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Team GB At The 2012 London Olympics
In the London 2012 Olympics Britain, or Team GB as they are known these days achieved a fantastic medal haul of 65 and a lot of really memorable performances throughout a host of sports.
In all of the modern Olympic games staged so far this was the 2nd best that they have ever done. When you take into account that their best medal total in 1908 of 146 medals with 56 Gold was against a lot less competing nations and in some events you were guaranteed a medal because of the lack of competitors
Britains performances this time was a magnificent achievement for a country not always noted for great sporting achievements in some sports. The funding for athletes has greatly increased in recent years and the results definitely show that they work and that the raw materials have probably always been there to succeed.
Britain finished 4th in the overall medal table in 2008 inBeijing with a total of 47 medals-19 of them gold. Many wondered whether this would prove difficult to meet in the home games in 2012 but after a tentative start Team GB certainly came good and excelled in many sports. This time they achieved an overall medal finish of 3rd only behind the sporting super powers of USA and China. They achieved a total of 65 medals this time with 29 gold 17 silver and 19 bronze.
At the start of the competition it is fair to say that many people in Britain weren’t too enthusiastic about the games and thought they were a waste of a lot of money but as they started and gathered pace each day the momentum built and most of the country seemed to really buy into them in a big way and got behind the achievements of the athletes.
Britain, though, had a slow start in the medal tables. The commentators and newspapers were wondering where the first gold medal would come from. After 4 days they had won a few silver and bronze but no gold and there was a feeling that this could be embarrassing games for the home nation.
But a look at the events to come where a lot of medals would be decided and surely Britain would start to pick up. That was how it proved. On the 5th day out of the 16 competition days the first gold came through rowers Helen Glover and Heather Stanning and a few hours later and cyclist Bradley Wiggins who had recently become the first Brit to win the Tour de France won here too in the road race. This had been his 4th gold medal and his 7th medal overall and made him the Brit with the most Olympic medals overtaking rowing legend Sir Steve Redgrave.
After this the medals started appearing at a relentless rate as confidence grew throughout the team. The media were now in their element and celebrated every medal and achievement with vigour. The rowing and cycling teams were relentless winning a host of medals
But a real strength this time round was that the medals were shared around a large amount of sports. Also people seemed to come from a lot of different backgrounds as well as different parts of the country. Indeed at certain points we were told that just the medal winners from Yorkshire alone would have been in the top 10. The same for athletes from Scotland. Another real breakthrough was the success for women in the team as this games saw women win 10 golds which was much higher than anything before.
Some events they maybe expected success in but others there was a real shock as they made a breakthrough into winning medals.
Overall the medals came from cycling,rowing,athletics,equestrian,boxing,sailing,canoing,tennis,triathlon,taekwondo,shooting,gymnastics,swimming,judo,modern pentathlon,hockey and diving.
Cyclist Sir Chris Hoy was to win 2 Gold medals during these games and joined Wiggins with 7 medals overall and he was to take another title from Redgrave as the Brit with most golds with now 6 in all. Britains best day came on Saturday August 4th when a total of 6 Golds were won. Two in the rowing. One in the cycling and 3 in athletics. Those who witnessed the events of that day will never forget them,especially in the athletics stadium where Jessica Ennis won the heptathlon,Greg Rutherford won the long jump and Mo Farah won the 10,000 metres all in less than 50 minutes and roared on by a crowd at absolute fever pitch.
The crowds certainly were fantastic and backed their athletes to the hilt in all sorts of events. Many will say that a lot of success wouldn’t have been achieved without the home support but it shows that these individuals have it in them to reach such heights.
Before the start of these games I was probably questioning why a country should celebrate an individuals success as it is that person who has done the work and who reaps the benefits. But the more the games went on I was becoming more supportive and patriotic. Cheering for good marks in gymnastics. A goal scored in hockey. A victory in judo. In short cheering victories in sports that I didn’t even know the rules of.
It’s only after watching you realise that all of these sportsmen and women can be inspiring. Maybe some people will take up a sport having watched it here or just buy into their work ethic and give 100% and go after their goals.
The funding had been increasing over recent Olympics. I hope that wasn’t just in the build up to hosting the games and not wanting to appear embarrassing. Hopefully it will continue. For 2 weeks the athletes performed brilliantly and brought a lot of smiles to the country and maybe also some lessons that we could all learn about hard work and humility which makes a change from a lot of other recent role models out there.