With the world’s most famous sporting event set to start in just six weeks’ time, Team GB’s Olympic hopefuls will be making their final preparations. In 2012, our Olympians put in some impressive performances on home soil to win 65 medals between them. Will they be able to equal, or even beat, this total when they compete in Rio, and which of our sportsmen and sportswomen have the best chances of ending up on the podium?
Team GB’s Performance at London 2012 – A Tough Act to Follow
There’s no doubt that Team GB had an advantage four years ago, with the Olympics being held in the UK, and we’ll be asking a lot from our sports stars if we want them to bring home more than the 29 golds, 17 silvers and 19 bronzes that secured them their third place finish on the medal winners’ table.
Team GB includes some superb competitors, however, so there’s every possibility that our Olympians could return from the 2016 Games with a magnificent medal haul. Here’s a quick guide to some of the sporting disciplines in which Team GB’s members could excel:
Great Britain topped the cycling medal table at London 2012, clinching eight golds, two silvers and two bronzes, and our athletes put in superb performances within the velodrome and on the road. Unfortunately, things have been far from settled within Team GB’s camp in recent months, with British Cycling’s Technical Director, Shane Sutton, having resigned in April, following discrimination allegations. However, we still have a real chance to gain some podium places in the sport, with talented cyclists like Laura Trott, Jason Kenny, Chris Froome, Lizzie Armitstead and Emma Pooley hoping to compete.
Inspired by their recent European Championship success, our gymnasts will be ready to impress and could well take home some individual gold medals. With the Romanians failing to even qualify, they could even end up on the podium in the team events too, although the Chinese, American and Russian gymnasts are likely to be particularly tough to beat. Competition for team places is tight, but British stars could include Max Whitlock, the Downie sisters, Nile Wilson and Claudia Fragapane.
Team GB’s swimmers had high hopes of winning a host of medals in 2012, but only managed to claim three in the end. Michael Jamieson took silver in the Men’s 200m Breaststroke, while Rebecca Adlington won the bronze in both the Women’s 400m and 800m Freestyle events. With swimmers like Adam Peaty (a triple world champion), James Guy (a double world champion) and Siobhan-Marie O’Connor (a world champion) in the 2016 squad, however, we have the potential to win some gold medals this time.
After winning a bronze in 2012, Tom Daley will be keen to add another Olympic medal or two to his collection this year. He and Dan Goodfellow won the silver for the Synchronised 10m Platform in the recent European Championships and will be hoping to go one better in Rio. Tom will competing in the Individual 10m Platform category too. Other divers to look out for include Tonia Couch and Lois Tolson in the Women’s 10m Synchro, and Jack Laugher, the world bronze medallist, who is set to compete in the Men’s Individual 3m event and team up with Chris Mears for the Men’s Synchronised 3m competition.
Team GB has a history of performing well in a range of other sporting categories, including sailing, rowing, boxing, shooting, the triathlon and the equestrian events.
In January, Simon Timson, the Director of Performance at UK Sport, told the BBC that the team had the potential to take home as many as 79 medals from the Games. So could it be a gold rush for Team GB in Rio? We’ll find out very soon.
How successful do you think Team GB will be at the Olympics? Which athletes do you think have the best chance of winning? Leave a comment and let us know.