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Tuesday, 26 February, 2002, 13:45 GMT

Team GB turns attention to Turin

British sports chiefs have begun their preparation for the next Winter Olympics - just 36 hours after the curtain came down on the Salt Lake City Games.

A series of meetings with Britain's Olympic team has already been arranged to plan for Turin in 2006.

Britain left Salt Lake City with three medals - one gold and two bronze - which was their best performance since 1936.

UK Sport, the body which distributes Lottery funds to Olympic and Paralympic sports, will hold meetings with participants over the next few weeks.

"It is vital that we learn where our support has helped our most talented athletes get on to the podium"
UK Sport chief executive Richard Callicott

UK Sport chief executive Richard Callicott said plans had been drawn up with the British Olympic Association (BOA) to examine what support should be provided over the next four years.

"We want to ensure that whatever the results, we learn the lessons from the outcomes of major sporting events," he said.

"The Olympic Games are the biggest stage on which our Lottery-funded athletes compete.

"It is vital that we learn where our support has helped our most talented athletes get on to the podium and, just as importantly, where it has failed to make that happen.

Specialist coaching

"The wash-up meetings allow us to have a frank and open debrief with those who were at the sharp end, together with the BOA and the sports governing bodies themselves.

"We want to learn as much about the Olympic experience as possible and the areas of support that can make a difference between a podium place and the also-rans."

The British women's curling team took gold in Salt Lake City, while skier Alain Baxter won bronze in the men's slalom and Alex Coomber secured another bronze in the women's skeleton.

"The good news is that the Salt Lake Games has again demonstrated that well-targeted use of Lottery funds can and does make a difference to our top sportsmen and women," added Callicott.

"Alex Coomber's medal is a testament to how sport has moved on in this country.

"Her sport benefs from Lottery funding and the specialist coaching that her governing body can buy in as a result."

Coomber was able to use a push-start track that has been installed at Bath University as part of the English Institute of Sport network.


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