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UK Sport targets three British Winter Olympic medals

Murdoch's curling team are the current world champions
Murdoch's curling team are the current world champions

Britain are confident that they will have their most successful Winter Olympics for seven decades by aiming to win three medals in Vancouver.

Funding body UK Sport believes the target is achievable after investing £6.5m over the four-year cycle leading up to February's Games.

Britain are the current world champions in men's curling and women's bobsleigh.

Sole 2006 medallist Shelley Rudman is also in form, finishing the skeleton World Cup season second-placed overall.

And the British short-track speed skating squad have just returned from the European Championships with two silvers and a bronze.

Britain won a gold, silver and bronze in the 1936 Games held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany, in ice hockey, figure skating and four-man bobsleigh.

Britain's most successful Winter Olympics was in 1924 when four medals were won in curling (gold), four-man bobsleigh (silver) and bronze in figure skating and ice hockey.

606: DEBATE

John Steele, UK Sport's Chief Executive, said: "The Games in Vancouver are going to be hugely competitive, and our overall medal target is without doubt challenging.

"However, the investments made over the past four years put the sports and athletes in an excellent position to deliver.

"We have a number of genuine world-class performers as highlighted by successes achieved in World Championships and World Cups over the past four years.

"The challenge now of course is to make it count at the Games - there are never any guarantees at this level, but I am confident our sports and athletes can succeed."

David Murdoch's video profile

UK Sport's main investment over the past four years has been in bob skeleton where £2.1m was directed.

In 2008 it paid dividends as Kristan Bromley became the first man in the history in the sport to win the World Championship, European Championship and World Cup titles in the same year.

Curling also saw significant funding (£1.1m) and the men's team, representing Scotland, won the world title in April 2009.

Short-track speed skating is now reaping the benefits of the £964,000 invested as the seven-strong squad aims to win a first medal since Nicky Gooch in 1994.

Almost £500,000 was given to bobsleigh and Nicola Minichiello and Gillian Cooke became the first British bobsleigh world champions since Anthony Nash and Robin Dixon in 1965.

Figure skating received £496,000 and Team GB is taking seven skaters to Vancouver with ice dance duo John and Sinead Kerr an outside chance of becoming Britain's first skating medallists since Torvill and Dean.

However skiing saw its funding slashed to £372,000 and with the governing body Snowsport GB struggling to stave off administration, the ski and snowboard teams have had their Olympic preparations hampered.

Sport Minister Gerry Sutcliffe added: "We may not yet have the strength in winter sports that we displayed in Athens and Beijing at the summer Olympics, but I am confident Vancouver can be an important step forward, delivering Britain's most successful performance for many decades."

The Winter Olympics take place between 12 and 28 February in Vancouver, Canada.



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see also
GB Olympic bosses to help skiers
05 Feb 10 |  Vancouver 2010
GB celebrate European medal haul
25 Jan 10 |  Vancouver 2010
Brit bobsleighers win World gold
22 Feb 09 |  Winter Sports
Britain's bobsleigh ice queens
02 Mar 09 |  Winter Sports
Murdoch expects GB curling medal
17 Dec 09 |  Vancouver 2010


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