LEADING BRITISH MEDAL CONTENDERS IN ATLANTA: A SPORT-BY-SPORT GUIDE

ARCHERY

Alison Williamson

United Kingdom champion who holds 30 national records. Won a silver medal at 1992 European Championships. First Briton to be awarded archery scholarship to a US college, Arizona State University. Aged 24, from Church Stretton, Shropshire.

ATHLETICS

Linford Christie

(100m, 200m)

Now that he has decided to enter the fray, Britain's top sprinter has a chance of defending his title that is based, not so much on his early- season times, as his guile and experience of running rounds. The 100m offers the best opportunity of a gold medal. Outside chance in the 200m.

John Regis

(200m)

The quality of athletes in this event means that Regis will have to be in top form to make an impact. Has steadily recovered his form after Achilles tendon problems. At best an outside chance of a bronze medal.

Roger Black

(400m)

After lowering the British record to 44.37sec last week, his experience and attitude give him an outside chance of a medal. Due a good Olympics.

4 x 400m relay

With four runners under 45 seconds this year - an unprecedented depth of performance - silver is possible. Gold would require a US blunder similar to that of the 1991 world championships.

Colin Jackson

(110m hurdles)

Returning to something like his best form after tendinitis in his knee. American Allen Johnson's early-season excellence may take some pressure off the world record holder.

Tony Jarrett

(110m hurdles)

World silver medallist last year, narrowly missed out on bronze in Barcelona. Looking good after spoiling his indoor season through over-training at altitude.

Steve Smith

(High jump)

Natural competitor, as high jump world bronze from '93 and silvers at the '94 European Championships and Commonwealth Games confirm. Desperately unlucky not to get a medal in '92. Should make it this year.

Dalton Grant

(High jump)

A competitor who shows real nerve when the occasion demands. Yet to reach top form, but cannot be ruled out.

Steve Backley

(Javelin)

The man who returned from injury to retain his Commonwealth and European titles in '94, and followed up with world silver last year, is back in contention once again despite his recent Achilles tendon operation.

Jonathan Edwards

(Triple jump)

The world champion and world record holder may have stuttered in his run-up to Atlanta but he still looks the Briton most likely to win an athletics gold.

Kelly Holmes

(800m, 1500m)

Whether she chooses to run one or both distances, the army sergeant appears sure to add to the bronze and silver she took at last year's world championships.

Sally Gunnell

(400m hurdles)

After a year's absence with injury, the defending champion enters these Games as a contender with ground to make up on her rivals rather than the favourite. Her experience and championship record stand in her favour, but her hopes have been slimmed down yet further by the new heel problem which flared up last week.

Ashia Hansen

(Triple jump)

Still a query over attitude to major competition, given her failure to qualify at last year's world championships and '94 European championships. Recent performances indicate medal potential.

Liz McColgan

(Marathon)

Back on a high after her London victory in April. Won her world 10,000m gold five years ago in the kind of heat and humidity she will encounter in Atlanta. Trains regularly in Florida and says conditions will not daunt her.

Denise Lewis

(Heptathlon)

One of Britain's most improved female athletes. Her recent UK record of 6,645 points in Gotzis, Austria, has set her up for a genuine medal challenge. Has dropped the long jump to concentrate on the heptathlon.

BADMINTON

Julie Bradbury

The best bet to win Britain's first ever badminton medal. England's most consistent player, she has genuine chances in both women's and mixed doubles.

BOXING

David Burke

(Featherweight)

The only hope from Britain's pitifully small squad, the 21-year-old Liverpool southpaw is technically sound and a favourable draw could yield a bronze medal.

CANOEING

Lynn Simpson

(K1 Slalom)

The 25-year-old from Nottingham won the 1995 World Championship and the team silver. Also won the 1995 World Cup final on Ocoee River, in Tennessee - where the Olympic event will take place.

Rachel Crosby

(K1 Slalom)

Fourth in the 1995 World Championship and the World Cup tour event in Germany, the 27-year-old from St Albans won the British selection trial at Grand Tully in Scotland in March.

