How Team GB smashed the medals target

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Super cyclists and relentless rowers ensured funding will be no issue for them on the road to Rio having surpassed UK Sport's targets – but other athletes will not be so lucky

THE BIG FIVE

Cycling

Prediction 6-10

Medals 12 (8 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze)

It was yet again an outstanding Games for Dave Brailsford, his small army of back-room staff and a team of cyclists steeped in a tradition of winning Olympic gold medals. It was supposed to be harder than Beijing following changes to the track programme and a limit of one rider per country per race, but Britain again won eight golds – no other country managed more than one. Chris Hoy, now Britain's most decorated Olympian, and Victoria Pendleton have ridden off into the sunset – although Hoy is likely to ride for Scotland in the 2014 Commonwealth Games – but there is no reason to fear for the future in Rio. Laura Trott is a double gold medallist at the age of 20, Jason Kenny has already shown he can succeed Hoy and there's talk of Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish returning to the track for 2016.

Rating *****

Athletics

Prediction 5-8

Medals 6 (4 gold 1 silver 1 bronze)

It seems extraordinary that Charles van Commenee may move on – there is a suggestion that Brazil are keen on the Dutchman giving their team a much needed pre-Rio rally – after his athletes provided the seminal British moments of the Games. But Van Commenee said pre-Games it was eight or bust for him and they fell two short. There were some disappointments, the relays, Dai Greene and Phillips Idowu chief among them, but the two Mo moments and Jessica Ennis brought a marked improvement on Beijing, where only a solitary gold was won. This was just the third time Britain have won four track-and-field golds, and one of those was the boycotted Moscow Games of 1980. High praise also has to be directed towards Greg Rutherford, who provided one of the best examples of a British athlete being inspired by the home support.

Rating: ***

Sailing

Prediction 3-5

Medals 5 (1 gold, 4 silver)

Top end of the target met and that glorious fourth gold for Ben Ainslie – a job well done in Weymouth. Or is it? Richard Parks, the performance director, and the sailors themselves will not be happy with the outcome. It is a downturn from Beijing, where Britain topped the medal table with six, four of them gold. Here they were third behind Australia and Spain, with Australia winning three times as many gold. It is the first time they have stood above Britain since 1992. Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson were disappointed to win silver in the Star – the failure to turn silver into gold is a new problem for Britain's fleet, but having hit the top end of their target are unlikely to face any reduction in their funding level, which was £22.9m for London 2012. One man who has never had a problem winning gold is Ainslie, who with characteristic nerve shrugged off a poor start to win the Finn class for a third Games in a row to add to his Laser success in Sydney.

Rating: ***

Rowing

Prediction 6

Medals 9 (4 gold, 2 silver, 3 bronze)

Can stand shoulder to broad shoulder with cycling as Britain's success story of the Games. In simple terms, they doubled the number of golds from Beijing, entered 13 crews in London and all 13 got to their finals, nine of them then winning a medal. It is the best return Britain has ever enjoyed from an Olympic regatta. It was fitting that it was rowing – through Helen Glover and Heather Stanning – who claimed Britain's first gold of the Games. And also the best received, Katherine Grainger (with a little help from Anna Watkins) at last turning silver into gold. This was a breakthrough Games for Britain's female rowers with three of the four golds coming from women's boats, the first this country has ever won at the Games (the missing duo are Kat Copeland and Sophie Hosking). It was the best-funded sport through this Olympic cycle and can expect an improvement on that £27.3m when UK Sport announces the round to Rio in December.

Rating: *****

Swimming

Prediction 5-7

Medals 3 (1 silver 2 bronze)

It is going to be an anxious few months for both the coaching staff and swimmers. One man who is safe is Michael Scott, the performance director who was, in a peculiar piece of management by British Swimming, given a new four-year deal before the Games. Scott had assembled the best squad of British swimmers in a generation but, with a handful of exceptions, they failed to deliver not only on the medal target set by UK Sport but also on bettering their personal bests – a must when everything is designed to peak at the Olympics. Michael Jamieson emerged to win a surprise silver, while Rebecca Adlington deserves due acknowledgement as Britain's greatest female swimmer – four Olympic finals, four medals. But most of the rest was dreadfully disappointing. They will pay for it with a loss of funding.

