Team GB’s historic performance at London 2012 continued today with the team surpassing the minimum target set by UK Sport for Olympic sports of at least 48 medals, marking Great Britain’s most successful Olympic Games in over a century.
The bronze medal won by Robbie Grabarz in the High Jump took GB’s tally to 48 medals – one more than the performance of the team in Beijing with 5 days of competition remaining. Earlier today, triathlon became the 12th sport to earn an Olympic medal – achieving the second component of the UK Sport target, which was for more sports to medal than the 11 who did so in Beijing.
UK Sport set out its ambitions for Team GB in July for the final Mission 2012 submissions of the London cycle, with a record 20 sports targeting medals in London (of which 14 had a medal as the bottom of their target range).
Using the aggregate of each individual sport’s range, UK Sport published a medal range of between 40 and 70 medals, from which it committed to a target of a minimum of 48 medals, from at least 12 sports with an aspiration to achieve a top four finish in the medal table.
Today, Team GB roared beyond the target range, and with more medal prospects on the horizon, looks well set to thoroughly eclipse the haul from Beijing, which was Great Britain’s best since the 1908 London Olympics.
Chair of UK Sport, Baroness Sue Campbell CBE paid tribute to the impact of sustained investment, through the Exchequer and National Lottery, and the commitment of the athletes and support teams, in reaching this remarkable milestone:
“It has been an incredible journey, since winning the Olympic bid in 2005, putting in place the foundations on which we have built a truly world class, sustainable, high performance system. The backing of The National Lottery and the Government over the past 15 years, and more recently, from Team 2012, have made available the critical investment which was needed.
Baroness Campbell continues: “However, the financial support is just one component. This achievement belongs to the athletes, their coaches, their support staff, and families; as well as the remarkable crowds who have shouted themselves hoarse in support of Team GB. Together they have provided some truly memorable moments, whether on the water, in the velodrome or on the tracks, inspiring a nation and our next generation of Olympians.”
Liz Nicholl OBE, Chief Executive of UK Sport, said that the success of London bodes well for Rio 2016: “We are absolutely delighted that this important and ground-breaking benchmark has been met today. It’s credit to the sports and the athletes that they have risen to the challenge in such emphatic fashion.”
Nicholl adds that attention now turns to UK Sport’s goal of top 4 in the medal table: “When we set our performance targets and goals, we stated very clearly that we believed, on the basis of the track record of sports and athletes, that a top four finish on the medal table was very achievable. Everything we have seen in the London Olympic Games so far confirms this.”
“We have always known that there is a very good correlation between the number of medals won, and the number of gold medals. However, our ‘conversion’ of medals to gold medals in these Games has been outstanding – so much so that it’s now feasible that we could even maintain the current third place in the table, which would be a truly amazing outcome.”
Peter Keen CBE, Special Advisor for Performance at UK Sport, said: “Our ‘no compromise’ approach has helped us make the right, if at times tough, investment decisions and focus our support on our best medal prospects over the past cycle.
“The success of Team GB has been underpinned by absolute commitment to excellence, exploring every avenue to extract the fullest potential of sports and athletes. They are determined to be the best they can be, and in so many cases, have shown they are truly the best in the world. Further, I am confident that the foundations are in place for us to continue to aim high for many years to come.”
Sport and Olympics Minister, Hugh Robertson MP said:
"Team GB's performance has been nothing short of superb. Bettering our medal count in Beijing, these incredible and inspirational performances in so many sports show the power of a well-managed, sustained and focussed funding programme.
“National Lottery and exchequer investment has played its part in helping many of our finest athletes reach the podium and has helped set up an elite sport talent pathway to be proud of."