Great Britain at the 2008 Summer Olympics

Great Britain at the 2008 Summer Olympics

Infobox Olympics Great Britain
games=2008 Summer
competitors=311 (168 men, 143 women)cite web |title=All currently selected Team GB athletes |publisher=British Olympic Association |url= |accessdate=2008-08-17]
officials=236 [cite web |title=Team GB's 311 Athletes Entered for Beijing 2008 |publisher=British Olympic Association |url= |accessdate=2008-07-26]
flagbearer=Mark Foster (opening)
Chris Hoy (closing)

Great Britain competed at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. [cite web |url= |title=British Olympic Association > Team GB |accessdate=2008-08-21 |publisher=British Olympic Association ] Great Britain was represented by the British Olympic Association (BOA), and the team of selected athletes was officially known as Team GB. Britain is one of only five NOCs to have competed in every Summer Olympic Games since 1896. The delegation of 547 people included 311 competitors – 168 men, 143 women – and 236 officials. The team was made up of athletes from the whole United Kingdom; athletes from Northern Ireland, who may elect to hold Irish citizenship under the pre-1999 article 2 of the Irish constitution, are able to be selected to represent either Great Britain or Ireland at the Olympics. [cite web|title=Full text of the constitution |publisher= [ Department of the Taoiseach] |url= |accessdate=2008-09-17] Additionally some British overseas territories compete separately from Britain in Olympic competition.

Great Britain's medal performance at the 2008 Summer Olympics was its best in a century; only its performance at the 1908 Summer Olympics, which Britain also hosted in London, resulted in more gold medals being awarded. [cite web |url=|title=GB Olympians power to new heights|accessdate=2008-08-19 |publisher=BBC Sport |date=2008-08-19] The total medal count, of 47, is also the second highest Great Britain has ever achieved, with only the 1908 games resulting in more medals.

Great Britain finished 4th overall in the medal tables, a target previously set by UK Sport, the public body responsible for distributing funding to elite sport, for the 2012 games. UK Sport is now considering whether to target 3rd place in the 2012 games, which will be hosted by the United Kingdom in London, although it will not decide on a target before the autumn. [cite web|url=
title=Britain may aim for third in 2012|accessdate=2008-08-25|publisher=BBC Sport |date=2008-08-25


The following British competitors won medals at the Games, all dates are August 2008. [cite web |title=Medallists GBR - Great Britain |publisher=The Official Website of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games |url= |accessdate=2008-09-17] In the 'by discipline' sections below , medallists' names are emboldened.

width="78%" align="left" valign="top"


In June 2008, UK Sport, which distributes National Lottery funding to elite sport, published its expectations for the Games. It identified 41 potential medal to target and expected to win 35 of them, including 10 to 12 gold medals.cite news |url= |work=BBC Sport | publisher=BBC |title=GB target 35 medals from Beijing |date=2008-07-02 |accessdate=2008-08-17] Team GB exceeded the gold medal expectations on 19 August when Paul Goodison earned Britain's 13th gold medal in the men's Laser class. The minimum medal target, of 35 medals, was passed on 20 August when they claimed their 36th medal - a bronze in the women's RS:X, won by Bryony Shaw. The total medal target was equalled when canoeist Tim Brabants took gold in the men's 1000 m K-1 claiming Britain's 41st physical medal (three further medals were guaranteed in boxing at the time). [cite web |url=|title=Brabants wins Britain's 18th gold|accessdate=2008-08-22 |publisher=BBC Sport |date=2008-08-22] They later exceeded the total number of targeted medals when Heather Fell secured the silver in women's modern pentathlon [cite web |url=|title=Schoneborn pips GB's Fell to gold|accessdate=2008-08-22 |publisher=BBC Sport |date=2008-08-22] .

