Paul Nixon - Chief Executive Officer, LGT Vestra US
Rio’s 2016 Summer Olympic Games has been the most successful for Great Britain since the origin of the Games in Ancient Greece in c. 776BC. Although technically speaking, I should mention that GB has only been participating since the birth of the modern Olympic Games in 1896 (where the winner was awarded a silver medal and runners up received a copper medal!).
Team GB finished the 2016 Olympics with 67 medals and for the first time in over 100 years, featured in the top two most successful nations. Was this luck? Was it something in the water (similar questions were asked about the diving pool!)? Or was it a combination of intense training regimes, well structured coaching and development from grass-roots level that has taken Team GB to the top of the leader board?
Let us start by looking at the performance over the last six Summer Olympics:
Rio (2016): Gold Medals - 27, Total Medals - 67
London (2012): Gold Medals - 29, Total Medals - 65
Beijing (2008): Gold Medals - 19, Total Medals - 47
Athens (2004): Gold Medals - 9, Total Medals - 30
Sydney (2000): Gold Medals - 11, Total Medals - 28
Atlanta (1996): Gold Medals - 1, Total Medals - 15
From this we can see that Team GB has gradually been improving since the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, but why?
I believe this can be attributed to three key factors:
1. Individual determination and skill
The physical and mental strength of each athlete is undeniably paramount, both during the events and the four years of dedicated training prior.
We should never underestimate the tremendous amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to get the athletes to the podium.
As some of you will no doubt be aware, in 1994 the Prime Minister of Great Britain, John Major launched the National Lottery. This may not seem an immediately obvious answer, but less than 1% of the National Lottery’s total revenue is kept as profit after tax. It provides plenty of funding for good causes of which c.20% has found its way into sport, to the value of c.£4.4 billion to date. These funds have allowed an investment in research, infrastructure, testing and fine tuning that was simply not affordable prior to 1994 and, as athletes that have grown up in this environment reach their competitive ages, the medals tables speak for themselves.
But these factors of success are not unique to sport. In much the same way, at LGT Vestra we take pride in the level of resource and commitment that we place on research, implementation and risk management. From meeting a client, understanding their needs and risk profile, we are looking to continually fine tune our understanding of their objectives and demonstrate how we are going to achieve these. Once the strategy is established, we then look to implement the outlined solution, continuously monitoring and reviewing its effectiveness. This is critical, as not only do markets change but so do client requirements.
Constant analysis, observation and refinement of the portfolios helps us to benefit from the theory of marginal gains and in turn improve performance. Similarly only with the athletes’ dedication and focus are improvements made and medals won. As we look forward to the Games of 2020, their motto remains ever relevant: Citius, Altius, Fortius – Faster, Higher, Stronger.