British Cycling is delighted to announce Stephen Park OBE as the Great Britain Cycling Team’s new performance director.
Park, who as the Royal Yachting Association’s (RYA) Olympic manager guided the British Sailing Team to the top of the sport’s medal table in Rio, will become British Cycling’s first performance director since 2014.
The 48-year-old has been the RYA’s Olympic manager for the past 15 years, with Britain’s world-beating sailors amassing 23 Olympic and Paralympic medals during his time at the helm. Park will start work at the National Cycling Centre in the spring of 2017.
“I feel privileged and excited to be given this opportunity, and look forward to building on the high-performance culture at British Cycling. My role will be to lead the team, support the coaches and the wider staff to continue delivering successful programmes which enable the athletes to fulfil their tremendous potential.
“My time with the RYA has been hugely rewarding, and Olympic Sailing has evolved enormously during my 15 years as Olympic team manager, requiring an inquisitive and innovative approach to stay ahead of the competition. As top sailing nation at Rio 2016 and following our review process and recent significant UK Sport funding announcement, I’m confident the team is in great shape for the Tokyo 2020 cycle. I would like to convey my deepest appreciation to all the British Sailing Team athletes, staff and across the RYA family – past and present – for their unwavering commitment in support of British Sailing’s medal-winning achievements during my tenure.
“Clearly cycling poses very different challenges to sailing, but it’s a sport I am very passionate about from a personal perspective. I’m looking forward to meeting its challenges head on and working intensively with a highly motivated and experienced group of athletes, coaches and support staff.”
Following another hugely successful Olympic and Paralympic Games, British Cycling started the extensive performance director recruitment process in October, working alongside UK Sport and Positive Dynamics.
Former Olympic champion Chris Boardman was part of the selection process, and said:
“The standard of applicants was predictably high, and in appointing Stephen Park I am extremely confident that we have someone in place who can now go forward and build on the fantastic success that British Cycling has enjoyed in recent years.
“The role calls for a highly effective, ambitious leader with a track record of successfully delivering at the highest level, and an ability to instil a real sense of team and get the most out of the wealth of experience that is evident in the Great Britain Cycling Team.
“Throughout the selection process, it was very clear that Stephen demonstrates each and every one of these characteristics.”
Bob Howden, British Cycling president, added:
“We are delighted to welcome Stephen to British Cycling. The performance director role is integral to our ambitions looking ahead to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games and beyond.
“Following our tremendous success at Rio, we are now at the start of another four-year cycle; one which brings great challenges but also great opportunities to build on success.
“We are confident that, in Stephen, we have the right person in the role to guide us through this cycle and fulfil our ambition to finish top of both medal tables and remain the number one cycling nation in the world.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Andy Harrison, our programmes director, and his colleagues for leading the team so successfully through recent months.”
Chelsea Warr, director of performance at UK Sport said:
“In this critical appointment of Stephen Park – well known across the system as ‘Sparky’ – to the role of performance director at British Cycling, we have one of our world-class performance system’s most successful leaders, who has worked at the highest level of Olympic and Paralympic sport and has been tremendously successful over multiple Games.
“In collaboration with the brilliant coaches and support team at British Cycling, I am very confident that Stephen will lead the programme to achieve even more success in the Tokyo cycle and beyond with a renewed focus on leadership, innovation, high-performance culture and behaviours, to meet the needs of the athletes and help them reach their full potential.”