It’s safe to say that British Cycling was turned upside down before the Rio Olympics, when reports of sexism and derogatory language from Performance Director Shane Sutton emerged.
Now, the governing body is under independent review – and they’ve announced that the search for Sutton’s replacement is underway.
Under the support of UK Sport, British Cycling has appointed ‘Positive Dynamics’ to assist in the recruitment of a new director who will lead Team GB in their march to Tokyo in 2020.
They’re looking for someone who will “build upon the success the team enjoyed this year and provide greater support to performance staff and athletes”.
British Cycling have not revealed any names, but The Times reported today that a new figure had already been “backed by some in the sport.” That figure belongs to former Team GB cyclist Sara Symington.
The news comes soon after a Women on the Boards study concluded that little change has been made in the number of women on sports governing boards, worldwide. They highlighted the fact that many sports governing bodies still have fewer than 30 per cent female representation on the board.
Symington represented Team GB in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics. She was the first British woman to medal in a World Cup race in 1999. The 47-year-old now based in Nottingham also rode at the 1998, 1999 and 2000 UCI Road World Championships as well as the 2001 and 2002 UCI Track Cycling World Championships.
Retiring in 2004, she later became a performance advisor for UK Sport and in 2009 took on the role of performance director of Archery GB. Currently she is the performance director at England Netball – a post she took up in 2015. With a degree in sports science and several years experience in business, it certainly seems like Symington has a CV bristling with all the right things.
Of course, the reports that Symington has been ‘tipped’ are to be confirmed. British Cycling tell is the appointment process begins with an initial “scoping exercise”, followed by “open recruitment”. In the mean time, Programmes Director Andy Harrison, who stepped in to lead the Great Britain Cycling Team for the last phase of the Rio cycle will remain in overall charge until a performance director is appointed.
Currently, Team GB’s track squad is out in Paris racing the European Track Championships where Katie Archibald has already picked up a silver medal in the elimination, losing out only to Kirstin Wild who is a phenomenal sprinter.