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Sir Chris Hoy urges athlete welfare be considered an equal to Olympic success

Six-time Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy fears that concerns over athlete welfare could prevent success for Team GB in future Olympic Games.

2020 has seen a number of allegations made against the governing bodies of sports where Great Britain has been successful in previous Olympic Games, including the likes of British Gymnastics, where athletes have reported claims of abuse and in British Cycling, where there is said to be a "culture of fear".

With sport across the UK under the radar of not considering the care of its athletes, Sir Chris Hoy believes that athlete welfare needs to be considered alongside making world champions.

"I don’t see why we can’t look after our athletes, take care of their physical and mental health and also create champions," started Hoy, speaking to news organisation, The Scotsman.

"It’s a knee-jerk reaction to say we’re putting too much pressure on and chasing medals. That isn’t the problem.

“If you take your foot off the gas and not focus on getting the best out of athletes, other countries will and you’ll drop down the rankings.

"That’s the question, whether we’re happy for Britain going back to being 36th in the medal table as they were in Atlanta [at the 1996 Olympics]?

UK Sport, as well as the Olympic and Paralympic funding agency, are looking to shift the sport-by-sport funding priorities to a 12-year cycle as opposed to the current four-year cycle, to focus on the long-term strategy.

Hoy added: “You can still provide the necessary support for athletes, build resilience and help them shine as people. That’s what we should be focusing on, not pulling funding out."

Meanwhile, a poll from Japanese broadcaster NHK revealed that a majority of the countries citizens oppose holding the Olympics in 2021.

Only 27 per cent of respondents were in favour of the Games going ahead, with 32 per cent backing cancellation of the world-renowned event and 31 per cent favouring a further postponement.

Author: Jake Wilkin