GB Snowsport is the National Governing body of Snowsports in the UK. Supporting the World Class Programme athletes reach World Cup podiums and win Olympic and Paralympic medals.
My Target for GB Snowsport – Top 5 in the World
When I arrived at GB Snowsport nearly three years ago, I had ambitious targets – to become a top five nation in the Winter Games by 2030 and to merge with Paralympic sports under a rebranded organisation.
The journey to deliver GB Snowsport as a top five nation will not be easy – it will require strength in depth and alignment with our key performance goals of athletes first, performance, culture, innovation, partnerships, engagement and underpinned by our desire to be the most sustainable NGB and protect our winters and mountain facilities for generations to come.
These pillars are powerful individually, but they become even more potent when harnessed together and I am sure that this will allow us to emulate the success of governing bodies such as British Swimming, Cycling and Rowing in the winter sports world.
This is a unique approach for GB Snowsport but we certainly believe that we have the right ingredients to take British snow sports to never before reached heights but to do what we need to keep our athletes healthy, fit and, especially, focused at the right time.
The merger with the Paralympic snow sports has opened a wealth of opportunity. GBS are now accountable for 98% of all medals available at a Paralympic Games and 50% for an Olympic Games. This gives us the largest medal responsibility across all summer and winter Olympic and Paralympic NGBs.
For some, this could be incredibly daunting; however we will operate within a rapidly growing NGB with a superb leadership team and although we remain a relatively small NGB, our capacity, innovation and performance achievements have surpassed what was thought possible in the last couple of years.
The Paralympic disciplines have joined an organisation that puts athletes first; that wants the success as much as the athletes do, but will also ensure that the journey to get to the podium is the best and most fulfilling it can possibly be.
We have seen in the Paralympic programmes that our athletes and staff are stepping up and embracing change, supporting each other through it. They have surpassed every target set, winning more medals and achieving more top 10 performances in more events across more classifications than ever before.
There have been some bumps on the road, but we have created a culture that accepts this and allows us to learn. Why has this worked? I would put it down to an immense level of commitment across all athletes and staff. We don’t stop asking why, and we don’t stop until we understand and move forwards. I must also highlight the importance of the wider snowsports community and how a joined up approach, from pathway to the World Class Programmes, can help the wider sport develop together and help us reach our potential as a nation.
I think for our whole organisation the biggest development has been around increasing our performance focus and reducing our results focus. For some this is a very subtle difference, this has allowed a higher level of accountability across athletes and staff, but also provided a stronger support network.
We have built the coaching team, have brought on critical individuals within some key performance areas, and have strengthened the SSSM provision to help us strive towards being one of the best ‘off snow’ nations – GB Snowsport have the capability to be exceptional, but we also need to make sure that we are sustainable.
We need to use the change of the last two years to ensure we provide some balance and structure. We want to increase the size and depth of our programmes, to ensure we can be more medal competitive across more events and classifications.
Last season has been one built on extremes; the lows of cancelled GB Alpine Championships and World Cup finals, injuries and the overwhelming personal and professional impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
But there have also been some massive highs; the first Dew Tour medals (and a gold to boot!), first Para SB Crystal Globe and first Snowboard Crystal Globe, Youth Olympic medals and the unprecedented leap in Para Nordic performances to name but a few.
The opportunity for cross over is immense, and the transition of skills between squads is enormous. All squads can learn from each other, and I think that this is just another way to help us strive towards our vision of being a top five nation by 2030.
This season has shown what we can do when the situation is so tough. I can only be excited as we head for Beijing 2022. I assure you all – the future is exciting; and we will work to our limit, straining every sinew to fulfil our promise and put more medals on more athletes than ever before.