London 2012: Which sports won and lost at GB's home Olympics?

By Ollie WilliamsBBC Sport
Gemma Gibbons wins a judo medal for GB

Have British sports delivered under the spotlight of London 2012?

The nation's athletes thrilled the country by winning 65 medals, including 29 golds. This was the best total since 1908 and way ahead of the minimum medal aim of 48.

But away from the overall picture, each sport was also given a target and this is vital for future funding allocations from UK Sport.

While two thirds of Great Britain's sporting teams hit the mark, nine sports failed to reach the standard set and will have to wait to see if their budgets are cut.

Here, BBC Sport examines the success of each sport against their target.


Larry Godfrey and the men's team made it to the last 16, as did the women's team, but nobody broke through to the quarter-finals.

In reality, that's not far off expectations. The sport is dominated by other nations, most notably South Korea, and a British medal was not considered likely. The governing body may be a little disappointed that nobody got closer, but it's not a major under performance.

Archery GB says the sport has "rocketed in popularity" since its appearance early in the Games at Lord's Cricket Ground. "Larry was a one-arrow shoot-off from making the last eight," added performance director Sara Symington.


Britain's athletes won six medals, within the target range of five to eight set by funding body UK Sport, although head coach Charles van Commenee had always publicised eight as his own target.

There were some high-profile casualties: world champion Dai Greene finished fourth in the 400m hurdles, while triple jumper Phillips Idowu failed to reach his final after a build-up much-publicised for its bewildering secrecy.

But quality compensated for quantity. In a dazzling golden hour on the night of Saturday, 4 August, heptathlete Jessica Ennis, long jumper Greg Rutherford and distance runner Mo Farah all picked up Olympic titles, the latter going on to complete a distance double later in the Games. Christine Ohuruogu will be delighted with 400m silver and Robbie Grabarz similarly content with high-jump bronze.

Van Commenee has previously said he would step down if the team did not meet his target - the question is whether those four gold medals are considered enough to counterbalance the two medals missing from the tally he had hoped to see.

With such a large squad, there are plenty of other talking points. The emergence of Adam Gemili, Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Andrew Pozzi and Andrew Osagie is worth taking into account, as is the now-traditional baton catastrophe in the men's 4x100m relay.


None of the four British badminton competitors got past their group stage, a new format which caused controversy later in the tournament when some entrants appeared to engineer their own defeats so as to secure a better draw for the knockout stage.

Rajiv Ouseph and Susan Egelstaff went out of the men's and women's singles respectively after two matches, while Chris Adcock and Imogen Bankier played three mixed doubles group games before making their exit. Adcock and Bankier won world silver medals last year but were seen as a long shot to replicate that in London.

"We are not hiding," said Badminton England chief executive Adrian Christy. "We knew there would be a number of impending retirements which would mean we had a team of first-time Olympians in London if Nathan Robertson [Athens 2004 silver medallist] was not selected, and that is exactly how it panned out.

"I know our members, the general public and the media would love badminton to be delivering the success some other sports are enjoying, but it will take us time."


Britain's basketball teams had both been asked to aim for fifth to eighth place which, in practice, meant finishing in the top four of their six-team group.

This was always a tough ask, given the British governing body had faced a prolonged battle simply to convince the organisers to let the teams compete at the Games in the first place.

The women lost their five group games; the men looked to be heading the same way, but pulled off a welcome and historic first Olympic win since 1948 when they beat China 90-58.

Getting to Rio will be a challenge. Even with host-nation status, entry to London 2012 required an almighty scrap, and the teams will have to improve significantly in the next four years.

"We put women's basketball on the map," said GB's Temi Fagbenle. "I hope everyone saw how hard we fight, and how we won't give up. We'll never give up, I hope they see that. Rio? I can't wait."


Not all of British boxing's medal hopes came off, but five medals from a 10-person team represents a strong conversion rate for chief Rob McCracken and his team.

Nicola Adams made history as the first-ever Olympic women's boxing champion while Anthony Joshua won Britain's last gold medal of the London 2012 Olympics, in an arena within ExCeL which became renowned for its incredible noise level.

Victory for Adams cemented the status and success of women's boxing in the UK, which is a huge step forward for the sport, while success has also been maintained in the men's corner.

