London 2012: Team GB finish third in Olympic medal table

Great Britain's chef de mission Andy Hunt has called his team's performance at London 2012 their "greatest ever" after sealing third in the medal table.

Team GB finished behind the first-placed United States and China in second, but they could not be caught by fourth-placed Russia.

"This is our greatest performance of our greatest team at the greatest Olympics ever," Hunt told the BBC.

GB finished with 65 medals, with 29 gold, 17 silver and 19 bronze.

It surpassed their total of 47 at the 2008 Beijing Games and the target of at least 48 set by UK Sport.

"It's been a massive privilege to do this," Hunt said on BBC Olympic Breakfast. "The performance of the athletes has been extraordinary and the collaboration across British sport to make it happen has been nothing like we've ever seen before.

"Combine that with the support of the British public and it's been magical. We know that 70% of athletes usually do not win a medal at an Olympic Games. We've unquestionably exceeded our expectations."

after China's extraordinary performance in Beijing, but the poor display from Australia with just seven golds is equally noteworthy.

Four years ago in Beijing, the US, who had previously come first in each Olympics since they boycotted the 1980 Games, were knocked off the top of the overall podium.

But they have restored their position as the leading medal-winning nation with 45 golds and 103 medals in total.

GB's first medal of the Games was won by cyclist Lizzie Armitstead after she took silver in the road race. Then, following Heather Stanning and Helen Glover's gold in the women's rowing pair, the gold rush continued.

Boxer Anthony Joshua took Team GB's gold-medal tally to 29 after defeating Italy's Roberto Cammarelle in the super-heavyweight final on Sunday.

Samantha Murray then won Great Britain's 65th and final medal when she took silver in the modern pentathlon in the final event of the Games.

paid tribute to the performance of the British team, saying they had helped lift the entire nation.

"It has been an extraordinary few weeks for our country," the Prime Minister told BBC Olympic Breakfast. "It's lifted the whole country, brought people together and it's been a fantastic performance. I'm very proud of what we've done.

"When I started looking at this I was impressed with coming fourth in Beijing. Think about that for a minute.

"We're a country of 60 million people and we are up against Russia, Germany, China, America and India. Coming fourth in the world was, I thought, pretty amazing and I thought holding on to fourth place would be a huge challenge. Yet this year we've produced incredible results.

"It's been a massive self-confidence boost. We can all feel that we don't just have a great past behind us but we have a great future ahead of us.

"This is a very confident country that has delivered something on time, on budget and superbly well done. We are a country that cannot just deliver but shines when it does so."

British Olympic Association chairman Colin Moynihan said the face of British sport would be "transformed" by the Games and paid tribute to the way female role models had come to the fore.

Moynihan admitted he had not expected GB to beat Russia in the medals table and said every sport would have a review of its performance to see why it did well or did not live up to expectations.

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