London 2012: Yorkshire - the county that's trouncing Australia in the Olympic medal table


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The Independent Online

For more than a thousand years Yorkshire has considered itself more than a mere county.

It wasn't until 1972 for example that the cricket club dropped the "nationality" condition for its players while White Rose diehards even celebrate their own national day on 1 August.

So it will come as a little surprise to those of us blessed to live within its 600 mile boundary of glorious hills, stunning coast and vibrant cities that Yorkshire has joined the top 10 of the Olympic medal table.

Success for heptathlete Jessica Ennis from Sheffield, triathlete Alistair Brownlee from Dewsbury, rowers Andrew Triggs-Hodge, from Grassington and Kat Copeland from Stokesley, as well as Ed Clancy from Huddersfield (who also won bronze) means that with five golds, Yorkshire is now ahead of economic and sporting powerhouses such as Australia, South Africa and Japan.

The county also has silvers in cycling – courtesy of Otley's Liz Armistead in the road race and Northallerton's Nicola Wilson in equestrian while Tom Ransley from York won bronze in the men's rowing eights.

Yorkshire boxers Nicola Adams, originally from Leeds, and Luke Campbell from Hull are also guaranteed bronze.

Professional Yorkshireman, cricket umpire Dickie Bird, was elated at the success of his beloved county.

"The Yorkshire competitors have done absolutely brilliantly. Yorkshire folk are wonderful, wonderful people known for their hard work and sheer Yorkshire grit which has pulled them through," he said.

Yorkshire Post sports journalist Nick Westby who first alerted the world to the trend, believes investment in sports facilities in Sheffield and Leeds had helped build on the trademark work ethic.

He points out that Yorkshire has been well represented in the most successful teams such as rowing and cycling, which has helped the medals flow. But he also agreed there was something in the unique character of the place. "I think we are just very dedicated people who work very hard," he said.

Of course some will argue that some of the winners are in fact "plastic" Yorkshire men and women – not part of the six million "indigenous" population.

Copeland rows for the Tees Rowing Club and lives in Ingleby Barwick near Middlesbrough, an area that was separated from the county under the 1972 Local Government Act, although this cuts little ice with traditional Tykes who consider anything south of the Tees to be rightfully theirs. Ransley was not born in the county while Adams boxes in London.

If Yorkshire were a country....

1. China: 31 Gold, 19 Silver, 14 Bronze = 64 medals

2. USA: 29 Gold, 15 Silver, 19 Bronze = 63 Medals

3. Great Britain (minus Yorkshire):  14 Gold, 10 Silver, 11 Bronze = 35 medals

4. South Korea: 11 Gold, 5 silver, 6 bronze = 22 medals

5. France: 8 Gold, 9 Silver, 9 Bronze = 26 medals

6. Russia: 7 Gold, 17 Silver, 18 Bronze = 42 medals

7. Italy: 7 Gold, 6 Silver, 4 Bronze = 17 medals

8. Kazakhstan: 6 Gold, 0 Silver, 1 Bronze = 7 medals

9. Germany: 5 Gold, 10 Silver, 7 Bronze = 22 medals

10. Yorkshire 5 Gold, 2 Silver, 1 Bronze = 8 medals

Meanwhile sporting powerhouses Australia, South Africa and Japan languish behind....

16. South Africa: 3 Gold, 1, Silver, 0 Bronze = 4 medals

18. Japan: 2 Gold, 12 Silver, 14 Bronze = 28 medals

19. Australia: 2 Gold, 12 Silver, 8 Bronze = 22 medals