance – and that we should not expect the same level of success to continue automatically.

Sustained levels of investment are required if our teams are to remain a force on the global sporting stage and continue to bring joy to the British public. We’ve invested around £305 million in 53 summer Olympic and Paralympic sports over the past four years. However, just to keep up with inflation, we’d need to invest £360 million* for the next four years to the LA28 Games, which highlights the challenging job facing the brilliant people leading, coaching and supporting our Olympic and Paralympic athletes.

However, our ambition to remain a top-five Olympic and Paralympic nation burns as brightly as ever. I believe we will see our athletes shine again in Paris next summer. With the right level of support, and thanks in part to the early planning already undertaken, they will be given every chance to continue to excel in Los Angeles and beyond.

I wish you all a happy New Year, and I hope that you have taken, or will be able to take some form of well-earned break before the new year picks up pace. I know you will join me in hoping that 2024 will be another year of extraordinary achievements by the athletes who represent the country so proudly. I look forward to joining many of you in cheering them on as they do.

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Contact Information

Rob Arnott

Notes to editors

*calculated using the Bank of England inflation calculator, based on a £305m investment in 2021.

About UK Sport 

UK Sport is the UK’s trusted high-performance experts, powering our greatest athletes, teams, sports and events to achieve positive success. Established in 1997, UK Sport has transformed the high-performance sporting system in the UK – through strategic leadership and investment of National Lottery and Government funds – winning more Olympic and Paralympic medals than ever before and is recognised as one of the top nations in the world for event hosting capabilities. UK Sport’s purpose is to lead high-performance sport to enable extraordinary moments that enrich lives and aims to work collaboratively with partners to deliver the greatest decade of extraordinary moments; reaching, inspiring and uniting the nation.