In Beijing in 2008, Rebecca Adlington won two Olympic swimming gold medals: the first British woman to win an Olympic swimming title for twenty years. Ironically, in the 800 metres even she also beat a twenty-year old record time.
Rebecca is obviously looking towards the London Olympics of 2012 and believes that the funding she has received from the UK lottery draw has been key in her success. The money given to her has allowed her access to world class coaching, training and medical support.
Out of every pound spent in the UK lottery draw, 28 pence goes to good causes. Five pence of that is used to finance the London Olympics.
The government have set up a body to oversee the distribution of these funds. The Olympic Lottery Distributor will have an income of £1835 million from the UK lottery draw from which it will support the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.
In preparation for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the British National Lottery invested £265 million in the World Class Pathway. This supported athletes and resulted in a haul of over 140 medals for those in the scheme. In the same way, those preparing to compete in 2012 will also get lottery support.
£2.2 billion of British National Lottery funds will help create the facilities to host the Games. This will also provide a long-lasting legacy for the people of London and, indeed, the UK. The money invested in the Olympics will not be lost, however. The government announced that the land used for the Olympics will be sold and some of the profits will be paid back to the UK lottery fund.
The Olympic village, partly financed by the UK lottery draw, will house 17 000 athletes and officials during the Games and more than 6000 people during the Paralympic Games. The Village will then contribute to the regeneration of Stratford City after the Games. It will provide some 4000 new homes, office buildings, leisure facilities and a new shopping complex.
There are other related projects, which the Lottery is also funding. For example Unlimited is an initiative which provides art and sports opportunities for disabled people and the lottery fund has donated £3 million to ensure it works as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.
The London Olympics in 2012 are clearly an expensive undertaking so funding from the UK lottery draw is clearly welcome. Indeed, Rebecca Adlington has used an interview recently to thank those who play the British National Lottery.