Rating *

THE MID-RANKERS

Boxing

Prediction 3-5

Medals 5 (3 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze)

The best Games by British boxers since 1908. Nicola Adams won the first women's gold and was joined on top of the podium by Luke Campbell and Anthony Joshua.

Rating ****

Canoeing

Prediction 3-4

Medals 4 (2 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze)

That canoeing's rewarding Games meets its target demonstrates the standards UK Sport demands in return for record funding.

Rating ****

Equestrianism

Prediction 3-4

Medals 5 (3 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze)

The merits of dressage will always be worth debating, but Britain's equestrian team were one of the success stories.

Rating ****

Diving

Prediction 1-3

Medals 1 (1 bronze)

Tom Daley's bronze was one of the most heart-warming moments, and saved diving from a cut. Daley will be at his peak in Rio.

Rating ***

Taekwondo

Prediction 1-3

Medals 2 (1 gold, 1 bronze)

After the pre-Games storm over Aaron Cook's non-selection, Jade Jones took gold while Lutalo Muhammad let nobody down.

Rating ***

Gymnastics

Prediction 1-2

Medals 4 (2 silver, 2 bronze)

A historic Games ensures that a young team will now be well-funded to Rio. Louis Smith's silver was the pick; Beth Tweddle's bronze gave the happy ending.

Rating ****

Hockey

Prediction 1-2

Medals 1 (1 bronze)

Both men and women were ranked No 4 in the world coming in. The women finished fourth, the men took bronze.

Rating ***

Modern Pentathlon

Prediction 1-2

Medals 1 (1 silver)

Silver for Sam Murray brought GB their final medal and ensured targets were met.

Rating ***

Triathlon

Prediction 1-2

Medals 2 (1 gold, 1 bronze)

Alistair Brownlee produced one of the most dominant of any British displays to win gold, with brother Jonny not far behind.

Rating ****

Tennis

Prediction 0-2

Medals 2 (1 gold, 1 silver)

Andy Murray produced the performance of his career to hammer Roger Federer and claim gold. A silver with Laura Robson was more unexpected.

Rating ****

... AND THE REST

Archery

Prediction 0-1

Medals 0

Larry Godfrey made the last 16 and Amy Oliver beat the world No 1 but no medals.

Rating **

Badminton

Prediction 0-1

Medals 0

A poor Games for the sport and for GB as none of the team reached knockout stages.

Rating *

Fencing

Prediction: 0-1

Medals 0

Giving Italy a fright in the men's team quarter-final was as good as it got.

Rating: **

Judo

Prediction 0-1

Medals 2 (1 silver, 1 bronze)

Gemma Gibbons won Britain's first medal in 12 years; Karina Bryant took bronze.

Rating ***

Shooting

Prediction 0-1

Medals 1 (1 gold)

The personable Peter Wilson added gold in the double trap to his world record.

Rating ****

Basketball

Prediction 0

Medals 0

Britain's first appearance since 1948. The men finished ninth and the women 11th.

Rating **

Handball

Prediction 0

Medals 0

Neither the men's nor women's teams won a match but did avoid embarrassment.

Rating **

Synchronised swimming

Prediction 0

Medals 0

Modest mission accomplished – they met their target by coming sixth in team event.

Rating ***

Table tennis

Prediction 0

Medals 0

Paul Drinkhall reached the last 32 in the singles; otherwise a steep learning curve.

Rating **

Volleyball

Prediction 0

Given the target of winning one match, the women achieved it against Algeria.

Rating **

Water polo

Prediction 0

Women were given a target of finishing seventh – but finished eighth and last.

Rating *

Weightlifting

Prediction 0

Zoe Smith set a British record but finished 12th – her target was top eight.

Rating *

Wrestling

Prediction 0

Short and not sweet – Britain's only wrestler, Olga Butkevch, lost in the first round.

Rating *

 



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