When does a successful method become a liability?

Being highly proficient at the Western roll was a sure-fire way to high jump success – until Dick Fosbury came along and changed the game.

Being a travel agent able to access and compare hotels and flights from different companies and making a commission as a result was the way to sell holidays until the internet enabled Expedia, Airbnb and co. to come along.

For the last 3 Olympic cycles Team GB has had unprecedented success. 4thplace in the Beijing medal table, a record 65 medals in London and then being the only host nation to ever go better in the following games by landing 67 medals in Rio. The Paralympic programme has been similarly successful and in the Winter Games the medal factory continues in Skeleton bob (despite have no track and no snow in the UK…).

It is built on a foundation of no compromise and a significant amount of targeted funding from UK Sport designed to win medals. 

How long can the method continue to be successful for? When does it become a liability?

The programme is in place for Tokyo 2020 but after that? Will the performances be sustained and even exceed Rio?

At what point do you re-invent yourself and do something different? Do you wait for the results to drop off and then change? Or do you take the plunge and change while you are at the top of your game? That is the question being wrestled with by UK Sport.

The brave option would be to re-invent yourself now from a position of strength. Oh, to be a fly on the wall!