Mark England wants his team to shine in the sun this Commonwealth Games

·4-min read
Mark England wants his team to shine in the sun this Commonwealth Games

Mark England is urging his team to recreate the storied spirit of London 2012 at this summer’s Commonwealth Games.

England, one of Britain’s most experienced sports administrators, has been involved in high-performance sport for close to four decades and will now lead Team England as Chef de Mission at Birmingham 2022.

The multi-sport bonanza kicks off in the West Midlands this week and England, who led Team GB as Chef de Mission at the Rio and Tokyo Olympic Games and will do the same at Paris 2024, believes his latest cohort of athletes have a golden opportunity to shine.

England, speaking on the latest episode of the SportsAid Vault Podcast - ‘Games Time’ - alongside Team England’s Boxing Team Leader Darren Chapple, said: "The spotlight will be on all of the athletes and it is our time to shine in the sun. It's absolutely our time.

"The one defining piece for this team is that they have a great, great opportunity – ten years almost to the day was the London Olympics, the last big multi-sport games in this country.

"So a decade later, it’s an opportunity for these athletes to do it again.

"The thirst for the British public and the English public to support a home Games is just extraordinary. Can we do it on the big stage? Can we top the medal table? I certainly believe we can."

Each episode of the SportsAid Vault Podcast provides listeners with unique insight ahead of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games alongside special guests, as Team England get set to impress on home soil.

The second series of the podcast, hosted by Tom Gayle, BBC sports presenter, commentator and reporter, is inspired by the Team England Futures programme, being delivered by SportsAid on behalf of Commonwealth Games England and Sport England, and seeing over 1,000 talented young athletes and aspiring support staff attend Birmingham 2022.

The programme aims to give the next generation of athletes a first-hand look behind-the-scenes, experiencing a major Games in the flesh and better preparing them for future multi-sport competitions – as well as planning to help aspiring support staff understand what opportunities they could be presented with at a major Games and the challenges they may face.

England, Director of Sport Services at the British Olympic Association and awarded an OBE in 2016 for Services to Olympic Sport, has a rich history of spearheading teams at multi-sports events and will now bring his extensive knowledge to his maiden Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

And England revealed that he believes there are many ways to deliver a successful Games – and that doesn’t just come from the medal count.

He added: "In one respect it’s the performance outcome – the medal return – and I think we can all confidently sit here and say Team England will be in top two.

“But is that the only measure of success? No. What are the athletes saying about the team? What are they saying about Birmingham? What are they saying about the competition?

“In many respects that drives towards the culture of the team and drives to how we support each other. How are we - as a home nation - hosting?

“For us to support Birmingham as a city and put them on the global stage. For us to support the Organising Committee. To create a very strong Commonwealth Games future.

“All of those are important to me and measures of success but I don’t think we can get away from – and nor should we get away from – the performance outcome and my aspiration and hope is for Team England to do exceptionally well.”

England also noted how vital the environment he helps create will be in providing a medal winning team that enjoys their experience - whether they are an athlete, support staff or aspiring personnel.

His appearance on the SportsAid Vault Podcast saw him go into detail on the most important aspects of his role and the identity and values Team England wishes to instil.

"It's about creating the right culture. It's creating the right preparation, pre-Games preparation,” he added.

"You're creating this one team, which I personally believe is a huge, huge performance advantage.

"And if you get the culture right, I always say the medal table will look after itself and history would back that up.

"It’s a real privilege and pleasure to be on this particular podcast because it allows me the opportunity to reinforce some key important messages around the culture of the team and around what we're trying to achieve in Birmingham."

The SportsAid Vault Podcast is live and available to listen to now on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and Acast! You can find out more about Team England Futures by visiting https://www.sportsaid.org.uk/partnerships/team-england-futures/.

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