The XXIII Olympic Winter Games start tomorrow. Are you excited about it? Will you be getting up in the middle of the night to watch?

Most importantly, will you get value for money from the Games?

Team GB target is 4 medals

Almost £30 million has been invested to this Olympic cycle. For this, UK Sport has set the relatively unambitious target of 4 medals – so, approximately £7 million per medal.

While funding doesn’t all come directly from the taxpayer (depending on your views on the National Lottery), you could argue this is peanuts, barely more than £1 per household in the UK, but it’s still a huge amount – similar to the cost of a new school.

Where has the money gone?

Let’s take a look at the investment by individual sport:

cost of medal at the olympics


5 million to finish in the top 5

A review of the table above shows that while Ski and Snowboard are expected to come up with 50% of the Team GB medal count, all the bobsleigh team have to do for the same investment is finish in the top five.

And that only funds the men’s team. The British women’s team had to resort to crowdfunding to get to South Korea.

Skeleton can top that, with over £6m invested in the hope of a top eight finish.

How many medals is too many medals? 

UK Sport has kindly offered ‘maximums’ of what they expect, which is damn hard to understand. What if Izzy Atkin, Katie Summerhayes and James Woods all win medals? Does that mean Billy Morgan should take it easy in the Big Air on the final day?

Sadly, it will be pretty tough for Team GB to even hit the minimum requirements. Sports data specialists, Gracenote yesterday predicted that only two medals will be won, both by Elise Christie in the short track speed skating.

With podium-favourite Katie Ormerod sadly having to withdraw from the Games, it will be even more difficult for Team GB.


Give more to the skiers and snowboarders

Hopefully in a fortnight’s time we will be celebrating Team GB hitting their maximums and returning home with medals proudly round necks.

If by chance that doesn’t happen, perhaps we should be questioning over £10 million being spend on sports that don’t stand a chance of medalling – and giving that money to the skiers and snowboarders instead…


Keep up to date with all the latest at the Winter Olympics by tuning into the Knowledge is Powder Ski Podcast – we’ll be bringing out special episodes during the Games.