https://corporate.sky.com/media-cent...he-road-to-rio

The clock is ticking. With just six months to go to the Olympics in Rio, this is the most important time in our Sky Academy Sports Scholars’ careers. Two of them - runner Mark English and pole vaulter Holly Bradshaw – are in the enviable position of having booked their seats on the plane.


But that’s only the first part of the job. The second is to make sure they stay in peak condition, maintain their focus and deliver. For those who are yet to qualify, they must be ready to push themselves harder than they have ever done before – doing everything possible to secure their place.

I started leading the Sky Academy Sports Scholarship programme in 2013. It was set up, as part of a series of Sky Academy initiatives designed to unlock the potential in young people. The other initiatives – Sky Sports Living for Sport, Sky Academy Skills Studios, Sky Academy Careers Lab and Sky Academy Starting Out, cover all ages, from primary school right through to those starting their careers.

The Scholarships programme takes that to the next level, providing mentoring and financial support for up-and-coming talent across sports, the arts and TV, in a bid to boost their careers.

When it came to Scholarships, it made sense to me to go for Olympic sports. For the majority of athletes, an Olympics is the pinnacle of their sport. The Olympics also provides inspiration to millions – you only have to look at what London 2012 did for the mood of the nation.

I’m often asked what makes an Olympic champion. Firstly, you need talent - you can't become a champion without being good at what you do. You need to perfect your craft, day in, day out, with diligence and toughness. The other thing you need is a bit of luck. You can be the best in the world and then a week out from the Games pick up an injury. I’ve seen it happen.

Through the Scholarships programme, we can certainly help with the former, providing support and guidance, and giving our Scholars every chance to succeed. We believe in them, and with a bit of luck, not only will all of them book their seat on the plane, they might just return with a medal.