Moves to alter the way Olympic boxing works in future, including proposals to allow a more professional element to the sport at the Games, may have an impact on the shape and feel of the British set-up by 2016.


GB Canoeing will be thrilled with their medal haul from London 2012, winning an Olympic title in each of the sport's two disciplines, sprint and slalom.

Tim Baillie and Etienne Stott stunned better-known team-mates Richard Hounslow and David Florence in the C2 two-man canoe slalom event, leading an unexpected British one-two which made up for earlier disappointments as Britons struggled to reach individual finals at the Lee Valley course.

After a similar week on Eton Dorney's flatwater course, Ed McKeever roared to gold over the blink-and-miss-it 200m distance, followed by bronze for Liam Heath and Jon Schofield in the two-man race.

"We have never had that many [medals] so it's a fantastic boost," said McKeever. "If we keep pushing forward and developing, I think we can become the leading canoeing nation in the world.

"We can take a lot of encouragement from these Games and I think the team will be really strong in four years' time."


British Cycling surpassed what was already the most demanding medal target set for any GB team at London 2012, led by a scintillating repeat of their velodrome dominance of Beijing four years earlier.

Laura Trott established herself as a new leading light within the team, turning recent success at world and European level into two Olympic titles in women's endurance events, while Sir Chris Hoy became the most-decorated British Olympian of all time.

Performance director Dave Brailsford has forecast a dip in British track results in the four-year Olympic cycle to come. "You can't sustain this level for four years," he said, before adding: "[But] our job is to believe it is possible to do even better. You've got to go there and think, 'Let's go and win all 10'."

On the road, the failure of the road race team to deliver gold for Mark Cavendish was compensated for by Bradley Wiggins's time trial victory. However, BMX duo Shanaze Reade and Liam Phillips were unable to reach the podium, a shock for Reade in particular.

Mountain biking once again felt like something of a poor relation compared to the other three disciplines, but the emergence of eighth-placed Annie Last, who led the women's race for a spell, suggests she could be a major player in Rio.


Tom Daley's emotional individual bronze also ensured the team met their medal target for London 2012.

However, they would prefer not to have cut it quite so fine. Daley missed out with partner Peter Waterfield in their synchro event, finishing fourth, and no other British entrant did better than fifth. Monique Gladding and Stacie Powell were both surprise casualties in the women's 10m platform preliminaries.

But the Devon teenager's bronze on the penultimate night of the Games gives diving a place on the medal table and a return to take to the funding table later this year.


A haul of five medals represents an immensely successful Games for Britain's equestrian riders, even without the team eventing gold medal many had expected them to take.

The eventing team settled for silver but GB's showjumpers produced a slightly unexpected team gold and narrowly missed out on an individual medal when Nick Skelton clipped a fence in his final.

Dressage was the star, though, for the hosts. Carl Hester, Laura Bechtolsheimer and Charlotte Dujardin confirmed their meteoric rise in the world standings over the past couple of years by winning both team gold and then individual gold, courtesy of Dujardin.

The trick for British equestrian sport is in securing the right horses to do the job for the next four years. Some, like Dujardin's Valegro and Hester's Uthopia, look to be on the way out in a world where top horses command huge sums and not many riders own the horses on which they compete.

Some will train their own star rides for 2016, others will look elsewhere to import fresh talent. Scott Brash, who picked up Hello Sanctos from Ukraine last Christmas, is an example of a British rider who went talent-scouting and won gold this summer as a result.


At first glance, London 2012 was a disappointment for British Fencing.

Top prospect Richard Kruse did not make it past the last 32 of the men's foil fencing, with no individual fencer reaching the last 16 in any of the five events entered.

However, a spirited last-day showing in the men's team foil has given the British team a little cause for optimism, particularly the potential displayed by the likes of James Davis, who played a large part as GB took world number one Italy to the wire in their last-eight contest.

Chairman David Teasdale says the sport will now undergo a "robust, thorough but speedy review, with necessary decisions on the way forward".


Football is not set a target as part of this process because the team does not receive direct UK Sport funding.

However, there can be no denying that both the men and women would have wanted more from London 2012. The men topped their group but, inevitably, went out on penalties in the quarter-finals, while the women lost to form side Canada at the same stage.

