Hoy flying high with UK Sport deal

From UK Sport
Olympians Sir Chris Hoy and Denise Lewis yesterday launched British Airways’ bid to find the next generation of Great Britons. The announcement is part of the airline’s commitment to the London 2012 Games and to help create a lasting legacy for 2012 and beyond.

To mark the search for Britain’s next generation of talent, an aircraft is being named after quadruple gold medallist Sir Chris Hoy, the 2008 SJA Sportsman of the Year.

The BA Great Britons programme is a £500,000 fund offering up to 180 free flights a year until 2012 to enable budding talent to realise their dreams. It is open to anyone aged over 16 years old who needs support to develop their talent in any field – whether the next Mark Ronson on the road to the Miami Music Conference, the future Sam Mendes planning a trip to the Cannes Film Festival, or even a local cricket team looking to train abroad.

Applications can be made at . The judges include Denise Lewis, film director Jeremy Gilley and British Airways representatives. The public will have the final say in a vote online.

Track cyclist Chris Hoy said; “I am proud and honoured to have an aircraft flying the Union flag named after me. British Airways helped me achieve my personal dreams and I hope this programme can do the same for the UK’s fledgling talent today.”

The airline also announced a partnership with the nation’s elite sports agency – UK Sport to support British sportsmen and women.

Nearly 1,500 athletes from 28 Olympic and 20 Paralympic sports will benefit from the partnership, which offers up to 20 per cent off flights for them and their families, as well as support with baggage and equipment.

Luisa Fernandez, British Airways global sponsorship manager said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to help young people achieve their goals. We know how important it is to connect people to places and with our extensive network, we can do this better than anyone.”

The Great Britons launch has backing from the UK sporting bodies and LOCOG – organisers of the Games. Lord Coe, chairman of the London 2012 Organising Committee said: “We have always said the London 2012 Games would deliver for young people and the BA Great Britons launch is another great example of our partners supporting British talent and creating a lasting legacy.”

Notes to Editors:

· British Airways is the official airline of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and tier one sponsor.
· The UK Sport partnership benefits all athletes currently funded by the UK Sport World Class Performance Programme.
· The Great Britons Programme is open to all British passport holders and residents over the age of 16. Applicants do not need to be of a professional standard and can apply more than once – terms and conditions apply (see official website).
· The judging panel will shortlist all applications and then let the public vote online. Applicants are encouraged to support their entries with blogs, images and videos.
· Winners will be selected every two months and will receive one return flight in World Traveller cabins. If groups are successful, then they will receive one return flight per entry in the group – for instance, 11 flights may be awarded to a football team.
· British Airways has a long-standing history in supporting British talent. From the British & Irish Lions tour to supporting future Paralympians on the Dreamflight project.

For further press information, please contact (for media use only):

Sophia Antoniades, British Airways Consumer PR Manager / 02087387330

Jessica Whitehorn, UK Sport / 020 7211 5174

More sports journalism links

VOTE NOW for your Sports Broadcaster and Sports Programme of 2008. SJA members should click here for a prompt list and information on voting