27 January 2012

UK athlete development programme

supporting the developing athlete@UK Sport

Coaches and managers responsible for the identification and development of elite sporting talent across a range of Olympic sports are set to reconvene this week for the second in a series of masterclasses aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of the elite development pathway.

Led by the UK Talent Team (a collaboration between UK Sport and the English Institute of Sport [EIS]) the series began last month with a look at talent profiling and confirmation whilst this week’s forum, being held at Bisham Abbey, will focus on the support services that are key to the developing athlete.

Alex Stacey, Athlete Development Coordinator at the UK Talent Team, explains: “Physical competency is a key element in any sport and getting it right at the development level is hugely important, so this session aims to look at how support services can help and ensure that coaches and managers are getting the level of information they need.”

With the help of several EIS and UK Sport experts, delegates will spend two days looking at the key principles behind sport science and medicine support to development athletes including sessions on creating physical robustness, training loads and recovery and psychology, as well as assessing a number of case studies before concluding with a panel discussion.

“These are all crucial areas to get right with developing athletes and hopefully the delegates will get a real insight into these areas from our presenters” added Stacey, who will be joined in delivering the masterclass by Chelsea Warr, UK Sport’s Head of Athlete Development, whilst presenters include Glenn Hunter, UK Sport’s Research and Innovation Consultant, Ashleigh Wallace, EIS Regional Lead Physiotherapist, Nick Slade, EIS Head of Performance Lifestyle, EIS Performance Psychologist Pete Lindsay and Dr Stewart Laing and Emma Neupert from the UK Talent Team.

Since its inception in 2006, the UK Talent Team has already made an impact on the high performance landscape with over 7,000 individuals from the Great British public having applied to take part in talent assessment events as part of various technical frontline solutions designed to identify athletes with elite sporting potential.

As a result, over 50 athletes new to the high performance system are now on Olympic and Paralympic development programmes working towards success in London 2012, Sochi 2014, Rio 2016, and beyond.

The final masterclass in the current series is set for March where the focus will move on to take a look at high performance parenting.

15 January 2012

2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games
Opening ceremony
Speech of the IOC President, Jacques Rogge


Dear Friends,

For the first time, young people from around the
world have come together for the Winter Youth
Olympic Games, a global celebration of sport and
Olympic values.

It is altogether symbolic that this new Olympic
tradition will begin in Innsbruck.

These Games will enhance a great legacy that
includes Innsbruck’s role as host of the 1964 and
1976 Olympic Winter Games.

Tonight, I can say with great pleasure….Innsbruck,
you have done it again!

I firstly want to thank the public authorities, the
dedicated organising committee and all of the
outstanding volunteers whose uniform I wear with
pride. They have worked so hard to ensure the
success of these Games.

To the athletes, I say…These Games exist for you.
You have come here from 70 countries not just to
compete against each other, but also to learn from
each other.

Some of the friendships formed over the next nine
days will last a lifetime, and so will the memories.

This evening marks your entry into the Olympic

That honour comes with a great responsibility.

As the next generation of sports men and women,
you are now the role models that represent our
hopes for the future.

You have a chance to be true champions, not only
by winning medals, but by conducting yourself like

Strive for excellence, but compete with friendship
and respect for your opponents.

Reject doping and other shortcuts that cheat
yourself as well as others.

I now have the honour to ask His Excellency The
Federal President of the Republic of Austria, Dr
Heinz Fischer, to open the first Winter Youth
Olympic Games.

First Winter Youth Olympic Games kick off in Innsbruck@IOC

The Innsbruck 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games officially got under way today with an Opening Ceremony at the Bergisel stadium, the iconic Olympic venue in the heart of Austria’s Tyrolean capital, Innsbruck.

With the snow-capped mountains providing a breathtaking backdrop, over 1,000 athletes aged 15 to 18 were greeted by International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge, and the Chairman of the Innsbruck 2012 Organising Committee, Richard Rubatscher.

Reflecting the Olympic heritage of Innsbruck, which staged the 1964 and 1976 Olympic Winter Games, the newly created Youth Olympic cauldron and the two existing cauldrons from the previous Games were set ablaze. The Ceremony fused Tyrolean tradition and modern youth culture, with entertainment including freestyle skiers and snowboarders jumping overhead and a paring of ancient Tyrolean dances with a hip hop crew. The stage and costumes were designed by young students from local colleges.

Addressing the crowd in the stadium, President Rogge said: “For the first time, young people from around the world have come together for the Winter Youth Olympic Games, a global celebration of sport and Olympic values.”

“You have come here from 70 countries not just to compete against each other, but also to learn from each other. Some of the friendships formed over the next nine days will last a lifetime, and so will the memories”, he added, reminding the audience that the Winter Youth Olympic Games, which will run from 13 to 22 January and feature a unique Culture and Education Programme, have been created and designed just for young athletes.

Those attending the Opening Ceremony included Austrian President Heinz Fischer, Coordination Commission Chairman for the Winter Youth Olympic Games Gian-Franco Kasper, and Olympic champion and Youth Olympic Games Ambassador Yuna Kim.

In the next few days, Innsbruck 2012 will feature some of the world’s most talented young athletes taking part in the seven sports currently on the winter Olympic programme, including three new events: women’s ski jumping, ski halfpipe and snowboard slopestyle.

After their success at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010, mixed-gender and mixed-country events will also form part of the programme, with a mixed Alpine skiing parallel team event and mixed-country short track skating team relay. In addition, mixed-sport events, such as cross-country biathlon, will be introduced for the first time.

These mixed events aim to strengthen bonds between the athletes and foster better understanding of each other’s cultures and backgrounds, a fundamental vision of the Youth Olympic Games.

With sport as a foundation, the Youth Olympic Games will give the young athletes their first taste of the Olympic experience and provide valuable lessons which they can leverage in their future careers, be it in sport or in other vocations.