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UK Sport Invests For The Long Term With Broader Range Of Winter Sports Set For Funding

athlete descends on a sleigh on an ice track

Eight sports will be funded across three funding streams; World Class Programme (WCP), Sport Progression and National Squads, with an investment of £24.2 million allocated to support UK Sport’s ambition to become an ever greater force in winter sport.

The increase from six sports for the Beijing cycle to eight reflects UK Sport’s ambition to power a broader range of sports and champions who reflect the diversity of British society.

British Curling and GB Snowsport both receive WCP funding for their Olympic and Paralympic programmes while, in recognition of their future potential, Bobsleigh will join them in benefitting from WCP funding.

Among the Sport Progression stream, investment into British Ice Skating and Ice Hockey UK marks the start of a programme of support in the long-term potential of these sports.

In total, six sports are in line to receive Sport Progression funding to enhance their domestic winter sport pathway infrastructure.

This funding stream will be delivered in partnership with sportscotland and Sport England, with the long-term aim of growing a more accessible and sustainable pathway of support that enables more high-potential athletes to emerge.

The National Squads investment stream is introduced for winter sport to help ensure the most promising athletes can attend major championship competition and Games qualification events.

The continued support provided by Government and The National Lottery enables UK Sport to look to the athletes of the future who are targeting success at Milan-Cortina and beyond.

In addition to the £24.2million being invested into sports, £5 million from The National Lottery will support athletes with their living and sporting costs via Athlete Performance Awards.

The total investment figure and a number of sports may rise further as UK Sport remains in active conversation with Skeleton regarding a potential investment of £4.8million.

All investments announced today are in principle and subject to the contracting phase of the investment process. The Milan-Cortina cycle formally starts on 1st October 2022.

Sally Munday, CEO of UK Sport, said: “Our investment for the Milan-Cortina cycle aims to harness a broad talent pool which reflects the diversity of British society.

I believe there is a sport for everyone and one strength of our Winter Olympic and Paralympic sports is that they can engage a broad fan and participation base.

Winter sport boasts everything from the precision and strategy of curling right through to the adrenaline-fuelled freestyle snow sports.

“This investment would not be possible without the ongoing funding from the Government and The National Lottery, enabling British athletes access the world-class training and support they need to succeed on the world stage.

The eight funded sports are set to reap the benefits of this vital investment at Olympic and Paralympic level, whilst also providing the athletes with the platform to inspire future generations.”

Dr Kate Baker, Director of Performance at UK Sport, said: “These investments illustrate UK Sport’s strategic ambition to win and win well in Milan-Cortina, while also helping sports to develop the capacity to deliver success in the long term.

We believe this is imperative to the continued growth and progression of these sports and our aim to become an ever greater force in winter sport.

”After two editions of the Winter Games in Asia, it’s exciting for our athletes to build towards an Olympic and Paralympic Games so close to home. This also offers a super opportunity for the British public to see the talent of our winter athletes up close.”

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “Together with our National Lottery partners we are increasing investment in our winter Olympians and Paralympians and there is now almost £30 million available to give them every chance of medal success in 2026. 

“I’m pleased to see UK Sport will use the extra funding to broaden the range of sports it supports and give more athletes the support they need to succeed on the biggest global stage.”

“British Curling welcomes UK Sport’s announcement regarding our support for the 2026 Milan-Cortina Olympic and Paralympic cycle,” said British Curling’s Executive Performance Director Nigel Holl.

“Our evolution through the Beijing cycle saw significant positive changes across the business, the approach to training, selection and event preparation, and it was tremendously satisfying to see that pay off in Beijing with two fabulous medals.

We know we can further drive those approaches and continue to learn and evolve to ensure greater success in Milan Cortina. Beijing was satisfying, but there are five medals on offer in 2026, and we aspire to be competitive in all those events.

This investment decision gives us the resources to challenge across those five disciplines and tough though that will be, with the superb athletes, staff and partnerships we have, it’s ‘game on’.”

Ice Hockey UK Chair, Clifton Wrottesley, said: “To have UK Sport partner with Ice Hockey UK and for UK Sport to have the confidence to invest into ice hockey’s performance programmes in the UK, speaks volumes for the potential of our sport in this country. We have flown below the radar for far too long.

“Although we have much of the necessary infrastructure and facilities in place already in the UK, we hope to build on our relationships with all of our partners in ice hockey so that we can direct this investment into the areas we have identified with UK Sport as having the best potential over the Milan-Cortina Olympic cycle, then to 2030 and beyond.

“I would like to formally thank the UK government and The National Lottery for their long-term and unwavering support of sport in the UK. Without their investment into sport in this country, we would not see the sustained success that we’ve all witnessed over the past couple of decades.  

“Our elite athletes inspire us all to engage in sport, either supporting our national teams, or to actually take up and participate in sport, both of which are fundamental to our national identity and so beneficial to our personal wellbeing.

“Thanks again to everyone involved in this process, not least everyone who volunteers their time to make the Great Britain Performance Programme what it is; to my fellow Ice Hockey UK board members who have committed fully to this process over the past 18 months or so and, of course, to the team at UK Sport that have been so instrumental in helping us through to this result.”