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The soaring cost of success on the slopes

Monday, February 10, 2014 - 02:31

Feb.10 - As the UK wins its first ever Olympic medal on the snow, Ciara Sutton asks one of the key figures behind sponsorship of the British Alpine Ski Team, property millionaire Sir John Ritblat, why he chooses to back the sport and the challenges involved in raising funding.

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The UK's first ever Olympic medal on snow - Jenny Jones's slopestyle snowboarding bronze medal. The Bristollian worked as a chalet girl before turning professional, and is funded through the UK's National Lottery scheme. Could this historic win be the start of something big for Britain? (SOUNDBITE) (English) UK SLOPESTYLE SNOWBOARDING BRONZE MEDALIST, JENNY JONES, SAYING: "I absolutely did not think I would ever be in this position back then when I was a chalet maid. I was cooking breakfasts, cleaning toilets and, yeah, I was having a great time, I was snowboarding every day and that was amazing. It was just about snowboarding. In the beginning it's always about snowboarding, isn't it? Just enjoying your sport." In 2010 the governing body British Snowsports, was placed into administration, and British Olympic chiefs were forced to step in. A new organisation was formed, British Ski and Snowboard - with the backing of property investment advisor Delancey and Sir John and Jamie Ritblat. Delancey is now extending its sponsorship of the Alpine Ski Team to include Snowboard, Freestyle and Cross Country. Chairman of Delancey's Advisory Board, and President of British Ski and Snowboard, Sir John Ritblat. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SIR JOHN RITBLAT, SAYING: "We need to generate support and interest, not just when we have the odd world championship or when we have Olympics. We need to have it on a sustained basis. But to do that we have to have sustained funding. It begins and ends with the funding. It's a major investment." Team GB is targeting its best Winter Olympic since 1936 in Sochi, setting a minimum goal of three medals. And Delancey says it's backing won't end there. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SIR JOHN RITBLAT, SAYING: "I think the Ritblats and Delancey, and previously British land to an extent, have been synonymous with British skiing. And we've put in so much that to lose the benefit of such experience as we have and our familiarity with the sport would be a great shame, for what is relatively one of the smaller investments we might make." Experts say the correlation between finance and medals can't be ignored. Delancey will need to set its sights firmly beyond the slopes of Sochi, for a smooth run towards the 2018 Games in Korea.

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The soaring cost of success on the slopes

Monday, February 10, 2014 - 02:31