It should be noted that the medals claimed were not all ones that had been targeted, with Team GB falling short of targets in some disciplines whilst exceeding them in others. Nine out of seventeen disciplines met their targets.The British cyclists, for example doubled their medal target on 19 August when Victoria Pendleton won Britain's 12th cycling medal, a gold in the women's sprint [cite web |url=|title=Briton Pendleton wins sprint gold|accessdate=2008-08-19 |publisher=BBC Sport |date=2008-08-19] . A further two medals were already guaranteed at this stage in the men's individual sprint, where gold and silver were soon won by Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny respectively. In all Team GB won seven of the ten gold medals up for grabs at the velodrome. The swimmers also managed to double the targeted number of medals in their sport when David Davies won the team's sixth swimming medal - a silver medal in the men's 10 km open water marathon on 21 August. [cite web |url=|title=Battling Davies lands 10km silver|accessdate=2008-08-21 |publisher=BBC Sport |date=2008-08-21] Despite the men's and women's archery teams having come second and third respectively at the 2007 world championships, British archers were unable to win either of their targeted medals. This led to criticism of the tactics used by head coach Peter Suk from members of the team. [cite web |title=Wills criticises coach after exit |publisher=BBC Sport |date=2008-08-15 |url= |accessdate=2008-09-19] [cite web |title=Archery boss keen to hear critics |publisher=BBC Sport |date=2008-09-04 |url= |accessdate=2008-09-19]


The initial squad was selected for the British team on 14 July, however the final team was not confirmed until the outcome of a courtcase involving Dwain Chambers. [cite web |url= |title=Sprinters in limbo as squad named |accessdate=2008-08-09 |publisher=BBC Sport |date=2008-07-14 ] Under the rules of the BOA, Chambers had been banned from future Games after testing positive for the steroid THG in 2003. His appeal to overturn that ban, on the grounds that it was an unfair restraint of trade, failed and he was omitted from the squad. [cite web |title=Chambers loses Olympic ban case |publisher=BBC Sport |date=2008-07-18 |url= |accessdate=2008-08-09] The team included former Olympic medal winners Marlon Devonish and Kelly Sotherton, as well as former Olympic individual finalists Joanne Pavey, Paula Radcliffe, Helen Clitheroe and Tasha Danvers. Women's marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe faced a battle to be fit for the Games due to a stress fracture in her left thigh. [cite web |url= |title=Radcliffe faces race against time |accessdate=2008-08-09 |publisher=BBC Sport |date=2008-07-14 ] She eventually proved fit enough to start the race but struggled to finish in 23rd position. [cite web |url= |title=Paula Radcliffe's marathon bid ends in tears |accessdate=2008-09-17 |publisher=BBC Sport |date=2008-08-17 ]

A total of four medals were won, one gold, two silver and one bronze. UK Athletics performance director Dave Collins stood down after the Games. This was due in part to the team's failure to meet the UK Sport target, of winning five medals, was a contributing factor in . [cite web |title=Collins leaves UK Athletics post |publisher=BBC Sport |url= |date=2008-09-01 |accessdate=2008-09-17]



*KO = Knock-out
*PTS = Overall jury points
*RSC = Referee stopped contest
*RSCH = Referee stopped contest due to head injury
*RSCI = Referee stopped contest due to injured competitor


Seven competitors joined Team GB for the canoeing events, with four in the flatwater and three in the slalom. Anna Hemmings and Jessica Walker, in the K-2 kayaking pairs, were added later after complications with the Spanish team. [cite web |url= |title=Kayak pair finally named for GB |accessdate=2008-08-09 |work= |publisher=BBC Sport |date=2008-07-18 ] Three medals were won, two by Tim Brabants, who had previously won a bronze at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. This exceeded the target of two set by UK Sport.


Mountain bike



;Points races


A total of twelve entrants competed for Team GB in the three equestrian disciplines that took place in Hong Kong. Zara Phillips, the reigning world eventing champion and granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II, had been included in the squad until her horse, Toytown, sustained an injury, which meant she missed her second successive Olympics. [cite web| title=Phillips out of GB Olympic team |publisher=BBCSport |date=2008-06-11 |url= |accessdate=2008-09-17]


(Total scores are the average of qualifying round 2 and freestyle final for the individual competition, and average of individual round 1 scores for the team competition.)


nowrap|GP – Games Played; nowrap|G – Goals; nowrap|S – Shots; nowrap|FG – Field Goals; nowrap|PC – Penalty Corners; nowrap|PS – Penalty Strokes; nowrap| Red Cards

