British Olympians for hire as BOA look to raise cash for Tokyo 2020

Ben Rumsby
A number of British Olympians, including Max Whitlock, will be offering their services to the public - Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistribu

Members of the public are to be offered the chance to train alongside some of Great Britain’s Olympic champions under plans being drawn up by the British Olympic Association and one of the country’s leading talent agencies.

Telegraph Sport can reveal the BOA has been working with Sports Sphere, which represents the likes of Max Whitlock, Ed Clancy and Sarah Ayton, on a commercial venture known as ‘Train With Team GB’ that is set to be unveiled next month.

Those wanting to train alongside their heroes will have to pay for the privilege, with any proceeds divided between the athletes in question and the BOA, which needs to raise money to fund the spiralling cost of taking a team to an Olympic Games.

The exact price of what will be marketed as ‘experience’ events better suited to enthusiastic amateurs than absolute novices  and the time that will secure  has yet to be finalised and could vary but is not expected to exceed low three figures.

The venture, which is also intended to boost the profile of Olympic sport outside of Games time, is likely to be launched using only a handful of current or retired athletes before being rolled out nationwide.

A website, www.trainnwithteamgb.com, has been created for people to register their interest although it will not go live until next month and currently redirects to the BOA’s homepage.

Jazz Carlin may be offering help in the poll if the venture goes ahead Credit: Getty Images

Sports Sphere boasts one of the biggest rosters of British summer and winter Olympic stars, including Beth Tweddle, Andrew Triggs-Hodge, Jazz Carlin, Philip Hindes, Lutalo Mohammad, Liam Heath, Chemmy Alcott, Goldie Sayers and James Woods.

Confirming an announcement on the venture was imminent, a BOA spokesman said: “As an entirely independently-funded organisation, we are always looking at new initiatives to help fund taking athletes to the Olympic Games.

“One such initiative in the planning is offering members of the public the chance to train alongside Olympians past and present and we hope to announce further details of this in the near future.”

The venture will be launched as Britain targets its most successful modern Summer and Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo 2020 and PyeongChang 2018.

Closing the World Class Performance Conference in Manchester  on Wednesday, UK Sport director of performance Chelsea Warr revealed new figures showing British athletes had collectively won more major medals in 2017 than the equivalent years in the run up to London 2012 (2009) and Rio 2016 (2013).

The UK's greatest ever sportsperson

Speaking to high performance sport leaders, coaches and practitioners at the conference, Warr acknowledged the high-performance system had rightly “been questioned like never before” on issues of culture and integrity and that it had been an “uncomfortable for time for everyone”.

But she also promised a new system-wide culture health check and initiatives to further improve athlete welfare would help to “deliver even more medals and medallists to inspire the nation in PyeongChang, Tokyo and beyond”, adding: “You and your athletes have had an unbelievably successful year, in fact you have made history once again compared to year one of any Olympic and Paralympic cycle to date.

“Not a single sport missed its milestone target this year. Furthermore, a higher percentage of sports have not only met, but exceeded their milestone target in this year of the cycle than ever before.

“These are the facts. With your continued world-class support, your athletes can be confident that they are on track to do something extraordinarily inspirational for the nation again.”

In total, 90 per cent of summer sports either achieved (48 per cent) or exceeded (42 per cent) their milestone targets for the year, with six per cent judged to have partially achieved them and three per cent yet to be confirmed.

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