The investment behind Britain’s best Olympic result in over 100 years

The investment behind Britain’s best Olympic result in over 100 years
  • Fernando Duarte
  • BBC Brazil in Rio de Janeiro

Illustrative image,

British women celebrate winning a bronze medal in the relay race at Rio 2016

Given the atmosphere of national celebration that prevailed at the London Olympics (2012), in which the British team achieved its best medal result in more than 100 years, the country’s sports authorities warned of a possible decline in performance at Rio 2016.

The conservative stance now appears modest: on court, field, track, rings and pools in Rio, Team GB not only surpassed the number of medals taken on home soil, but also achieved their best result in the overall medal table (67) at the most recent tournament. Gaming era, behind only the United States and ahead of China.

Britain’s performance, although it surpassed the 2012 competition by just two medals, was surprising because it defied a kind of sporting performance law: the nations hosting the Games showed a decline in performance in the next edition of the competition. It is a list that included the Chinese themselves, who won 100 medals in 2008, when Beijing hosted, and 88 in London four years later.

How do we explain the British success? The answer is not that simple, but it is closely linked to what the country that “invented” a series of modern sports was able to describe as an abject failure at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. That year, the British team finished the competition with fifteen medals (one gold, eight silver and six bronze), To occupy 36th place in the general classification, behind Brazil.

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