The British Athletes Commission’s Athlete Engagement Manager, Kristian Thomas, believes that the organisation’s work has never been more crucial as he celebrates his first anniversary in the role.
Former gymnast Thomas enjoyed a stellar international career himself, representing Great Britain on the Olympic, world, European and Commonwealth stages, and being part of the team which earned an historic bronze medal at London 2012.
After calling time on his 11-year international career in 2017, Thomas has now spent 12 months in his current role, and thinks that athletes now have a greater desire to play a role in shaping the future of their sport.
“In my experience, athletes are certainly wanting to be more involved in their sport, and the decision making within it. This can only be positive news for the future of sport – the more an athlete perspective is given serious consideration, where appropriate, the more rounded and sustainable the decision-making process will become.
“We now have over 80 athlete representatives across Olympic and Paralympic sports, and it has been really encouraging to see athletes and sports work together to bring about positive change where needed.
“This – I believe – has never been so important across sport, and with the BAC playing an integral role in driving this forward, it’s a real privilege to be a part of the progress being made.”
In the role, Thomas works alongside the BAC’s 1,400-strong membership of elite British athletes, delivering support and education, development sessions, and encouraging ways in which the athlete community can connect and engage.
Key subjects include athlete representation, which allows athletes to bring about positive change within their sport; selections and appeals, around which the BAC recently took part in a ground-breaking collaboration with British Rowing; and developing athletes’ life skills, which has led to the BAC developing its Athletes Connect platform.
“The need for BAC’s support within the high-performance system is continuing to grow, and in recognition of this we are seeing athletes and National Governing Bodies taking collaborative and proactive approaches to the services that we offer.
“We are determined to continue this progress as we look ahead to Olympic and Paralympic year, and beyond, looking to build the best possible environment in which our athletes can thrive.”