The impact of public funding on Olympic performance and mass participation in Great Britain

  • Desislava Goranova

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    There is a rising tendency among countries to prioritise some sports over others and make higher investments of money and resources in their elite development (Green and Oakley,
    2001). Such policies and strategies are adopted in the UK, too. Some sports are considered more likely to bring Olympic medals than others and therefore, they are targeted to receive higher funding. Those placed outside the selection are more likely to face challenges in practices to develop their winning potential. Following further research in this occurrence, authors have sought evidences for an inter-relation between funding and performance
    (Garrett, 2004; Green, 2005; De Bosscher, 2006). In addition, some have explored other influential factors and have stressed on the importance of participation in sport, as the quality and quantity of the talent pool plays a vital role in elite athletes’ development (Sam, 2012; Girginov and Hills, 2008; Shibli, 2012). As a result of an in-depth research, an extensive academic knowledge on Elite Sports policies and sport development has been built, as well as on each of the concepts of funding, performance and participation. There are many studies focused on the case of the UK in particular (Houlihan, 2004; Green, 2006). However, fewer authors have studied these concepts in pairs (mainly funding and performance), and none have examined the relationship and impacts of all three (Grix and Phillpots, 2011; Vayens, 2009; Martindale, 2007). This research will aim to establish if such relationship exists between Olympic sports funding distribution, Olympic performance, and national participation numbers. It will provide a critical review of the British sport system and relevant policies, and it will explore where the written policies do not reflect the relevant actions undertaken. Using mixed methods the impacts of the applied policies will be critically discussed. The gap this study aims to fulfil will contribute to the existing knowledge on elite sport development by providing a better understanding on how
    funding, performance and participation are related and the impacts some taken-for-granted assumptions have caused.
    Date of Award2014
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorTerri Byers (Supervisor)


    • Olympic/Paralympic
    • Success
    • Elite Sport Development
    • Policies
    • Target Funding
    • Distribution
    • Utilisation
    • Performance
    • Participation
    • Relationship
    • Impact
    • Expectations
    • Great Britain

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