Given the extensive political wrangling which took place prior to London 2012 simply to bring together British football teams for a home Games, there is a big question mark over the likelihood of GB participation at Rio 2016. That obstacle must be crossed again before any concerns about performance and development can be considered.

Hope Powell, who coached the British women at London 2012, said: "I am not the decision-maker but my answer would be, if we had the opportunity to go into the Olympics - just the women - I would take it.

"We have raised awareness throughout the whole of Great Britain. People are now aware that women's football does exist and that it is a fantastic product."


In years to come, this may be remembered as the breakthrough Games for British Gymnastics.

While Louis Smith's bronze medal at Beijing 2008 set the ball rolling and was momentous in its own right, team bronze for the men in London and a four-medal total - with individual contributions from Smith, Max Whitlock and Beth Tweddle - makes clear the sport's ability to now contend on multiple fronts at the Olympics.

That is a step change for gymnastics in the UK and, as superstar Tweddle leaves the sport, the continuity of that talent looks assured, particularly on the men's side, where the juniors have won the last three European titles.

"[Team bronze] came about on a quiet day, around tea-time with a big audience on TV," recalls performance director Tim Jones. "We could have never planned for that, but we got some great publicity from it. It's really catapulted the sport forwards."

The absence of a Briton in either trampoline final may be considered a slight disappointment, while British Gymnastics must now decide how to pursue its rhythmic gymnastics programme after fielding its first-ever group at a Games by virtue of host-nation status.


Set an ambitious target of reaching the Olympic quarter-finals, neither Britain's handball men nor the women were able to win a group game and make it through to the knockout stages.

This is no surprise - a programme in its infancy compared to world-leading teams from continental Europe, and neither team would have come near to qualifying for the Olympics without the benefit of host-nation places. They did, however, both have to convince the British Olympic Association they would be "competitive" prior to being officially entered for their home Games.

For the players, this was always a chance to showcase the sport to the nation rather than make any serious bid for a medal. The Copper Box, home to all the handball group games, has certainly been one of the success stories of London 2012, praised for its atmosphere, and this is where British Handball wants to squarely place the emphasis.

"The crowd in the Copper Box has been amazing and it seems as if handball has really caught on in Britain," read a report on the British Handball website. "This was one of the main goals for the GB team going into the Olympic Games, to show Britain exactly why handball is such a great sport."

Now, they need to show UK Sport exactly why handball deserves funding to pursue a Rio 2016 bid. The funding body may prove a tougher audience.


Heading into the Olympics with both the men's and women's teams ranked fourth in the world, the expectation from GB's hockey coaching staff had always been to reach the semi-finals and see what happened.

That part was successful, though few on the men's side of things will care to remember the miserable 9-2 drubbing from the Dutch team which followed. The women similarly bowed out in the semis, well beaten by Argentina, but whereas the men lost 3-1 to Australia in their bronze play-off, the women defeated New Zealand for a first Olympic medal in two decades.

That means targets have been met. More broadly, a bigger battle is now beginning for British hockey: attracting more people into the sport. Initiatives such as Back To Hockey have been running for years but the organisation knows the period immediately after a home Olympics, especially with a medal-winning team, is the most vital to its future.

"I am relieved," said chief executive Sally Munday after the women won bronze. "It is just so important for the whole hockey family. This is payback, not just for those immediately involved, but for the hockey clubs and everyone involved in the sport. The country has really got behind us and become emotionally involved with us."


Judo was a surprise success at London 2012, defying doom-and-gloom predictions following an 18-month period riven with underperformance and internal reshuffling in the lead-up to the Games.

While few will forget Euan Burton's tearful self-criticism on live television following his elimination mere moments into his first bout, his other half Gemma Gibbons delighted the nation with a superb, battling silver medal, to which Karina Bryant later added bronze. Colin Oates also made it through to his quarter-finals.

Scott McCarthy, the sport's chief executive, made no attempt to hide his relief as he said: "This success marks the start of a new era for British Judo and we must all commit to continue to progress and ensure that we win multiple medals at all future world events.

