Mark Foster, GB flag-bearer at Beijing - a gold medal hope too?

Today is tinged with sadness for me as I bid farewell to the Olympic countdown that has been my life for the last three and-a-bit months (I have done bits of other stuff too, just in case the boss is reading and, yes, I have had a haircut).

Thanks to all who have contributed. If you managed to read every one, there's now no need for you to ever go the Olympic Museum in Lausanne.

I went there a couple of weeks ago and was dismayed to learn nothing new apart from how running shoes have developed over the years.

And a quick thanks to my wife, who has put up with me locking myself away for many an evening while I pored over yet more Olympic statistics to keep this countdown ticking.

There's now just the small matter of the Games themself to get through - I'll see you on 25 August, dear!

On to today's topic. Only five nations have competed at every Olympic Games since their return in 1896.

They are Australia, France, Great Britain, Greece and Switzerland - and just one holds the unique record of winning at least one gold medal at every Olympics.

Yep folks, it's Great Britain.

Scottish weightlifter Launceston Elliot started the ball rolling in Athens 112 years ago, winning the one hand lift. Since then, British competitors have brought home another 187 gold medals out of a total of 688.

That is enough to put Team GB third on the all-time medal list at the Summer Games behind the United States (894 gold and 2188 total medals) and the Soviet Union (395 gold, 1010 total).

I think the whole world would be surprised if Britain did not keep the gold run going in Beijing - UK Sport is expecting a minimum of 35 medals and has set a target of 41, while an Italian called Luciano Barra, who is apparantly quite good at this guessing lark, reckons 48 is a more realistic figure, with 18 of them being gold.

So, who will be the one to keep the run going?

Judo world champion Craig Fallon is a likely contender on the opening day of action on Saturday, while the women's archery team of Alison Williamson, Naomi Folkard and Charlotte Burgess, who are ranked second in the world, are ones to keep an eye out for on Sunday.

Who do you think will pick up Britain's first gold?

Enjoy the Games!

Peter Scrivener is a BBC Sport Journalist. Our FAQs should answer any questions you have.


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