London Spy

Where Britain’s medals will come from in 2016

London Spy

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Team GB enjoyed unprecedented success at the London 2012 Olympics - but UK Sport believes that the nation's athletes can do even better in four years' time at Rio 2016.

This summer's Games saw British athletes win 65 medals, more than at any Games since 1908 - and back then the Games were a very different affair, with just 22 countries taking part compared to the 204 who lined up in London.

Yet UK Sport believe that this is just the beginning of a new era of success for Britain at the Games.

"In terms of winning medals we think it is entirely possible to see progress in the next four years," said UK Sport's chief executive Liz Nicholl. "We can deliver more."

There is one caveat, however: while we could win more medals in Rio, matching London's achievement of 29 gold medals will be a tall order, with UK Sport's outgoing strategy guru Peter Keen admitting that he'd been shocked to see 45 per cent of Britain's medals end up being gold.

"What we can't take any credit for is the 29 golds. It was fantastically unexpected because the margins are so small," he said. "Laura Trott won one of her golds by 0.001 seconds, effectively. There is something about home advantage, the roar of the crowds and the enthusiasm, that has lifted us to a new level of performance."

Regardless of medal colour, exceeding the haul of 65 - just five medals short of the pre-Games 'best-case scenario' estimate of 70 - still seems like a lot to ask.

So where could those extra medals come from? Here's a few of our suggestions:

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Athletics

It's a little sad that the abiding memory of Adam Gemili from the Games will be the changeover mix-up which robbed Britain of a chance of a medal in the relay. But the 18-year-old is an enormous talent, with no less an authority than Tyson Gay suggesting that he could become "one of the greatest sprinters of all time".  But he is far from the only British athlete with a bright future: heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson, 110m hurdler Lawrence Clarke and pole vaulter Holly Bleasdale (hailed as Britain's "new pole vault star" by Yelena Isinbayeva) should all be among the medals in four years' time based on current form.

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Craig Benson

Swimming

Craig Benson is a former junior world champion and world record holder in the 100m breaststroke and should be at his peak at the next Games. 16-year-old Molly Renshaw was unlucky to miss out on selection for the Games given her outstanding junior record, and will also be champing at the bit next time round.

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Tom Daley

Diving

Tom Daley has claimed that he will "be at my peak" at Rio 2016, and will be targeting a medal in both individual and synchronised diving. Add in to that the boost in popularity that the 'Daley effect' is having on the sport and more talent is almost guaranteed to come through. Daley already has more Twitter followers (1.5m) than any Olympian apart from Usain Bolt - if he gets any more popular between now and 2016 then Rio's famous statue of 'Christ the Redeemer' may have to be replaced with one of 'Daley the Diver'.

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Rory McIlroy

Golf

It's hard not to feel sorry for Rory McIlroy, who won the second Major championship of his still-fledgling career on the final day of the Olympics, thereby ensuring that only diehard golf fans took any notice. Given that he will still only be 26 by the time Rio comes around he is already a red-hot favourite to become golf's first Olympic champion since 1936. Chuck in the likes of Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Justin Rose, Grame McDowell and Ian Poulter and it seems almost inconceivable that Britain won't win at least one medal.

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George North

Rugby Sevens

England are already a force to be reckoned with in the seven-man form of the game, but remember this will be no England team: it will be a British Lions sevens team which will be also be able to count on the likes of Wales's George North and Scotland's Richie Gray. It'd be hard for a team with players like that not to win a medal.

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Max Whitlock

Gymnastics

The extent of British gymnastic success in London was something of a surprise, but the exploits of Louis Smith and co are expected to be just the beginning for Team GB in the sport. Max Whitlock in particular - who will still only be 23 by the time Rio comes around - is expected to build on his pommel horse bronze.

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Freddie Evans

Boxing

The training and development programmes put in place helped Britain achieve its best-ever Olympic boxing squad in 2012. Dozens of new fighters are still coming through the ranks and competition merely to get a place will be fierce. British boxing chiefs expect to at least match the three gold medals from London 2012, with one of those expected to come from 21-year-old Chantelle Cameron, while London silver medallist Fred Evans has already stated that he wants to fight on to Rio 2016, regardless of whether boxing at the Games does indeed turn professional by then.

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