"The increased interest in the sport has been unprecedented and provides us with a unique opportunity to grow judo in the UK. Almost five million people watched Thursday's final [featuring Gemma Gibbons] and the entire competition provided an excellent showcase for the sport."

Modern pentathlon

Samantha Murray won silver in the women's modern pentathlon, the final event of the London Olympics, to preserve the British team's superb record in the sport.

Mhairi Spence, the world champion, had her hopes ruined by an unruly horse in the showjumping element, but team-mate Murray's second place means GB pentathletes have won at least one medal in each of the four Olympic Games since the women's race was introduced at Sydney 2000.

In the men's event, Nick Woodbridge finished 10th with Sam Weale 13th.

Murray's silver and Spence's world title are likely to give pentathlon a position of considerable strength from which to argue its corner for funding to Rio 2016.


No other sport exceeded their target by the distance rowing achieved, winning nine medals to the six demanded of them.

Four of those medals were gold with two silver and three bronze. Even then, some crews left disappointed, notably silver medallists Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter in the lightweight double sculls. The sport will have few worries about sitting down with UK Sport for its performance review.

Rowing chief David Tanner, summing up the Olympic regatta, pointed out it was the best ever for a British team. "Together we have been so strong and so much stronger than any other nation, which is a source of great pride and pleasure," he said.


The sailing medal coveted more than any other by British fans was a fourth gold for Ben Ainslie, and he duly delivered.

Sailing hit its medal target with five in all, though the other four were all silver. There may be a modicum of frustration within the sport that more could not be converted into gold, while injury hampered the hopes of Paul Goodison, who finished seventh.

"To have come away with medals in 50% of the events, we've got to be really happy with that," said sailing chief Stephen Park.

"I suppose we are also conscious there were opportunities that slipped away from us when we were racing for gold. But on the whole I have got to be happy.

"It's been great to have a mix of some of the more experienced sailors and some of the newcomers. It bodes really well for the future [and we will] continue to strive to be even more competitive in 2016."


Peter Wilson's Olympic double trap gold medal had been by far shooting's best bet going into the Games.

Wilson pulled it off, winning a superb Olympic title 12 years after team-mate Richard Faulds did the same at Sydney 2000, but none of his GB team-mates could reach their finals.

The sport needs to find ways to achieve success outside the double trap discipline, but will be buoyed by the exposure shooting has received on national TV in the wake of Wilson's achievement.

"Shooting really is a sport for everyone. I cannot emphasise enough how easy it is to get into," said Wilson. "Whether fat or thin, tall or short, you can shoot, so why not get involved?

"Six years ago I wanted to start shooting so I typed clay pigeon shooting into Google and found my nearest range. I'm now a gold-medal Olympian."


Swimming provided the British team's biggest disappointment of London 2012.

After the positivity of Beijing with then-teenager Rebecca Adlington's double triumph, expectations were high that at least one of those titles would be successfully defended amid a host of other medals from names like Fran Halsall, Hannah Miley, Ellen Gandy and Keri-Anne Payne.

Very few came off. Only Adlington and impressive silver medallist Michael Jamieson reached the podium, prompting performance director Michael Scott to begin an immediate review into what went wrong.

"Following our collective disappointment at not meeting our high expectations at these Olympic Games, we will be undertaking a thorough performance debrief," said Scott.

"In the Olympic cycle to London, the British swimming team has achieved best-ever results at world, Commonwealth and European level, but in London we failed to continue this trend and we need to fully understand why."

Even the British team's own press release pointed out that swimming received £25m in funding for London 2012, comparable with cycling, rowing and sailing, all of whom met or exceeded their targets.

Synchro swimming

Britain's synchronised swimmers met expectations in both the duet and team events.

The duet pairing and team finished ninth and sixth respectively, within their agreed target range.

Jenna Randall, who competed in both, said of the duet: "In Beijing we didn't make the final so it was great to be a part of it at home this year.

"Hopefully for the next Olympics we'll be even higher up."

Table tennis

Paul Drinkhall beat Singapore's Yang Zi in the men's singles to reach the third round and meet his sport's modest expectations.

Joanna Parker got through to the second round of the women's singles but Britain exited both team events at the first opportunity.

Table tennis falls into the bracket of sports whose participation in London 2012 meant more in terms of exposure than medals.

