June 15 - The British Olympic Association (BOA) has today announced that its Director of Sport Sir Clive Woodward will lead Team GB at the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck next January as Chef de Mission - the clearest sign that he has no immediate plans to return to rugby union.
The announcement effectively quashes speculation that the 55-year-old, who led England to Rugby World Cup glory in 2003 as head coach, will make a return to the Rugby Football Union (RFU) before next January.
Former RFU chief executive John Steele was forced to leave his position at the top of the organisation earlier this month following the high-profile row over the selection process for the sport's new performance director - a role that Sir Clivewas heavy favourite to take up.
Following the departure of Steele, who was in the role for less than a year, Sir Clive was tipped to re-join the RFU.
However, he will now stay at the BOA until at least January after being named as Chef de Mission for Team GB at the Youth Olympic Games in Austria, which will take place from January 13-22, 2012.
"I am delighted to take on the role of Chef de Mission for the first winter Youth Olympic Games," said Sir Clive.
"Last month we saw first-hand the excellent preparations being made for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games and I am sure that the YOG in Innsbruck will be an important stepping stone in the development of our best young winter athletes both on and off the field of play.
"Following the outstanding success of the first YOG in Singapore last summer, I have every confidence that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will again provide an environment of the highest quality to allow the young athletes to gain vital experience of the unique Olympic environment.
"I am sure that every young British winter athlete was inspired by Amy Williams' thrilling gold medal performance at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games (pictured).
"Our ambition for the YOG is to find and develop Team GB Olympians of the future and give them the best opportunity to follow in Amy's footsteps."
The appointment follows Woodward's role as Team GB Deputy Chef de Mission at both the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics and Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, while he is again set to serve as Deputy Chef de Mission for Team GB at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Sir Clive, a member of the IOC Entourage Commission, was also a member of the delegation leadership for the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in 2007, while he will be supported in Innsbruck by the BOA Head of Winter Sport Engagement Mike Hay who has been named as Deputy Chef de Mission for Team GB in Austria.
BOA chief executive and London 2012 Chef de Mission Andy Hunt said: "I am delighted that our top young winter athletes will benefit from Clive's vast experience and expertise in leading a successful team and creating the performance focused environment to enable them to perform to the best of their ability.
"Having witnessed the excellent quality of the first Youth Olympic Games in Singapore last summer, I am sure that Innsbruck 2012 will provide an excellent opportunity for the athletes to gain experience of a multi-sport environment and prepare themselves for the demands they will face in progressing their careers through to senior international, and ultimately, Olympic level."
Sir Clive's time at the BOA has not been without controversy, with many questioning his impact at the organisation and his reported £300,000 annual wage.
However, Sir Clive will now stay at the organisation to drive Team GB in Innsbruck, which is expected to consist of approximately 20 athletes from five sports.
They will compete alongside over 1,000 of the best elite young athletes aged between 14-18-years-old from over 70 nations across the world, with the 2012 Youth Olympics set to feature all seven sports on the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games programme.
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