;Pool B

:colorbox|#ccffcc Qualified for semifinals

date=10 August
score=5 – 1
goals1= Rinne fhg|PC|26 fhg|FG|52
Hoffmann fhg|FG|31 fhg|PC|49
Rodewald fhg|FG|60
goals2= Cullen fhg|PC|29
discipline1= Rinne fhcard|G|12
Kühn fhcard|G|18
discipline2= Cullen fhcard|G|30
umpires=Sarah Garnett (NZL)
Miao Lin (CHN)
date=12 August
score=2 – 2
goals1= Garcia fhg|PC|10
Gulla fhg|PC|27
goals2= Thomas fhg|PC|49
Clewlow fhg|PC|51
discipline1= Luchetti fhcard|G|31
Gonzalez Oliva fhcard|Y|44
Margalot fhcard|G|51
discipline2= Cullen fhcard|G|31
umpires=Marelize de Klerk (RSA)
Stella Bartlema (NED)
date=14 August
score=1 – 2
goals1= Flynn fhg|PC|28
goals2= Danson fhg|FG|31
Cullen fhg|PC|50
discipline1= Igasan fhcard|G|25
Krystal Forgesson fhcard|G|56
discipline2= Cullen fhcard|G|52
umpires=Julie Ashton-Lucy (AUS)
Carolina de la Fuente (ARG)
date=16 August
score=2 – 1
goals1= Panter fhg|FG|32
Cullen fhg|PC|70
goals2= Miura fhg|PC|58
discipline1= Rogers fhcard|G|12 fhcard|Y|47
Walsh fhcard|G|41
Craddock fhcard|Y|66
discipline2= Komazawa fhcard|G|27
umpires= Minka Woolley (AUS)
Carol Metchette (IRL)
date=18 August
score=0 – 0
umpires=Ute Conen (GER)
Lisa Roach (AUS)

;5th and 6th place classification matchhockeybox
date=22 August
score=2 – 0
goals1= Blyth fhg|FG|29
Munro fhg|FG|68
discipline2= J. C. Ellis fhcard|G|60
umpires= Sarah Garnett (NZL)
Miao Lin (CHN)


Team GB was represented by seven athletes in the Judo events. [cite web |url= |title=Fallon handed Olympic squad place |accessdate=2008-08-10 |publisher=BBC Sport |date=2008-04-22 ] No British Judoka made it past the quarterfinal stages of competition or through to the medal match of the repechage, meaning the team failed to meet the two medal target set by UK Sport.



There were 43 rowers in Team GB, the most since qualifying quotas were introduced after the 1992 Summer Olympics. [cite web |url= |title=Final GB rowers named after trial |accessdate=2008-08-10 |publisher=BBC Sport |date=2008-07-16 ] Crews were fielded in 12 out of a possible 14 events making Team GB the fourth biggest team. Medals were won in 6 events, which meant that GB topped the rowing medal table. [cite web |title= Medal Standings Rowing |publisher=The Official Website of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games| url= |accessdate=2008-09-17] The medals won included gold in the coxless fours, for the third successive games, and Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter winning Great Britain's first ever lightweight rowing Olympic medal in the men's lightweight double sculls. [cite web |url=|title=GB duo win first lightweight gold|accessdate=2008-08-17 |publisher=BBC Sport |date=2008-08-17]

*(X) – Worst result discarded
*OCS – On the Course Side of the starting line
*DSQ – Disqualified
*DNF – Did Not Finish
*BFD – Black Flag Disqualification
*CAN – Race cancelled due to bad weather


Team GB had a total of five competitors for the shooting disciplines at the 2008 Olympics, with four entered in the shotgun events and one in the rifle events.


Qualifiers for the latter rounds (Q) of all events were decided on a time only basis, therefore positions shown are overall results versus competitors in all heats.

Key: NR=National record


* After a successful appeal by the British, judges reversed the result of the match, granting Sarah Stevenson two points for a final round kick to her opponent's head which the judges had previously missed. The reversal of the decision, after video footage was considered, is thought to be a first for the sport.cite web |url=|title=Reprieved Stevenson takes bronze|accessdate=2008-08-23 |publisher=BBC Sport |date=2008-08-23] Another British hopeful, Aaron Cook, was also unhappy with the judges after losing out on bronze in the men's -80 kg. [cite web |url=|title=Video - Heartbroken Cook blames judges|accessdate=2008-08-23 |publisher=BBC Sport |date=2008-08-22]


The Murray brothers were the sole tennis players on Team GB. Andy Murray qualified due to his world ranking and Jamie Murray was nominated for the doubles by the International Tennis Federation, the governing body of world tennis.

ports not contested in Beijing

British representatives participated in the qualifying tournaments of a number of other Olympic sports in the lead up to the 2008 games, only for events outside of the athletes control to prevent their further participation in the games.


