Ed Clancy says National Lottery funding transformed his cycling dreams into reality.

Three Olympic golds and a bronze in the velodromes of Beijing, London and Rio have made the Holmfirth-based star a cycling immortal, playing an integral role in the recent epoch of stunning success for British Cycling.

And much of that hegemony was enabled by the power of National Lottery funding, with the injection of support in 1997 leading to no fewer than 864 Olympic and Paralympic medals.

Clancy possesses four of those medals himself and traces his journey back to watching Jason Queally soar to glory in Sydney two decades ago. 

“National Lottery funding has been a massive part of everything I’ve done,” the 35-year-old, one of 1,100 athletes on UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme, said.

“I remember watching Jason Queally win the 1km time trial in Sydney back in 2000 – and it’s easy to sit there as a kid and think ‘great, I’d love to do that’.

"But if there wasn’t the National Lottery funding in place, it really would have just been a dream rather than becoming any sort of reality.

“The British public has seen our success, and the medal hauls have just gone up and up since the National Lottery invested in sport.

“I wouldn’t have started cycling without National Lottery funding! It was that funding that got me onto the GB junior setup and then helped me get race entries, decent kit, coaching and guidance.

“There’s no doubt about it - the National Lottery funding has been a massive benefit and certainly made a difference to Olympic sport and beyond."

Clancy was spotted by the National Lottery-funded Talent Team initiative almost two decades ago, with that support kickstarting a thrilling cycling journey that sees him access world-class coaching, facilities and pioneering technology.

The evergreen star has been there and won it all but is now eyeing up a tilt at a fifth Olympic medal next year, delaying his retirement in a bid to scoop a fourth consecutive gold medal in the team pursuit.

It’s not just elite-level performance that’s filled Clancy’s time over the years, as he also runs the Clancy Briggs Cycling Academy and has recently helped coach the GB Under-23s team.

But he’s got his eyes on the prize with next year looming and is determined to go out on a thrilling Tokyo high.

“I want to be part of a Games that will be a good show of strength of the world,” he added.

“I also wanted to retire on my owns terms - I’d love to get there and have closure on my career, and, in an ideal world, I’ll get a medal in the sharp end of the team pursuit and say my goodbyes.

“I still feel motivated - different things motivate you at my age, and I almost view British Cycling as my family now.

“I feel more responsibility and ownership for the success and wellbeing of my team, even though I’m not in a position of power.

“Another 12 months isn’t going to be a bad thing for British Cycling, and the dream is to go and win another gold medal.”

No one does more to support our Olympic and Paralympic athletes than National Lottery players, who raise around £30 million each week for good causes. Discover the positive impact playing the National Lottery has at www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/stories/track-to-tokyo and #TracktoTokyo #NationalLotteryAthletes