The biggest multi-sport talent identification campaign in British history, #DiscoverYourGold, has today been re-launched at Lee Valley Ice Centre and aims to identify talented young athletes who have the potential to become future champions.
Targeting 15-24-year-olds, #DiscoverYourGold is a partnership between UK Sport, the English Institute of Sport (EIS), and a range of National Governing Bodies and provides gifted youngsters the chance to be fast-tracked into the exciting world of high performance sport.
Previous campaigns have already produced remarkable results with Sochi 2014 skeleton gold medallist Lizzy Yarnold, Olympic rowing champion Helen Glover, taekwondo Olympic bronze medallist Lutalo Muhammad and Paralympic athletics champion Joanna Butterfield all discovered through previous talent ID campaigns.
This time around, the Winter Olympic sports of Short Track Speed Skating, Skeleton and the Summer Olympic sports of Rugby 7s, Track Cycling and Rowing and a wide-range of Paralympic sports are all looking to recruit talented youngsters.
UK Sport Director of Performance Chelsea Warr, who pioneered the talent identification process back in 2005, said of this year’s campaign: “#DiscoverYourGold is all about ensuring young people with sporting talent get the opportunity to reach their full potential no matter what their background.
“We are looking for athletes with raw endurance, speed or power who might not currently be in the best sport for them. With access to the right training and support, we aim to help them fulfil their potential and maybe one day to become future Olympic and Paralympic medallists.”
EIS Chairman John Steele attended the event and said: “At the EIS we have to combine our work in helping prepare athletes and supporting sports today, with longer term planning and talent development to ensure success in future competition. Talent Campaigns over the last ten years have been a major tool in creating Olympic and Paralympic success.
“The Discover Your Gold campaign has already had fantastic results and has given opportunities to many young talented athletes that they could previously only have dreamt of. This latest drive will build on that success and offer young people the chance to be part of a world class sporting system that will challenge them to be the best they can be, and create life experiences they will never forget.”
Since 2007, the UK Sport Talent Team has worked in partnership with 22 Olympic and Paralympic sports and more than 100 world class coaches, run 13 national athlete recruitment campaigns, and assessed more than 10,000 athletes.
These projects have resulted in more than 100 newly identified athletes entering the National Lottery-funded high performance system with more than 600 international appearances made and more than 250 international medals won.
Dame Katherine Grainger, Britain’s most successful female Olympian and UK Sport Chair said: “I have rowed and competed with graduates of similar schemes so I know first-hand what talent ID campaigns can produce.
“#DiscoverYourGold is a fantastic campaign that should help us retain our position as one of the powerhouses of Olympic and Paralympic sport.”
Sochi 2014 Skeleton gold medallist Lizzy Yarnold, who graduated from a previous #DiscoverYour campaign said: “This is a genuine and proven way of finding future Olympic and World Champions.
“All I would say is give it a go. I never imagined ten years ago that I’d be where I am today and it wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t taken a chance.”
Vicky Thornley, who graduated from the UK Sport Talent ID programme “Sporting Giants” in 2007 before going on to win a silver at Rio 2016 alongside Dame Katherine Grainger, said: “I’m delighted to be able to help re-launch this year’s #DiscoverYourGold and excited to see what this campaign can produce.
“I’ve come a long way since 2007, culminating in achieving my dream of winning an Olympic medal at Rio 2016. I gave it a go, and if you think you have what it takes, I’d urge you to do the same!”
If you think you have what it takes to be a future champion, click here for further details and to sign up.