Faster, younger, more female: Team GB shows its Olympic hand
Britain took an early Olympic lead yesterday by being the first nation to register its full line-up of competitors with the London Organising Committee. The 542-strong Team GB includes a record number of female athletes, of whom the youngest is 15-year-old Rebecca Tunney, a gymnast
While most 15-year-old girls enjoy a relaxing break from school this summer, Rebecca Tunney will be taking on the world's finest athletes in front of a television audience of millions. Yesterday the teenage gymnast from Manchester became the youngest Briton to be included in an Olympic squad for more than 100 years.
Rebecca, who is just 4ft 9in tall, is one of a record 262 female athletes who have secured a place in Team GB for the London Games – 143 more than travelled to Beijing four years ago, taking the proportion of female athletes from 46 to 48 per cent.
The full 542-name list of Team GB competitors was announced yesterday, as the British Olympic Association became the first country to register its squad with the London Organising Committee and officially enter the games. Andy Hunt, the TeamGB chef de mission, said he was "particularly delighted" by the number of women in the team.
He added: "We have seen women from Great Britain and Northern Ireland at the forefront of Olympic sports over the past four years and I believe that, together with their male teammates, and with the support of the nation behind them, they will unite the country and inspire many future generations with their performances this summer."
Rebecca, who was recently crowned British champion in her first year of senior competition, trains at the same Liverpool club as Beth Tweddle, the team's experienced 27-year-old captain.
Her friends have given her the nickname "Twiglet", apparently because of her short stature and knobbly knees. "I am not 5ft, I have been told that I am not even going to reach 5ft. My mum is quite small, too," she said at last month's British Championships.
Rules state that competitors must turn 16 in Olympic year to be eligible. Rebecca's birthday is on October 26.
The 542 athletes will be joined by 519 support staff and 300 volunteers to complete a 1,360-strong Team GB delegation.
Only at the 1908 Olympic Games in London, where 676 athletes represented Great Britain, did the UK have a larger team. At the last Olympics in Beijing, the UK entered 311 athletes.
Manchester United vs Chelsea: Louis van Gaal - I could have axed Ryan Giggs and I could have sacked Jose Mourinho, too!
Manchester United vs Chelsea: Radamel Falcao a doubt for Premier League clash
Real Madrid vs Barcelona player ratings: Luis Suarez rated on his debut
Gus Poyet future: Sunderland manager on brink after Arsenal pile misery on top of 8-0 defeat
Manchester United vs Chelsea analysis: Simplest errors at the back are leaving United very vulnerable, writes Danny Higginbotham
- 1 Stem cells that can kill cancer have been engineered by scientists
- 2 Ricky Gervais and Dame Judi Dench back campaign to stop Thailand dog meat trade
- 3 Russell Brand says he will 'probably' give up acting to focus on his revolution
- 4 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
- 5 Queen's first tweet: Reply telling Her Majesty to 'f*** off' broadcast on BBC News
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Tony Blair 'says Ed Miliband will lose 2015 general election'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Putin: The US is to blame for almost all the world's major conflicts
Attacks on 'Ukip Calypso' show how skewed people’s priorities are