Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
watch listen BBC Sport BBC Sport
UK version International version About the versions|Low graphics|Help
Last Updated: Sunday, 29 August, 2004, 22:57 GMT 23:57 UK
How the British fared
By Andrew Fraser
BBC Sport in Athens

Kelly Holmes flies the British flag

British Olympic chiefs have admitted that the team's successes in Athens surpassed their expectations.

Team GB's haul of 30 medals - including nine golds - topped the 28 won in Sydney four years ago and was the second highest total since 1924.

"In some respects we can say mission accomplished, but there's no question some sports underperformed," said chef de mission Simon Clegg.

Here we assess who lived up to expectations - and who failed to rise to the occasion.


Matthew Pinsent
I must consider if I can live without rowing
Matthew Pinsent

Rower Matthew Pinsent's fourth Olympic gold with the men's four was breathtaking, lifting him ever closer to the legendary status enjoyed by his old pal Sir Steve Redgrave.

Seven days later, it was Kelly Holmes' turn to enter Olympic folklore as she completed a stunning 800m and 1500m double on Britain's second Super Saturday.

And the sprint quartet's shock 4x100m gold was the icing on the cake for an overall GB effort which had struggled to get off the ground in the first week of the Games.

Sailors Shirley Robertson, Sarah Ayton and Sarah Webb started the gold rush, winning the Yngling class with a day to spare.

And cyclist Chris Hoy's Olympic record to win the 1km time trial a day later was one of the best pressure performances.

Even he was upstaged by team-mate Bradley Wiggins, who went home with the full set of gold, silver and bronze medals.

Ben Ainslie takes the award for British comeback of the Games after his nightmare start in sailing's Finn class.

Georgina Harland's charge through the field to snatch modern pentathlon bronze was also superb.

Athens 2004:
9 gold, 9 silver and 12 bronze
Sydney 2000:
11 gold, 10 silver, 7 bronze

Leslie Law can reflect on a brilliant showjumping display, which earned him three-day eventing gold - and the GB team silver - after a courtroom battle.

Diving pair Peter Waterfield and Leon Taylor and badminton duo Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms took excellent silvers.

And Britain's canoe and archery teams can also return home with heads held high.

But perhaps the most remarkable performance came from the youngest team member, 17-year-old Amir Khan, as he took silver in boxing's lightweight division.


Tim Henman

While the cycling, sailing and rowing teams pulled their weight, others disappointed.

The shooters had a dismal time, with Sydney gold medallist Richard Faulds failing to make the final.

Tim Henman's early exit in front of a sparsely populated centre court summed up the tennis competition as a whole.

And the highly-rated judo and taekwondo teams also failed to put up much of a fight as they went away empty-handed.

The wait goes on for the hockey team, champions in 1988, whose ninth place was their worst finish for 36 years.

And Beth Tweddle's quest to win Britain's first women's individual gymnastics medal ended prematurely when she failed to get past the qualifying round.


Tony Ally of the British diving team
Britain enjoyed mixed fortune in the Athens swimming pool

Had it not been for Kelly's stunning double and the relay boys' shock gold, Britain's track and field team would be hanging up their spikes in the 'Poor Show' category.

Kelly Sotherton's heptathlon bronze was the only other success of a disappointing campaign which saw Paula Radcliffe agonisingly fail to achieve her dream of Olympic gold - twice.

Whether Britain's swimmers underperformed or not depends on who you believe.

The bronze medals won by Stephen Parry and David Davies were welcome after the team sunk without trace in Sydney.

But top medal hopes like Mel Marshall, Katy Sexton and James Gibson all disappointed.

Nick Skelton will rue an error-strewn final round which cost him a chance of a medal in the showjumping.

I will get there one day
Nick Skelton

The dressage team performed creditably, and the three-strong triathlon team were up against a field of the highest quality.

Richard Kruse and Louise Bond-Williams cannot be blamed for failing to medal in the fencing either.

The same goes for wrestler Nate Ackerman and weightlifters Michaela Breeze and Kamran Panjavi, although the latter's campaign was ruined by an ill-timed back injury.

Links to more Olympics 2004 stories



E-mail services | Sport on mobiles/PDAs


Back to top

Sport Homepage | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League | Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Snooker | Horse Racing | Cycling | Paralympics | US Sport | Other Sport | Olympics 2004

Scores & Fixtures | Have Your Say | Photo Galleries | TV/Radio Listings

Sport Relief 2004 | Fun and Games | Question of Sport | BBC Sport Plus

Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales

BBC Sport Academy >> | BBC News >> | BBC Weather >>
About the BBC | News sources | Privacy & Cookies Policy | Contact us
banner watch listen bbc sport