Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Britain Might Only Finance 2012 Athletes Who Can Win

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Britain Might Only Finance 2012 Athletes Who Can Win

Article excerpt

Byline: PAUL WAUGH;ANNE MCELVOY

BRITAIN may try to maximise its medals haul in the 2012 Olympics by only fielding athletes in winnable events, Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell has revealed.

In an interview with the Standard, Ms Jowell said that she and the Treasury were in talks to work out how the Government could get the most value for money from its investment in the London Games.

Host countries traditionally enter athletes for all events but Britain was investigating whether to concentrate resources where success was more likely, she said.

The minister said the public would be "very disappointed" if Britain failed to increase substantially its medals tally at home.

She said: "There is extremely constructive discussion going on between us and the Treasury about the strategy that we adopt.

"The expectation is that as the home country you field athletes in virtually every event. We don't normally have athletes competing in water polo, softball and so on.

"The question is, do we invest in everything, ie in those sports where we are nowhere, in order to field a team that may be able to get to the first heat or do we invest now in those sports where we know we can win medals and in the athletes who would compete at that time?"

Ms Jowell insisted that she didn't want to pre-empt the decisions of the experts but gave a clear hint of the direction she wants.

She said: "Where we want to get to is to win as many medals as possible in 2012. Do we do that by spreading our bets very widely or is there somewhere in-between that means that we don't cover every single sport but we invest in more Olympic sports than we have done so far with the expectation that we are going to win?"

Refusing to field athletes for some events could prove controversial, as the Olympic ideal is that taking part, not winning, is what counts. …

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