The Rise Up Academy and British Cycling’s City Academies, two projects that inspired Discovery Sports Events at the UCI Track Champions League grand finale in London

As the 2022 UCI Track Champions League season came to its spectacular conclusion at Lee Valley VeloPark earlier this month, Discovery Sports Events shared a special moment with leading youth organisations to give two groups of young people a behind the scenes experience they will never forget.

In the days leading up to the weekend’s gripping season finale, young members from London’s Global Academy and Mulberry Schools Trust, in partnership with the Rise Up Academy, alongside British Cycling’s City Academy, were invited to an exclusive program of backstage access at the Lee Valley Velodrome, meeting key members of the production team and riders, to get an inside view of the cutting edge race series.

Students from the Global Academy and Mulberry Schools Trust joined the Rise Up Academy, an outreach program supported by Amazon Web Services (AWS) – the cloud provider for UCI Track Champions League – built to assist primary and secondary school children in developing careers in broadcast technology. Discovery Sports Events hosted an exclusive backstage tour, taking part in the rehearsals of a Tier 1 live sports broadcast ahead of the final rounds of the innovative track cycling series.

Ahead of the racing, the group of The Rise Up Academy students met – among others – with Orla Chennaoui (Eurosport GCN presenter); Gary Overall (Production Manager for Cycling at Warner Bros. Discovery Sports) and Alexandre Daquo (UCI Track Champions League Live TV Producer), to gain valuable insights into life in front of and behind the lens, from the key members of the production team.

Lina Young, Global Academy Student said: “It was a unique opportunity for me to see how a prime time sports broadcast was produced and to learn from professionals what career paths led them to Discovery Sports Events. What an amazing team! Thanks to the Global Academy, Rise and AWS for making this happen.”

With a tour of the Outside Broadcast van and a visit to track centre, the students experienced the multitude of camera setups, lighting rigs, big screen controls and the TV graphics desk, all used to broadcast the cycling spectacle across the world. When it came to the racing, they were treated to tribune tickets allowing them to witness everything in action.

On Saturday, ahead of Round 5, members of the City Academies youth development program, created by British Cycling and supported by the Rapha Foundation, met with three of the biggest names in the sport. The City Academies program, which aims to bring the benefits of cycling to underprivileged children in East London, brought a group of 10 to 13 year old members to meet stars of the UCI Track Champions League, including series ambassador Sir Chris Hoy and riders Mark Stewart and Emma Finucane. Through a press conference-style Q&A session and on-track photoshoot, the young cycling fans from Hackney got to ask the panel a variety of questions about their journey into cycling and what it is like living and performing as a world class athlete. It was here where Mark Stewart accepted the kids invitation to be the club’s first Honorary Chairman, promising to wear the City Academy jersey at the live event that evening. Finally, on Saturday night, they were given track centre access to watch the racing, and were among the first to congratulate their new hero Mark Stewart when he took an emphatic victory in the Mens Scratch race.

The collaboration between Discovery Sports Events and both The Rise Up Academy and City Academies initiatives showcase the importance of events like these in introducing the younger generation to the excitement of track cycling.

Francois Ribeiro, Head of Discovery Sports Events said: “It was a pleasure to host such enthusiastic young guests from The Rise Up Academy and British Cycling’s City Academies initiatives – both great organisations doing important work for the next generation. For Discovery Sports Events, actions like these are crucial, as they present an opportunity to break down the barriers many young people face, and give deserving youngsters an experience we hope will inspire them to forge their own path in sport.”

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