THE Victorian Institute of Sport has dumped its best known names - twice world champion hurdler Jana Pittman and distance runner Craig Mottram - in favour of younger athletes with a better chance of winning medals at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016.
Track and field program manager Derek Boothroyd confirmed there had been a cleanout, with junior athletes who had performed at the recent world championships in Barcelona now the stars of the scholarship program.
They include 19-year-old shot-putter Damien Birkenhead, who won bronze in Barcelona, and long jumper Brooke Stratton, 18, and javelin thrower Luke Cann, 18, who both came seventh in their events.
''At the end of an Olympic cycle we place heavy importance on performance at championship event,'' Boothroyd said. ''What we are now supporting is a group of athletes we think will be able to deliver in Rio and beyond.''
Pittman said she would try out for the Winter Olympics' two-woman bobsled team early next year, with twice Olympic bobsled pilot Astrid Loch-Wilkinson. The pair will begin training in Russia and Germany within weeks.
She also hopes to study medicine, having passed a medical entrance exam and done several interviews with Melbourne universities last week.
She was grateful to have been a part of the institute for a decade and planned to return as a mentor, she said.
Mottram, described last year by Ron Clarke as Australia's greatest distance runner, did not make the 5000-metre final in London but has not ruled out going to a fifth Olympics in Rio.