UK Sport has come out with some ambitious predictions for the medal count they hope to achieve in Rio. Great Britain will attempt to do something no other nation has done, increase their medal count after hosting an Olympic Games. UK Sport estimates that they will bring home anywhere from 48-79 medals from Rio.
Their prediction has a large margin of error, but they have stated that their ultimate goal is to beat their total medal count of 65 that they earned in London.
“Targeting a record breaking away Olympic Games and a Paralympic medal haul that surpasses that of London 2012 shows the ambition and talent within our high performance system,” Liz Nicholl, CEO of UK Sport.
“Our aspirational goal to become the first host nation to eclipse our London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic medal haul has proved hugely motivational and we are delighted that these incredibly challenging goals sit within both Olympic and Paralympic medal ranges. This shows that our aspirational goal has kept British sport united, motivated and determined to build on those incredible successes in London.”
“We have a greater number of sports targeting medals that we did in Beijing in 2008, which shows a high performance system that is growing stronger and more sustainable Games after Games.”
In Beijing Great Britain earned 47 medals (19 gold, 13 silver and 15 bronze), which is the greatest number the nation has collected at an Olympic Games not on home soil.
The last three countries that have hosted the Games have failed to the surpass their medal counts four years later. The Australians earned 58 medals in 2000 then 50 in 2004, Greece collected 16 medals in 2004 then four in 2008 while China grabbed 100 medals in 2008 then 88 in 2012.
The disciplines that UK Sport are expecting the most from in Rio are cycling, athletics and swimming. They are predicting cycling will collect between eight and 10 medals, athletics will earn seven to nine medals and swimming will bring home three to five medals. In 2012 cycling won 12, athletics six and swimming three.
The three medals (one silver and two bronze) that the British swim team earned in London was considered a disappointment, which resulted in a change in leadership. In 2013 Bill Furniss was named the Technical Director and Chris Spice was appointed to be the High Performance Director. Their main objective was to change the mindset of the squad to enable them to have the toughness needed to win at the highest level.
If you compare Great Britain’s performance at the 2015 World Championships to the 2011 World Championships they look to be in a good position to earn more hardware Rio. In 2011 they finished sixth in the medal table tied with Italy with two gold and three silver and in 2015 they finished fourth in the medal standings with five gold, one silver and three bronze.
In both 2011 and 2015 one of those gold medals were earned in a non-Olympic event as Liam Tancock took the men’s 50 backstroke in 2011 while Adam Peaty won the men’s 50 breaststroke in 2015.
One of the strategies that British Swimming is hoping will improve performance was to create incredibly high standards for athletes to make their Olympic team. This initial result of this decision dramatically effect on the team’s size as they will be taking 26 athletes to Rio compared to the 44 they had competing in London. They will have to wait and see if raising the standards to make the squad will create a positive change in the team’s performance in Rio.
“Beijing 2008 was a record breaking Olympics for Team GB, but I’m confident we can top it in Rio and make this our best ever away Games, while ParalympicsGB can eclipse their haul from London,” said Simon Timson, Director of Performance at UK Sport.
“With the backing of National Lottery players and through our partnership with the British Olympic Association and the British Paralympic Association, ours will be the best supported and prepared athletes in Rio bar none, primed and ready to once again make the nation proud.”