Olympic champion Lizzy Yarnold and five-time Paralympic gold medallist Hannah Cockroft are among four leading athletes backing a new athlete welfare initiative, #More2Me.
The campaign, also backed by Minister for Sport Mims Davies, has been established to help athletes develop a better balance between sport and life and recognise the benefits of planning for life after sport.
The initiative has been developed by the English Institute of Sport’s (EIS) Performance Lifestyle team, which aims to deliver a personalised support service to athletes from more than 30 UK Sport funded world class performance programmes.
EIS Performance Lifestyle services are available to more than 1,200 elite world class funded athletes and are designed to provide a variety of personal and career development support opportunities.
Central to the #More2Me campaign is the aim to prompt athletes to consider their lives’ outside of and beyond sport whilst they are still competing and not neglect this until nearing retirement.
#More2Me has also been designed to “encourage elite athletes to develop a more-rounded identity.”
Retired Olympic gymnast Kristian Thomas and Tokyo 2020 hopeful in Judo, Nekoda Smythe-Davis, join Yarnold and Cockroft as the four athletes lending support to championing the new initiative.
The four British athletes, each at different points in their respective careers, will front a series of initiatives to drive awareness of the campaign amongst fellow athletes and promote the message via social media in the run-up to Tokyo 2020.
Off the back of setting out her vision for sport’s role in UK society at an event marking the launch of UK Sport’s Future Strategy for performance funding, Mims Davies MP, said: “Being a dedicated, fully focused elite athlete is hugely rewarding but can also be all-consuming. I hope this new initiative can help sportspeople use their talents so they can foster other interests too.
"It can give them an additional sense of identity and further opportunities beyond the sport which they love, so they are not left feeling isolated when their time as a competitive athlete comes to an end.”
As well as backing from the Minister for Sport, the #More2Me campaign also has the support from UK Sport, which funds elite sport in the UK.
Dame Katherine Grainger, the Chair of UK Sport, said: “It is very important for athletes to have balance in their lives and the UK high performance system works hard to provide great opportunities to ensure individuals can develop as both a performer and a person.
“My own EIS performance lifestyle advisor was instrumental in helping me create time for interests outside of sport as well as the important and challenging transition period when I started to think about life beyond high performance sport.
“It is crucial that each individual proactively looks to the opportunities available which can provide huge benefits in both the short and the long-term.”
Joanna Harrison, EIS Head of Performance Lifestyle, added: “One of the things we often see with athletes coming to the end of their careers is a sense of huge loss as all the certainties they had in their sporting life are no longer in-place.
“By taking on board the messages of #More2Me and engaging with Performance Lifestyle services, we believe athletes can achieve both performance benefits in their sport and be better equipped to manage the challenges they will face during their world class careers and when the time comes to retire from competition.”