September 4, 2008 – The London Games are four years away but already Britain is on the hunt for Olympic Gold. An all-woman sporting version of The X-Factor has started auditioning for fast-track training in cycling, canoeing, rowing, sailing and modern pentathlon. It’s all part of the effort to identify athletic girls who have what it takes to stand on top of the podium.
More than 900 hopefuls are participating in Britain’s increasingly sophisticated talent hunt for London 2012. Contestants leap their way through a high-jump series, pedal a static bike and haul away at two rowing machines as a first step to possible Olympic gold.
A force behind this recruitment drive for young athletic women is Girls4Gold – an organization spearheaded by cycling champion Victoria Pendleton and Olympic silver medallist Shelley Rudman.
The aim is to uncover hidden talent with the potential to rise to the podium at London 2012 and beyond. Girls4Gold’is the latest in a series of talent identification initiatives led by UK Sport and the EIS on behalf of targeted national governing bodies.
It will introduce promising female athletes into specific sports and boost Britain’s overall talent pool by embracing those sports where female athletes have a real chance of medal success.
British women aged 17-25, who have competed at county level or above in any sport, are invited to apply.
China made a concerted effort to win a record number of gold medals at the Beijing Games and it looks like the UK is following suit. With this newly fueled interest in female competitors, look out world – London’s calling!