Robin Scott Elliot: Don't look down at the Aussies – GB should target third place
Thursday 05 July 2012
Hugh Robertson, the Olympics Minister, has struck a bet with his Australian counterpart. If Britain finish higher in the medal table, then Kate Lundy will don a GB vest and row the Olympic course at Eton Dornay; if Australia do, then Robertson will dribble a hockey ball around Australia House in London, sporting green and gold.
Robertson should sleep easy because while UK Sport, with the minister's blessing, looks to play down expectations, there is a strong case to be made for Britain seeking to be upwardly mobile rather than worrying who might overtake them.
The target of one more medal than Beijing four years ago would make it Britain's best Games since 1908. But such is the advance that our Olympic sports have made over the last 15 years – since, crucially, Lottery funding began – this team, the largest since 1908, should achieve more.
The mid-range of UK Sport's forecast is 55. That does not try to measure any sort of home advantage, which has led to up to a 25 per cent rise. It is the known unknown of Olympic sport and it could propel Team GB into the sixties.
Rather than Australians, it is the Russians, third in Beijing and four gold medals better off, whom Robertson should be laying wagers with.
- 1 Are you turning into your dad? The top ten signs you've embraced dad-ism revealed as survey says 38 is age men turn into their father
- 2 Overheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
- 3 Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'
- 4 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 5 Grace Dent on TV: Game of Thrones has jumped the shark
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave