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number of our website viewers have asked that we explain in more
depth, some of the background of the BBU and the reasons we emphasise
certain aspects of the sport. "Behind the BBU" will be an occasional
Dec 06 -
BEHIND THE BBU: "SPONSORS"
As part of the "BOA Better Business Partnership"
the leading long term savings provider
Skandia UK Group is
a now a BBU partner and sponsor. The Better Business
leading blue-chip companies with Olympic Governing Bodies of
Sport. The Army,
has long been a sponsor and supporter of their athletes and is one the
two BBU Gold Sponsors along with
Moynihan, Chairman of the British Olympic Association said on 14
if medals were not actually awarded yesterday in London, the BBU
scored a perfect Podium 1 - 2 - 3." Amidst the historic
setting of London's Reform Club he told an audience of
International sportsman, journalists, politicians, sports
administrators and coaches, and leaders of business and finance of
the BBU's success in becoming the first recipient of the new BOA
"Better Business Partnership.
"Under new President Colin Jackson CBE and the leadership of David
Cranston (BBU) and André Oszmann (Skandia UK Group),
together with the continued backing of the Army,
the door had been opened for all the other 34 Olympic sports to
join the Partnership. Monday 13th March 2006 was an important day
not just for Biathlon, but for all sport in the UK".
The importance of the support from Skandia & The Army can not be
underestimated. Without them there would not be a GBR Biathlon
team at the Olympic Winter Games, Vancouver 2010. Simple as that!
(See below "MONEY").
Dec 06 -
BEHIND THE BBU: "MONEY" (Update from Jan 06)
money is the root of all evil, it is also the root of most biathlon
success. No matter how talented and dedicated the athletes and
their support staff are, if the bank balance is poor, results will
tend to be much the same.
Since the 1998 Olympics the BBU has managed to “get along” on an
income of around £ 60,000 per year. This does not include
contributions from the athletes or their (Army) Units & family, or
some fluctuating and irregular income. The IBU effectively pays for 2
women and 3 men to compete at World Cups circuit, but not for their
travel or the extra man in the relay or any support staff. This £ 60
K has to pay for that and all the office and administrative
activities; the Waxman; on-snow training in Scandinavia; the Coach’s
expenses; travel to Meetings (BOA, IBU & UK Sport etc); Development
courses; professional and legal fees etc. The budget is presented
annually at the AGM in Ruhpolding and the audited accounts have to be
passed by the Members.
60 K is simply not enough to run a National Olympic sport properly.
With 4 times that amount we would have a very realistic chance of a
podium place at the Olympic Winter Games in 2014. Two or three times
that amount would almost certainly guarantee a return to the World Top
20 in one season. Why? Because the BBU could employ more coaching and
support staff; have a far more rigorous selection and training
procedure; provide a sensible amount of admin and back office support.
AFTER THE TURIN
OLYMPICS (FEBRUARY 2006), THE BBU INCOME FROM "CORE" OR UK SPORT
SOURCES WAS REDUCED TO £ 0 (ZERO)
This was due to the withdrawal of special funding from the
BOA / UK Sport “Olympic Solidarity Development Funding” (OSDF). The OSDF money
was cut from £ 22 K for Salt Lake City to £ 17.5 K for Turin. It was a
joint venture from the BOA and UK Sport which went to the 16 non
Lottery Funded Olympic Sports in the UK. Half way through the
UK Sport withdrew their share of the grant, and the BOA alone, and
generously, continued to fulfil the promise of support for Turin.
After Turin this grant has been spent on “deserving” summer sports for
London 2012. (Good luck to them; the ball is now in their court ...
Beach Volleyball … Handball … Softball …)
Non Lottery Funded
- “You must be joking?”, we hear you say. No, it is true. Unless a
sport has a genuine medal chance or huge TV profile, forget it – Sport
England has; they do not even recognise Biathlon as a sport (never
mind our Olympic presence at every Games since 1960!).
Given the vast reduction in income, it must be very doubtful whether
Biathlon will still be an International sport in Great Britain by
2012 unless we can maintain a working level of sponsorship.
