George Peasgood will go down in history after today becoming the athlete to win the 1000th medal for Great Britain & Northern Ireland since funding into Paralympic and Olympic sport from The National Lottery was introduced.
Peasgood’s bronze medal in road cycling’s men’s C4 time trial marked the 71st won by ParalympicsGB in Tokyo and pushed the overall total for British athletes across both the Paralympic and Olympic Games, summer and winter, since National Lottery funding was introduced in 1997 to a landmark 1000.
The first medal of this new era of support from National Lottery players was won in Nagano, just a short distance from Tokyo, at the Olympic Winter Games in 1998 and sparked the revitalisation of ParalympicsGB and Team GB’s fortunes to the levels seen today.
With the landmark 1000th medal achieved on day seven of the Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Peasgood’s outstanding performance today – and on Sunday when he won silver in triathlon’s men’s PTS5, and that of every ParalympicsGB and Team GB athlete in Japan this summer, can help inspire the next 1000.
Dame Katherine Grainger, Chair at UK Sport, said: “I’d like to wish a huge congratulations to George for making history today and also to all of the ParalympicsGB medallists so far in Tokyo. Winning a Paralympic medal is such a special achievement and the team are providing inspirational moments and memories for the British public to be proud of.
“Reaching 1000 Paralympic and Olympic medals since the introduction of National Lottery funding is a remarkable achievement for our high-performance community and one I hope they get the chance to relish. Everyone who plays The National Lottery should be extremely proud of this moment as well, without your support it simply wouldn’t be possible.
“What these Paralympic Games are showing us, and the Olympics before them, is the transformative power of sport. With such a landmark secured, we hope those athletes that go on to win the next 1000 medals at Beijing, Paris, Milan-Cortina, Los Angeles and beyond represent the whole of the UK and bring increasing enjoyment and pride to more of the nation.”
Sally Munday, CEO at UK Sport, said: “Today is a proud day for George and I offer many congratulations to him for his outstanding performance in Tokyo. I also wish to extend those congratulations to George’s coaches, support staff, family and friends. ParalympicsGB are having an extraordinary Games in Tokyo, just like Team GB, and these are moments for everyone to savour.
“The continued support of National Lottery players has allowed British athletes to turn dreams into realities with there now being 1000 Paralympic and Olympic medals and counting since Nagano in 1998. British athletes from all corners of the UK are creating sporting moments that are uniting, lifting and inspiring the country, especially after such a challenging time.
“We are seeing socially conscious people of talent and character display the extraordinary power of sport to lift a nation and to make the world a better place, whether that be about championing the environment or inclusion or providing crucial role models to inspire our diverse nation.
“The next 1000 medals will be won by athletes across a broader range of sports than ever before and I’m excited to see how these brilliant and inspirational individuals engage more of the British public than ever before. You have to look no further than the exceptional British performances we’ve seen this summer in new Olympic sports like BMX freestyle and skateboarding and I’m sure there’s more to come in the new Paralympic sports of para-taekwondo and para-badminton later this week.”
Izzy Atkin, who won bronze in the women’s slopestyle at the 2018 Winter Olympics, said: “Winning an Olympic or Paralympic medal is something you dream about as a child. I’m sure that every one of the 1000 British medals won since National Lottery funding was introduced will have sparked new dreams for people watching, supporting and competing in sport right across the country, just like they did for me.
“Sport really does have the power to bring people together, and I hope that GB’s next 1000 medals continue to show the courage, bravery, diversity, and dedication of athletes from every community and background in the nation.”
Paralympic gold medal winning swimmer Alice Tai said: “It’s incredible that the 1000th medal has been won since National Lottery funding began. National Lottery players’ support to us as swimmers, but also at a grassroots level, is so important. In the future, I would like to see expansion across all sports and people using their platform in sport for good, especially in Paralympic sport.
“I’m excited to see a new generation of swimmers coming through and I would love to see athletes promoting a higher level of diversity within sport across the board. There’s still so many people out there who can’t swim but if we can get more people involved and enjoying healthy, active lifestyles then that’s a huge win for society in general.”
Three-time Paralympic gold medal winning swimmer Ollie Hynd said: “It’s really great that we have managed to hit the 1000 medal mark, this is something that everyone can be really proud of. Sport has the power to change people’s lives, we saw how London 2012 changed perceptions on disability and it’s important we keep that momentum going.
“I’m passionate about passing that to the next generation, and displaying the value being involved in sport can bring to people’s lives. As athletes we have a responsibility to continue to inspire people within their communities to make positive change and have an impact beyond winning medals.”
Mike Sharrock, Chief Executive at the British Paralympic Association, said: “I’m delighted that George is the 1000th medallist since National Lottery funding was introduced. There is no doubt that National Lottery funding has been crucial to getting each of our athletes at the Tokyo Paralympic Games to the start line with the right training environment, the best possible Games environment and health and well-being support, so they can perform to the very best of their ability.
“We know that ParalympicsGB athletes are inspiring the next generation of Paralympic stars. But they’re also role models for disabled and non-disabled people. Many stars are being created here at the Tokyo Paralympic Games. Off the field of play I can’t wait to see schools, employers and local communities connect with their heroes when they land back to the UK.”
Andy Anson, British Olympic Association CEO, said: “Today marks a landmark moment for the British Olympic Association (BOA) and the British Paralympic Association and the unprecedented success athletes from Great Britain and Northern Ireland have enjoyed at Olympic and Paralympic Games since National Lottery funding started in 1997.
“There is much to be proud of with regards the high-performance system in the UK and the work undertaken by National Governing Bodies, Home Country Institutes, UK Sport and the BOA, but most of all we are proud of the inspirational athletes who represent their country with such pride, skill and determination.
“Tokyo was a special Games for Team GB and it’s fantastic to see ParalympicsGB continuing that incredible success and doing the nation proud with some stunning performances.”