Drinkhall said: "Just look around at the crowds, it doesn't seem like a table tennis hall. It's just amazing being on TV all around the country, all around the world.

"Twitter is going crazy, it's brilliant to be a part of it. It's massive for me and the rest of table tennis, and hopefully we are putting on a good show."


Medals for two of the four British athletes competing in Olympic taekwondo, including a brilliant gold for Jade Jones, represent a strong set of results for GB Taekwondo.

However, question marks linger for some over the selection of Lutalo Muhammad over world number one Aaron Cook. How far Muhammad's bronze medal stems that debate remains to be seen.

"I think it is not about who was selected. At the end of the day the selectors are experts and made their decision and knew what Lutalo was capable of," said Gary Hall, the GB performance director.

"He has just shown that as the first British male Olympic medallist, and we've had a first female Olympic champion. Two medals is a fantastic Games for us."


Tennis entered the UK Sport framework in the build-up to London 2012 as it sought access to advice and support from the funding body.

When the sport made that move, it was given a target for the Games of one semi-final and one quarter-final appearance. Andy Murray's gold and silver, the latter won in mixed doubles with Laura Robson, more than matched that and reached the upper end of the up-to-two medal target.

Tennis, of course, does not rely on the Olympics in quite the same way as many other sports for exposure. But Lawn Tennis Association chief executive Roger Draper said: "The whole message around London 2012 has been about inspiring the next generation and that's exactly what Andy and Laura have done.

"Our job now is to capitalise on that and never have we been better-placed to ensure that those people who want to get involved in our sport have every opportunity to do so."


Yorkshire single-handedly took care of triathlon's medal target for London 2012, Alistair Brownlee winning gold and younger brother Jonny taking bronze in the same race.

Helen Jenkins laboured determinedly through the women's race after a build-up ruined by a knee injury, clinging on for fifth after being dropped by the leaders towards the end of the run.

Triathlon participation has been on the rise for years and gold at a home Games can only help the sport develop its growing grass-roots membership.

However, a selection policy geared to favour domestiques (whose role is to help the big names) rather than all-round triathletes caused some grief within the elite sport and that may yet take time to settle down.


Britain's indoor volleyball teams, entering the Games with nothing like the international pedigree of many rivals, were set the challenge of winning one game.

The women defeated Algeria to meet that target, the only victory either team notched up as both bowed out at the group stage.

GB's male beach volleyball pairing did not get out of their preliminary round but female duo Zara Dampney and Shauna Mullen did at least qualify for a "lucky loser" repechage, going out to Austria.

Jizhong Wei, president of volleyball's world governing body, subsequently hailed the indoor teams' "substantial progress" and has invited British Volleyball to submit an application for money from a development fund.

Water polo

Neither of the British water polo teams won a game at London 2012.

This had been half-expected as, like several other British team sports at the Games, the programme had come to life with a home Olympics in mind and had little time to reach the level of the world's water polo powers.

However, the teams were devastated not to claim a win between them, and must now face uncertainty over whether the programme's life is prolonged for the next four years to Rio.

"It's what we've worked for over the past few years, we're just so disappointed the results didn't go our way," said GB goalkeeper Rosie Morris.

"I hope it carries on after this, [the Olympics] has been so much better than we thought it would be. I've had so many messages from people saying they want to have a go."


Jack Oliver was the nearest British weightlifter to the target of a top-eight finish, placing 10th, while Zoe Smith - the sport's poster-girl in the run-up to the Games - came 12th.

In truth, those results were near to the best the British team could have hoped for, with no realistic expectations of a medal. Smith set a British record in her event.

British Weightlifting, which admits Britain has had a "limited record" at international level to date, must now wait to sit down with UK Sport and plan for the Rio Games.


Britain's lone wrestler, Ukraine-born Olga Butkevych, lost in her opening encounter.

That is unlikely to bode well for the sport, whose build-up to London was dominated by issues surrounding the nationality of some wrestlers and related internal in-fighting.

At grass-roots level, British Wrestling has launched new projects aimed at developing and supporting clubs in the UK.

But future funding depends on convincing UK Sport and others that the sport will offer better prospects and a less tempestuous ride to Rio 2016.


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