Tokyo 2020: Olympic and Paralympic sports to learn of funding decision for next cycle

Team GB

Of the 366 athletes that went to the Rio Olympic Games for Team GB, 130 of them returned with a medal

Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic sports will find out at 14:00 GMT on Friday how much funding they will receive from UK Sport for the 2020 Games in Tokyo.

A record £347m was made available for the last four-year cycle, with Paralympic sports receiving a 43% rise.

The result was an unprecedented level of success for GB’s teams at the Rio Games with the Olympics team winning 67 medals and the Paralympics squad 147.

Funds are raised via the National Lottery and taxation.

Sports minister Tracey Crouch has written to parliament to say any “uncertainty” around future funding amid a decline in the number of National Lottery players will be offset by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

“UK Sport may need to make decisions based on conservative assumptions of Lottery income,” she added.

“This could impact the number of sports and the number of athletes that could be supported between now and the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.

“The department will provide additional funding to allow Team GB and ParalympicsGB to be properly supported in Tokyo.”

Who got what for Rio 2016?


Rowing received £32.6m in the last cycle, with Helen Glover (left) and Heather Stanning going on to win gold in Rio

With the £274.5m of National Lottery money allocated to Olympic sports came a comprehensive list of medal targets from UK Sport.

The body has said its decisions are not based solely on past performances, rather realistic medal opportunities in Tokyo, however rowing was rewarded for a successful London 2012 with the highest funding from the last cycle at £32.6m.

But despite winning three golds and two silver medals, rowing fell one short of its minimum medal target of six for Rio 2016.

It was one of only two sports that failed to live up to expectations, with GB’s modern pentathletes failing to win a medal after being set a minimum target of one.

Cycling was the second-highest funded sport following London with £30.6m, and it exceeded UK Sport’s goals for Rio by winning 12 medals – six of them gold – to beat the maximum target of 10 it was set.

ParalympicsGB was challenged by UK Sport to win one medal more than the 120 it collected in London, and far surpassed that goal in Rio.

Athletics was the biggest beneficiary in the Paralympic sports with their funding increased by more than £4m last time, while swimming and cycling were also boosted following London 2012.

A DCMS spokesperson added: “Our athletes made the nation proud in Rio with incredible performances that led to Team GB and ParalympicsGB finishing second in the medal tables.

“Our approach to elite sport is world class and we are committed to keeping up this momentum and supporting our athletes all the way to Tokyo.

“That is why it is our intention to underwrite lottery funding for UK Sport to ensure levels of investment are maintained in the run up to the Games in 2020.”

How does funding affect performance?


From just £5m per year before Atlanta in 1996 (where Team GB won one gold among 15 medals), UK Sport’s Olympic spending rose to £54m by Sydney 2000, where Britain won 28 medals (11 gold) to leap to 10th on the medal table.

By the time of London 2012 – where Britain came third in the medal table with 65 medals – that had climbed to £264m. Between 2013 and 2017, almost £350m in public funds will have been spent on Olympic and Paralympic sports.

Gymnastics, given nothing at all before Atlanta, received £5.9m for Sydney and £14.6m in the last cycle. In Rio, Max Whitlock became Britain’s first Olympic champion, winning two gold medals; his team-mates delivered another silver and three bronzes.

However, the British men’s and women’s handball teams, who finished last in their groups in 2012, had their £2.92m funding to support elite athletes cut completely.

Sporting governing bodies have also been warned by UK Sport and Sport England they must bring in more women or lose public funding.

Under the new ‘Code for Sports Governance’, organisations must adhere to “gold standards” of transparency, accountability and financial integrity.

The code sets out a target of at least 30% gender diversity on boards.

The new code applies to governing bodies who ask for UK government and National Lottery funding from April 2017.