Team GB not putting pressure on swim team
Team GB chief Andy Hunt knows the importance of early medals at this year's London 2012 Olympics - but refused to put pressure on the swim team to deliver them.
After this week's British Gas Swimming Championships at the Olympic Aquatics Centre, 38 swimmers have formally earned their slots on the team, with more spaces available in June's second chance trials in Sheffield.
Included among them are serious medal hopes Hannah Miley, who swims in the 400m medley on the first day of competition, double Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington, who competes in the 400m freestyle 24 hours later, and world record holder Gemma Spofforth, who goes in the 100m backstroke on the third full day of competition.
Add into that mix the podium potential of Ellen Gandy, Fran Halsall and Liam Tancock, plus Adlington in her signature 80m freestyle, and a successful swim meet could get Team GB off to a first week flyer.
Hunt was in Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympics when Canada, who had never won a gold on home soil, despite twice previously hosting the Games, impatiently waited until the third day before moguls skier Alexandre Bilodeau finally broke their duck - and they went on to finish top of the medal table.
"We all know that early medals are very important and set the tone for the country," said Hunt, the chef de mission of the 550-strong team and chief executive of the British Olympic Association.
"In Canada those first three days were a complete blank in respect of gold medals. It was an unusual situation of hosting three times and never winning a gold.
"That was counterbalanced with the Own The Podium programme, which was fiercely focused on home advantage.
"Early medals are important but I am not putting pressure on anyone, one sport or discipline.
"When you look right across our sports, in those early few days there is a great depth of talent and there are some great lead performance indicators."