Tokyo before Rio

Pentathlon GB – one of GB’s most successful performance sports since UK Sport lottery funding began – wanted to refresh its existing ‘Strategy 2013-17’ a year out from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, so that its plans for growing the sport to the end of the decade – to Tokyo 2020 – were well in place before Brazil.

Client challenge:

  • Maintaining modern pentathlon’s elite level success of British athletes regularly winning medals – including 5 Olympic at the last 4 Games, and a World Champion in 2014.
  • Building a strong pipeline of future pentathletes aged 12-18 years coming through.
  • The rising public popularity of other Olympic multi-sports including triathlon and heptathlon, against which landscape the sport had to raise its public profile in the UK.
  • The potential moving on of senior figures at Board and Director/manager/coach level post-Rio 2016, and the need to ensure sound succession planning at all levels of the organisation.


We worked hand-in-glove with the Board to facilitate, collate and organise all stakeholder opinions on the future direction of the sport, by:

  • Assessing rival plans in a ‘Top 5’ other competing nations.
  • Bringing together ideas from all parts of the Pentathlon GB community – to cover Board members, staff, volunteers, athletes, former Olympians, and key partner organisations.
  • Nurturing and developing a close working relationship with UK Sport, the English Institute of Sport, and Sports England as key stakeholders
  • Introducing learnings from other sports to help anticipate the changes that might occur to the UK sporting landscape immediately following the General Election 2015.


Pentathlon GB produced a plan inside two months – with a summary version offered ‘on one page’ – that was deliberately short, topline and KPI-based to serve as the single reference point for the growth of modern pentathlon in Great Britain over the ‘Tokyo Years 2015-20’. The plan reflected the strong consensus to focus the next period of growth on developing a stronger pipeline of 12-18-year-olds as the overriding priority, at the same time evolving from a suggested 80:20 performance/development ‘focus’ to 60:40, plus growing PGB itself from a £2.1m/year to a £2.6m/year business.

“I would like to thank you for the project, and for making yourself available at comparatively short notice. On behalf of Pentathlon GB, I really appreciate this.”

Tony Temple

Chair, Pentathlon GB