UK Sport boss: Team GB won’t just be counting medals at Tokyo Olympics

The British team has become something of a medal factory in recent Olympics, often with a win-at-all-costs mentality.

But UK Sport, which funds Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes through the National Lottery, has shifted that approach under Munday.

Athlete welfare has been put at the forefront, while the usual individual medal targets for each sport have not been publicised in response to the level of uncertainty around Covid.

Ahead of the first official day of competition on Saturday, Munday said: “Success is not just about counting medals, it’s about our athletes reaching Tokyo and getting them home again safely.

“It’s enabling them to achieve their dreams… but also about British athletes bringing us together and being a source of pride.”

Britain finished a surprise second place in the medal table at the last Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, behind the United States.

Five years on in Japan, their goal has diminished to a top-five finish and a wide-ranging medal target of between 45 and 70.

But Munday said: “There will be plenty of medal moments and we’re not shying away from our desire to keep winning medals. We want to be in the top five [on the medal table] consistently. We have the capability and talent to do that.”

UK Sport’s boss is also keen for a more diverse team in the future. Already in Tokyo, the British team has more women competing than men for the first time but she is pushing for diversity in terms of ethnicity in the team as well as diversity in the sports in which Team GB win medals.

“We want our team to reflect a society that it exists in,” Munday added. “We think sport can have a massive impact and a more diverse team can have an even greater impact.”

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