Elite sports are handled by the sports federations under DIF in close collaboration with Team Danmark, which was established by law in 1984. It was created in response to a wish that Danish athletes should have better opportunities to compete on equal terms with those of other countries, who were increasingly receiving public subsidy.
The Advancement of Elite Sports Act (1984) passed by the Danish parliament, the Folketing, among other things stated that Team Danmark should implement, coordinate and improve joint initiatives for elite sports in Denmark. But it was emphasised that this should not happen at any and every cost. Thus, it was, and remains, a characteristic of Team Danmark’s activities that the organisation, in a socially responsible way, provides active athletes with opportunities to qualify for the labour market, as well as for a sports career at international level.
The idea has proved right:since Team Danmark was established 25 years ago, the number of medals won by Danish sports people at major international events have increased, even though the recent years have resulted in a stronger international competition and a slight decrease in the total amount of medals at World Championships and European Championship.
The Act on Elitesport was revised in 2004 giving Team Danmark new areas of responsibility. The revision resulted in a stronger focus on talent development and the cooperation with the local communities.
In 2009 Team Danmark cooperates with 33 selected sports federations and their national teams. Focus is mainly on Olympic Sports but Team Danmark also supports non-Olympic sports as water-skiing and motorsports. Around 1.000 athletes from the 33 different sports receives support from Team Danmark – and benefits from either financial support or expert assistance from i.e. psychologists, doctors, test-personal or other Team Danmark-experts.
The sporting results in 2009 shows very positive tendencies – for the first time ever Danish top-athletes have won 5 gold medals at the World Championships in Olympic Sports – and the total amount of medals won at European and world championship will be around 50.
Team Danmarks activities are based on an annual budget of around DKK 135 m, of which DKK 20m are provided by DIF.