Cycling Australia have set an ambitious target of winning between four and six gold medals at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, with the higher figure being enough to see them match Great Britain’s haul from the Rio Games.
Announced on Wednesday, Cycling Australia’s new high performance strategy aims to help Australia regain its position as the world’s leading cycling nation”, targetting four to six Olympic gold and 15 Paralympic medals in 2020, as well as eight Commonwealth Gold in 2018.
Simon Jones, the former British Cycling and Team Sky coach who became Cycling Australia’s high performance director in February, said that the aims were ambitious but achievable.
“I want to be part of a new Australian performance culture and get back that winning feeling at Olympic Games,” Jones said. “We’ve been winning every year at World Championships, but we need to improve our Olympic results.”
Over the past few four-year Olympic cycles, Australia has tasted success at the annual Track World Championships but fallen short at the Olympic Games themselves.
For example Australia won the most medals at the World Championships in 2014 and 2015, before failing to win a single gold at the Rio Olympics in 2016, and finished top of the medal table at every World Championships between 2009 and 2012, before winning just one gold to Great Britain’s eight at the Olympic Games in London.
The new high performance strategy has apparently been designed “to put the athletes at the centre” with “clear and seamless athlete pathways that provide athletes with stepping stones for their cycling ambitions.”
Jones continued: “I want the Australian public to be proud and in awe of our Australian Cycling Team, and I am passionate and proud to be supporting the next Australian cycling sporting heroes.
“The way we can do this is to perform on the Olympic and Paralympic stage; there is no bigger platform to inspire a nation.”