11 Aug 2012

Target practice: Britain’s medal hits and misses

UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee’s “ambitious” goal of 48 medals and fourth place for Team GB now seems to be an underestimate.

Even with the poor performance in swimming events, Great Britain have managed to turn a medal deficit into a total gold surplus.

With 59 medals in the bag so far and the home nation sitting comfortably in third, Beijing’s tally of 47 is clearly not a one-off.

There are 14 sports in which Great Britain expected medals, and six more were optimistically projected as targets.

That means the British Olympic worst-case scenario would see London 2012 end with no fewer than 40 medals, but a top score of 70.

Channel 4 News has charted Beijing’s projections with those for London and you can see how we fared below.

London 2012


The Games guarantee at least a bronze medal in four men’s boxing events after Luke Campbell, Anthony Joshua, Anthony Ogogo and Fred Evans made it through to their semi-finals.

Falling short

The near misses of Team GB’s “almost army” means more than places on the medals table: UK Sport directly calculates funding based on how each sport performs against their targets.

British Swimming runs the risk of a cut to its £26.1m award after it failed to reach even the conservative estimate of five medals.

But it is not just a cut which could loom for underachieving sports – gymnastics, canoeing and judo look likely to be given a larger chunk of the overall £264m pot for smashing their goals, leaving less money to go around.

But do not expect Great Britain’s Rio 2016 team to be just judokus and gymnasts, as the process over successive Games is cyclical.

After completely missing out on two expected judo medals in Beijing, the London team doubled the target of just one medal this summer.

Beijing 2008