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Liz Nicholl speaking

Liz Nicholl

speaker location icon London, UK

CEO of UK Sport

Architect of UK Olympic success

Received CBE for services to sport (2015)

Liz Nicholl CBE is a British sports administrator and former netball player who has been chief executive of UK Sport since 2010. She has been called “the most powerful woman” in British sport.

Liz Nicholl began her career as an international netball player. Soon after, she became CEO of England Netball for 16 years, including a period as Championship Director of a World Netball Championships. In 1999 Liz joined UK Sport, and has since played a pioneering role in the development of the elite sport system in the UK. For ten years, Liz led the work of UK Sport’s Performance Directorate through the Sydney, Athens and Beijing Olympic and Paralympic cycles as the Director of Elite Sport. Liz became the Chief Operating Officer in 2009 and was then appointed to the CEO role in September 2010. During her tenure as CEO, GB achieved record performances at London 2012, Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016. Nicholl has been called the architect of the organisation’s strict “all or nothing” funding system, which has faced criticism due to its focus on medal count and budget cuts in sports that perform poorly.

Nicholl was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2000 New Year Honours, for services to netball.  She was appointed an Officer of the same order (OBE) in 2006, and appointed a Commander (CBE) in 2015,both for services to sport.

In 2016, Nicholl was awarded the Sports Journalists’ Association (SJA) Gold Medal for services to elite sport.

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