Sutcliffe calls for golden return on government investment

Britain's Minister for Sport is not alone in expecting success from the best prepared Olympic team ever to leave these islands, writes Paul Newman

Gerry Sutcliffe, the Minister for Sport, talked yesterday about the need for Britain's Olympians to provide a return on the £500m invested in them. Perhaps he had noticed that it was exactly 100 years ago that the country finished an Olympics with its record medals haul and at minimal cost.

Britain won 146 medals, including 56 golds, at the 1908 Olympics, which were held in London after Rome pulled out following an explosion of Mount Vesuvius. It helped that entries were thin – five of the six competitors in the motorboating were British and there were no overseas competitors whatsoever in the rackets tournament – but the return was still good value. The budget for the Games was just £20,000, of which a third was spent on banquets.

A century later the British Olympic Association is refusing to set a medals target, but officials know that questions will be asked if its team does not deliver. UK Sport, which distributes Lottery funding to elite performers, told the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, which scrutinises Government spending, that it expects 35 medals and an eighth-place finish in the table.

That would be a significant improvement on the 30 medals and 10th place in Athens four years ago, but Sutcliffe believes it is a reasonable target, given the unprecedented levels of funding that have ensured Britain is sending its best prepared team ever.

"If you look at it from public finance, we've put £500m into elite sports and what we've got to try and do is make sure there's a recovery of that in terms of the outcomes," the minister said. "It wasn't a target that we put to UK Sport. UK Sport themselves decided that's what we should expect from the amount of investment that's gone in.

"I think people have recognised the amount of investment that has gone into sport over the last 10 years, but they will certainly measure that by outcomes and that's why these Games will be important because we've handed the opportunity to give the athletes time to train."

Simon Clegg, the BOA's chef de mission, said here yesterday at the British team's pre-Olympic launch that he expected "an extremely successful Games". Colin Moynihan, the chairman, said he would be looking to the team to improve on Athens, given that they were "better prepared, better financed and better resourced than ever".

Dave Brailsford, British Cycling's performance director, stressed that he had not set a medals target for his riders but added: "We have to move forward. We have a well-financed and well-organised elite system and we have to look at improving. I would think it unacceptable if we didn't move forward."

Led by cycling, sailing and rowing, which have provided the backbone of success at the last two Olympics, the British team are being tipped in some quarters to enjoy their best Games for 100 years. The biggest haul since London in 1908 came 12 years later at Antwerp, where Britain won 43 medals.

This year's British team comprises 313 athletes in 20 of the 28 sports (there are no entries in table tennis, wrestling, football, basketball, volleyball, handball, softball or baseball), a 15 per cent increase on Athens.

Most will stay in the athletes' village, which Clegg described as the best he had seen. "It's an amazing Olympic village and certainly raises the bar for future organising committees," he said.

Each arriving Briton attends a welcoming presentation, which includes a motivational film. "We remind them that they are joining a very exclusive club," Clegg said. "Since the modern Games began only 6,519 people have represented Great Britain. Money can't buy a place in it."

The BOA is also bringing over 160 youngsters representing some of Britain's best medal hopes for 2012. Its Olympic Ambition Programme has attracted the interest of other countries and Chicago is already looking at a similar scheme as part of its bid to host the 2016 Games. "If you can bring these young hopefuls here and allow them to become immersed in the Games and see what it takes to win medals, then I think that will be very helpful for them in the future," Clegg said.

Moynihan said that other countries were looking to follow Britain's stance on drugs, with Dwain Chambers the latest victim of the BOA's policy of lifetime Olympic bans on drugs cheats. "We have to be ahead of the game," he said. "The challenge is to make sure there is more competition between athletes than between chemists' laboratories."

Brailsford welcomed more rigorous drug testing and said the best news in cycling was that a new generation of riders was determined to keep the sport clean. "They are looking out and pointing their fingers at people who may be doping," he said. "That's quite a shift from decades ago."

l Beth Tweddle will not take part in the vault and beam gymnastics competitions because of a rib injury. However, the 2006 world asymmetric bars champion said she would compete in the floor exercise and bars, her two strongest events.

61 reasons to be cheerful? Our optimistic guide to British medal chances

How many medals will Great Britain win in Beijing? Despite the somewhat pessimistic air that has surrounded the team in the build-up to the Games, Nick Harris predicts an uplifting two weeks for British sport

16 GOLDS

Phillips Idowu (athletics, triple jump)

Christine Ohuruogu (athletics, 400m)

Shanaze Reade (cycling, BMX)

Bradley Wiggins (track cycling, individual pursuit)

Men's team pursuit (track cycling)

Victoria Pendleton (track cycling, sprint)

Chris Hoy (track cycling, keirin)

Ben Ainslie (sailing, Finn)

Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson (sailing, Yngling)

David Price (boxing, super-heavyweight)

Craig Fallon (judo, 60kg)

Tim Brabants (canoeing, K1 1,000m)

Men's four (rowing)

Women's quad sculls (rowing)

Lightweight men's double sculls (rowing)

Heather Fell (modern pentathlon)

17 SILVERS

Women's 4x400m relay

(athletics)

Rebecca Romero (below, track cycling, individual sprint)

Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes (sailing, 49er)

Paul Goodison (sailing, Laser)

Euan Burton (judo, 81kg)

Aaron Cook (tae kwon do)

Frankie Gavin (boxing, lightweight)

Anna Hemmings and Jess Walker (canoeing, K2, 500m)

Rebecca Adlington (swimming, 800m freestyle)

Cassie Patten (swimming, 10k open water)

Tom Daley and Blake Aldridge (diving, 10m synchro)

Men's double sculls (rowing)

David Davies (swimming, 10k open water)

Tim Don (triathlon)

Men's team (archery)

Three day eventing team competition (equestrianism)

Mark King (equestrianism, three-day eventing)

26 BRONZES

Kelly Sotherton (athletics, heptathlon)

Greg Rutherford (athletics, long jump)

Chris Hoy (track cycling, sprint)

Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins (track cycling, madison)

Men's team sprint (track cycling)

Emma Pooley (road race cycling)

Andy Murray (tennis, men's singles)

Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield (sailing, 470)

Bradley Saunders (boxing, welterweight)

Billy-Joe Saunders (boxing, light-welterweight)

Karina Bryant (judo, heavyweight)

Sarah Stevenson (right, tae kwon do)

Beth Tweddle (gymnastics, uneven bars)

Louis Smith (gymnastics, pommel horse)

Campbell Walsh (canoeing, K1 slalom)

Rebecca Adlington (swimming, 400m freestyle)

David Davies (swimming, 1,500m freestyle)

Gemma Lowe (swimming, 200m butterfly)

Hannah Miley (swimming, 400m IM)

4 x 200m freestyle relay (swimming, women)

Richards Faulds (shooting, double trap)

Alan Wills (archery, individual)

Women's team event (archery)

Anthony Clark and Donna Kellogg (badminton, mixed doubles)

Showjumping team event (equestrianism)

Katy Livingston (modern pentathlon)

Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth GamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Sport
Karen Dunbar performs
Entertainers showcase local wit, talent and irrepressible spirit
Sport
Members of the Scotland deleagtion walk past during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game