Shaun Pearce

(K1 Slalom)

World Champion back in 1991, was world ranked No 2 last year, and No 1 in 1994 after coming second in the English and German World Cup events. Aged 26, from Newbury.

CYCLING

Chris Boardman

(42km road time trial, road race)

Britain's premier cyclist is a specialist in against-the-clock races on road and track which have brought him the Olympic 4,000m title, world road time trial, world 4,000m pursuit crown, and the prestigious yellow jersey of Tour de France leader.

Graeme Obree

(4,000m pursuit, road time trial)

Will be better suited to the pursuit track event where he is world champion and record holder. After making his name on a home-made bike, Obree is now equipped with new pounds 120,000 track bike. Out to prove that he is Britain's top rider.

Max Sciandri

(Road race)

British born, Italian bred. Best showings came in 1995 with impressive Tour de France stage win and Leeds Classic World Cup victory. Atlanta circuit should suit him more than most Britons. . Caroline Alexander

(Mountain bike Race)

As European champion with a string of international performances, including the 1996 Tour of Britain victory, she is a golden hope in the inaugural race for this cross-country discipline.

Yvonne McGregor

(3,000m pursuit, road time trial)

Apart from a world record and Commonwealth Games points title, her British 3,000m record of 3:35.625, the world's second-fastest time in history, marks her as our best pursuiter since multi-champion Beryl Burton.

DIVING

Robert Morgan

Fifth in platform event at Barcelona and appeared at both the Los Angeles and Seoul games. The 29-year-old from Sheffield is also the Commonwealth platform champion and was the 1990 European 3-metre springboard champion.

HOCKEY

Women

Well organised defensively, vastly experienced in midfield and without doubt the best-prepared British squad but lacking in flair and goalscoring ability. Unlikely to better their bronze in Barcelona.

Men

Drawn with Australia, Netherlands and Korea. Without a proven replacement for Sean Kerly, goals are scarce and they need a dramatic change of form. Specialist penalty-corner striker Calum Giles could put them in the semi-finals.

EQUESTRIANISM

Three-day event

New Zealand are favourites, but that will not necessarily stop Great Britain from beating them - as they did in world and European championships in 1994 and 1995. Team and individual contests are separate for the first time. If chosen for the latter, Leslie Law and Ian Stark would have good medal chances.

Show Jumping

The Great Britain show jumping team (the Whitaker brothers, Nick Skelton and Geoff Billington) have been exuding confidence this year. Team manager Ronnie Massarella believes they could win gold despite the ominous form of the German team in Aachen.

JUDO

Nigel Donohue

(Bantamweight)

1995 European champion. At 26, he is a total maverick, who could win the event or lose in the first round.

Julian Davies

(Featherweight)

European silver medallist. Emerged as a top-level fighter at 25. Limited technique but devastating yoko-otoshi (side drop). JUDO continued . . .

Danny Kingston

(Lightweight)

European champion. Unquestioned flair. The 23-year-old has broken through to top billing this year, but only the Olympics will tell if he is really ready to beat them all and claim gold.

Diane Bell

(Light-middleweight)

Former world and European champion. The 32-year-old has been consistently successful at the very highest level over 15 years. She can strangle, throw, and above all fight.

Sharon Rendle

(Featherweight)

Former world and present European featherweight champion. At 29, an immensely experienced and durable campaigner - solid, hard. One to watch.

Nicola Fairbrother

(Lightweight)

Olympic silver medallist. An intelligent and courageous 25-year-old, who now has her back to the wall and needs to walk in to the stadium like a street-fighter rather than a technician.

Kate Howey

(Light-heavyweight)

Former world and European silver medallist. Has gone off the boil recently but could win bronze.

Michelle Rogers

(Heavyweight)

European bronze medallist. The odds say that at 19 she is too young and too inexperienced to come through at Atlanta - but she is combative, stable, and 6ft 2in of muscle and sinew. Amazons win at judo.