An income of £ 10 K will just about cover unavoidable legal, medical
and professional fees; insurance; and some basic expenses of the
coach. It will not cover:
support staff (including the essential Waxman)
administrative or office costs
training and travel expenses
any Junior &
European Cup Team costs
BUT IT GETS WORSE ... See 05 Aug
MELTDOWN BY UK SPORT"
30 Dec 06
BEHIND THE BBU: "PEOPLE" (Update from Dec 05)
Athletes are the most important "People" in the British Biathlon
family. As in many countries they are drawn almost exclusively
from the Armed Forces. There are few civilian cross country ski clubs
in the UK, and only one civilian Biathlon Centre and just 2 civilian
Clubs. The Army has always provided the vast
majority of National and Club athletes and there is a small RAF
contingent. Just one man (Mne Joe BROOKS) is left from the once
flourishing Royal Marines biathlon team. The withdrawal of the Marines
is a sad legacy to their many National Biathlon and Olympic XC
athletes of previous years.
World Cup Team
is all from Army, apart from Joe BROOKS: Cpls Emma FOWLER and Adele WALKER, LCpl
Lee JACKSON (the Team Captain), LBdr Kevin KANE and Sgt Marc WALKER. LCpl Paul WHIBLEY
captains the European Cup Team and has Bdr Shane CLASH, LBdr Simon
ALLANSON, ATpr Lee CUNNINGHAM and Spr Pete BEYER all from the Army and Cpl Carl CARRIER
and Flt Lt Fay POTTON, the first two RAF biathletes to race for GBR.
members of the summer
National Development Squads
(NDS) and the BBU Biathlon Academy were from the Army. The concentration of military athletes,
world-wide, is due to the very demanding training schedules that have
to be undertaken by International biathletes, and partly to the
historical development of the sport. The BBU simply has no money or
capacity to develop promising civilian talent and thus relies on the
Forces to do this. GBR is always likely to be at a severe disadvantage
in International terms compared to the Scandinavian, Russian or Alpine
Nations when attempting to attract potential athletes. The
difficulties of shooting in a post-Dunblane era and of releasing
experienced Military athletes, as coaches, from their operational and
other commitments should not be underestimated.
Supporting the athletes are soldiers Sgt Jason SKLENAR MBE, 28 Engr Regt,
the WC Team Coach and on snow Manager and (in the summer) Hldr Scott
BANES, 4 Scots (HLDRS), the NDS Coach. Jason is a double Olympian on permanent
attachment to the BBU, but until a few years ago we had 2 or 3 more
military personnel on attachment to look after their soldiers and
assist with administration, training and development. The WC Team Ski
Technician ("The Waxman") is Martin GLAGOW, a retired Lt Col in the
Germany Army and Father of German WC star Martina. There is no
conditioning or specialist shooting coach and no dedicated medical or
sports scientist staff, outside the limited help thankfully provided
by the BOA.
World 110m Hurdles Champion Colin JACKSON CBE is the President of the
BBU, having taken over from Lord Colin Moynihan (now Chairman BOA) in
March 2006. The
of the British Biathlon Union is elected by the Members (who are 95%
active athletes), and is Chaired by David CRANSTON CBE. They give
their time and effort on an almost totally voluntary basis. The only
partially paid member of the Board is the part time Secretary General
Mark GOODSON. He runs the Front Office; the Back Office and the Team
Manager's Office. Only there is no "office" as such - it is a spare
bedroom; there is no money!
Except for the Hon Legal Advisor they all,
unsurprisingly, come from a military background and were all
competitors at Regimental (Club) level; some are still serving.
Technical Director Eddy LOWE BEM managed the team at two Olympic
Winter Games, but there is now no Team Manager. Lt Col Bill
LAURENCE who heads up Development
has a pretty busy full time job; most of 2006 was spent in
Afghanistan, most of 2007 will be in Iraq! USA based Jeremy HOPWOOD
frequently dips into his own pocket as Sponsorship Director! We have
no clerical support and rely on the goodwill of athletes, support
staff and Board Members to ignore their mobile phone bills and get
their wives, partners or friends to help out. This is not an
acceptable way to run an Olympic sport.