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"We saw in 2012 how sporting events can create these really unique


moments of communal celebration. They bring people together, within local communities and as a nation, in a way that not many other things can"


They bring people together, both within local communities and as a nation, in a way that not many other things can. “It’s important that we invest into the country’s soul as well as its body.”


CONFIDENCE BOOST The success of the Olympic and Paralym- pic Games has shifted perceptions of the UK hugely, says Morton, with inter- national federations of sport very keen to return. Of course, it hasn’t always been this way. “If you cast your mind back to the


mid- to late-1990s, in pretty much all components of international sport there was a feeling that GB was a bit lacking,” he says. “If you think about where we were


in performance terms after the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta with just one gold medal, where we were in major events terms with issues like Pickett’s Lock [when London had to hand back the 2005 World Athletics Champion- ships after government funding for the Pickett’s Lock stadium was pulled] – in- ternationally our stock was falling. That has picked up since the early 2000s. We were making good ground, but the Olympics has given us a massive push. The UK’s global competitiveness is so high at the moment in terms of bidding for sporting events.”


Issue 1 2013 © cybertrek 2013 Attracting major events to the UK is


a complex business. As part of the Gold Event Series, UK Sport and DCMS have identified 14 key areas in which they can help governing bodies – seven relate to bidding for major sporting events, and seven are about help in staging the events themselves. “We tried to think about everything


the governing bodies could need, in terms of support from the government,” says Morton. “We support the feasibility studies of major sporting events, we do a lot of work around bid advice, either from within our team or by bringing in external consultants. We finance the bids and work closely with DCMS to en- sure that there is good political support. “In terms of support for the events


themselves, the main one is that we will invest National Lottery funding into staging them. We have also just launched a centralised equipment pro- gramme, making generic pieces of big event staging equipment available to events being supported via UK sport. “We also have programmes around


knowledge transfer and we have a research programme to help research bodies to help measure the impact of events they put on. It’s a holistic set of programmes we are wrapping around governing bodies to ensure they are ex- ceptionally well supported.”


KEEPING UP THE MOMENTUM The next year looks like being another busy one for Morton and his team. “We’ll be working on the rollout of


the Gold Event Series, getting the mes- sage out about this great package of events,” he says. “That’s a big task. We’re also working on a number of live bids and we’ll be doing some feasibil- ity work on other world championships that might be launched this year.” They will also be working systemati-


cally with national governing bodies to build their influence within internation- al sport. “We’ll be working with them over the next six months on their four year strategies, which will set out how they want to present themselves inter- nationally,” says Morton. The government has announced plans


to scrap the merger UK Sport and Sport England – although Morton will only say that the DCMS is currently considering the options, and UK Sport is awaiting DCMS’s conclusions. “It would be wrong for me to pre-empt that process,” he says. “We’re just focused on delivery.” It’s clear that Morton genuinely be-


lieves in the power of sport. When I ask what drives him, he doesn’t hesitate.


“There are very few things that bring na- tions together like big sporting events do,” he says. “It’s incredibly motivating and I’m very privileged.” l


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