MODERN PENTATHLON

Richard Phelps

The 1993 world champion; 13th in Barcelona, fourth in LA and team bronze in Seoul. Now 35.

ROWING

Steven Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent

(Coxless pair)

Still the team to beat. No one has beaten the pair since they won by five seconds in Barcelona. The chasing pack is closer now, but will not stop Olympic history being written by the world's strongest pair.

Rupert Obholzer, Greg Searle, Jonny Searle, Tim Foster

(Coxless four)

Showmen who frustrate their fans and themselves by losing everything except the great races. Could finish the race anywhere from first position to seventh. The Searle brothers already possess Olympic gold (in the now defunct coxed pairs). If it comes right for this quartet, it will be a last gasp effort.

Andy Sinton, Nick Strange

(Lightweight double scull)

Speed developed late in the season may be enough to carry them up rankings. Sinton now with his third partner in three years, but compatibility works wonders. Experienced team.

SAILING

John Merricks, Ian Walker

(Men's 470)

Can dominate the opposition, but have tripped in the World Championship (2nd) and in defending their European championship (3rd). Fast in a breeze.

Ben Ainslie

(Laser)

So far unaffected by the sort of pressures that experience engenders. Recent winner of European Championship.

Andy Beadsworth, Barry Parkin, Adrian Stead

(Soling)

Complex mixture of talents and personalities whose main problem will be achieving a top six in the fleet racing to qualify for the match race final, where they will be a threat to anyone.

Penny Wilson

(Mistral windsurfer)

As Penny Way, was world champion in 1990 and 1991, but felt the pressure and was fifth in Barcelona. Now 34, has a new regime, revised attitudes and was fifth in this year's worlds. Could surprise.

Shirley Robertson

(Europe)

Previously world champion in 1993 and sporting a hi-tech

carbon-fibre mast developed especially for her. A definite chance of a medal though a good start is vital to settle her sometimes nervy tactics.

Glyn Charles, George Skuodas

(Star)

Late contenders in a difficult class, beat Lawrie Smith for the British place and some top names at the Spa regatta. Short of light airs speed, but the dark horses. Will have to produce an impressive performance.

Ian Rhodes, David Williams

(Tornado)

Persuaded to take up the Olympic Tornado after strong results in the Hurricane catamaran. Lightweight mainsail could bring speed edge.

SHOOTING

Richard Faulds

(Double trap)

The 19-year-old from Andover was 1993, 94 and 95 clay pigeon shooting junior world champion. Has since changed to the double trap and won a bronze in 1995 European Championships.

SWIMMING

Nick Gillingham

(200m breaststroke)

Gillingham, 29, has reached veteran stage but thinks he has a better chance than ever before of getting a gold. As he is a former world record holder and already has a silver and bronze in the 200 metres breaststroke it would be wise to listen to him.

Sarah Hardcastle

(400m, 800m freestyle)

Hardcastle, a silver and bronze medallist in 1984, came out of retirement four years ago because she saw her events had not progressed. "I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't think I could get a medal," she says. More likely to succeed in 800m than over the shorter distance.

Graeme Smith

(800m, 1500m freestyle)

At the Olympic trials, Smith broke both British records and as the longer event is a rare one, in which we have more than one world-class performer, he has a strong chance. After finishing eighth in the World Championships, a bronze is well within his reach if he can shake off his hero worship of the world record holder, the Australian Kieron Perkins.

Paul Palmer

(200m, 400m, 1500m freestyle)

If his energy reserves last he could finish in one of the top three positions, particularly in the 400m freestyle in which he got a silver in last year's European Championships. Also won a bronze in the World Short Course Championships three years ago.

TENNIS

Tim Henman

A star in the making, have no doubt. With a much stronger first serve, a level head, and only 21 years old, he just needs a good draw to shine brightly. Became a household name after his impressive showing at this year's Wimbledon. Should do well if he can bear the burden of public expectation.

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