British athletes make history in record breaking Rio Games

22nd Aug 2016

UK Sport  Press Release

  • Great Britain and Northern Ireland achieves a historic 2nd place in the Olympic medal table
  • Team GB wins 67 medals (27 gold, 23 silver, 17 bronze), their best result in over a century
  • Joe Joyce’s silver marks the 700th medal won by British athletes at the Olympic and Paralympic Games since National Lottery funding began in 1997
  • Medals won across more sports (19) than at London 2012 (17) and gold medals won in more sports (15) than by any other nation at the Rio Games
  • 130 GB Olympic medallists (up from 114 in London), including a record 59 female medallists

Super-heavyweight boxer Joe Joyce has won Team GB’s 67th medal of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, marking the 700th British Olympic and Paralympic medal won by British athletes since National Lottery funding for elite sport began in 1997.

Not only did Great Britain and Northern Ireland become the first host nation in Olympic history to better their home Games medal tally, with Team GB winning 67 medals in Rio compared to 65 in London four years ago, British athletes achieved landmark firsts, records and topped the medal table in a number of sports to cement a truly remarkable Games.

The breadth and depth of sports that British athletes were competitive in was also on the rise, with medals won in more sports than at London 2012, and gold medals won across more sports than by any other nation competing at the Rio 2016 Games.

Rod Carr, Chair of UK Sport, said: “This incredible group of athletes, who come together every four years as Team GB, with the hopes and expectations of the entire nation resting on their shoulders, are truly the best of British.

“Their stories of endeavour and struggle, triumph and heartbreak, we can all relate to, and while most of us could never hope to achieve something so extraordinary as to call ourselves an Olympian, we can all hold our heads a little higher today and feel proud that our nation has achieved something unprecedented here in Rio.

“This would not have been possible without sustained, consistent Government and National Lottery funding – so everyone can feel proud of what they have helped achieve.”  

Liz Nicholl, CEO of UK Sport, said: “Our athletes have done the nation proud here in Rio, and I hope the UK feels united, inspired and moved by what’s been achieved. With a record number of female medallists, I hope young girls in the UK in particular feel empowered by the likes of our hockey team and Nicola Adams to make sport a fundamental part of their lives.

“Following these amazing performances it’s back to business for us as we embark on the Tokyo 2020 cycle almost immediately when we return from Rio. The results here show that we have more strength in depth and breadth than ever before, and we will of course continue to invest in medal potential, within the resources available to us, when we announce funding to sports for Tokyo in December.

“Our planning for Tokyo with our sports and partners is well advanced, and we will be taking great care and attention over the coming months to ensure we can learn from Rio and build for the future.”

Simon Timson, Director of Performance at UK Sport, said: “I want to pay tribute to all the excellent Coaches, Performance Directors and expert practitioners who have been there, day in day out, supporting our athletes to perfect their performances, peak just at the right time, and make the nation proud here in Rio. Likewise the environment created here at the Games by the British Olympic Association for the athletes has been second to none.

“I am now in no doubt that we have the best high performance system in the World, and while this wouldn’t be possible without consistency of funding, and in particular all the National Lottery players, I see on a day to day basis the exceptional work of the people behind our athletes, and they are truly world leading.”  

Sports Minister Tracey Crouch said: "Team GB's historic medal haul in Rio is an incredible achievement and our athletes have made the country incredibly proud. I congratulate everybody involved in this herculean effort - the athletes, coaches, physios, nutritionists and all at UK Sport and the BOA, but also the families and friends who provide unwavering support to our Olympic heroes. 

"Rio 2016 has built on the legacy of London 2012, surpassing the achievements of four years ago to show once again that our elite sport system, backed by National Lottery and government funding, is world-class. I know that Team GB will get a brilliant homecoming and have inspired so many people back home to get involved in sport." 

Bill Sweeney, CEO of the British Olympic Assocation, said: “It has been an outstanding performance from the whole team over the past 17 days. The whole team has worked incredibly hard to give our athletes the best possible platform to perform, from our prep camp in Belo Horizonte and sites around Rio to the work that Mark England and his team did in the Village to make that a real home from home for the team.

“It has been a brilliant Games but this is not an overnight success. Thanks to the contribution of the National Lottery players via UK Sport and their investment, this is 20 years in the making and we’ve now enjoyed five successive Games of medal growth. No one has come close to that and it’s an unbelievable achievement.”