The GB baseball team finished 2nd in the 2007 European Baseball Championship behind the Netherlands, guaranteeing them a place at the Olympic qualifying tournament in Taiwan. However, a lack of funding forced the team to withdraw, with their place being taken by Germany. [cite web |url= |title=GB's Olympic baseball dream ends |publisher=BBC Sport |date=2008-03-05 |accessdate=2008-09-17]


The award of the 2012 Olympics to London has brought the question of British participation in the football tournaments to the fore, given that there is traditionally no single British national football team. The British Olympic Association initially refused to rule out the possibility of entry for 2008, but were unable to come to an agreement with the Scottish Football Association. [cite web |title=Britain looks to Beijing after Scotland's snub to 2012 Games |url=,,27-1868695,00.html |publisher=The Times |date=2005-11-12 |accessdate=2008-09-17] The 2007 European Under-21 Championship, which served as the European qualifying tournament for the men's competition, saw the England U-21 team reach the semifinals, which would have meant a place at the Olympics. Because at the Olympics the team is representative of the entire UK, England were thus prevented from taking this place, with instead a play-off taking place between Portugal and Italy. A similar situation occurred with the England Women's team who, by virtue of being one of the top three European sides at the 2007 World Cup, would have been granted a place at the Olympics. Instead, there was a play-off between Denmark and Sweden.


The following records were set by British athletes during competition in the Games.

nowrap|WR – World record; nowrap|WB – World best; nowrap|OR – Olympic record; nowrap|ER – European record; nowrap|CR – Commonwealth record; nowrap|NR – British national record;

Media coverage

The main rights to Olympic coverage in the UK are held by the BBC, under the ITC Code on Sports and Other Listed Events. An extensive range of broadcasting options was used to provide over 2,500 hours of coverage.cite press release|title=The 2008 Beijing Olympics and Paralympics on the BBC|publisher=BBC|date=2008-06-19|url=|accessdate=2008-06-20]

For the first time, Olympic coverage was broadcast in high-definition on BBC HD. Digital television viewers had access to up to six streamed channels covering the games on BBCi, whilst the BBC's website permitted UK broadband users to view live streams from a variety of events. Live broadcasts ran overnight and throughout the day on BBC One and BBC Two, starting at 0200 daily; a highlights programme, "Games Today", was broadcast on BBC One following the close of each day's events.

The opening and closing ceremonies were anchored by Sue Barker and Huw Edwards, whilst general coverage was anchored (at various times of the day) by Adrian Chiles, Claire Balding, Gabby Logan, Jake Humphrey, Sue Barker, Hazel Irvine and John Inverdale. Former Olympic contenders — including gold medallists Michael Johnson, Shirley Robertson, Adrian Moorhouse, Steve Redgrave, Jonathan Edwards and Chris Boardman — provided analysis. [cite press release |title=The 2008 Beijing Olympics and Paralympics on the BBC |publisher=BBC |url= |date=2008-06-19 |accessdate=2008-09-22]

Eurosport also broadcast coverage of the Games viewable in the UK. [cite press release|title=Eurosport Unveils Beijing 2008 Programming|publisher=BBC|date=2008-06-16|url=|accessdate=2008-06-20] In accordance with the ITC Code, it can show live events, provided that such events can also be broadcast by the BBC (although the BBC can choose not to do so).

Radio coverage was provided by BBC Radio 5 Live, and BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra on digital radio.

ee also

* Great Britain at the Olympics
* Great Britain at the 2008 Summer Paralympics
* 2008 Summer Olympics medal table
* List of 2008 Summer Olympics medal winners


External links

* [ British Olympic Association] – [ and their "Team GB" pages]
* [ Team GB for Beijing Olympics]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.