Why have Team GB been so successful?

Last updated: Jan 30th, 2019


As the dust settles on Rio 2016 with a spectacular carnival-inspired closing ceremony, and the official handover to 2020 hosts Tokyo, Team GB are reflecting on their most successful ever Olympic Games.

From swimmer Adam Peaty’s Gold Medal on day three of the games, to Mo Farah’s triumphant ‘double double’ and Team GB’s dominance in the velodrome, this was Britain’s most successful Games in 108 years, with Britain becoming the first nation to better their medal haul at a subsequent Games following a home Olympics.

The British Olympic Association had initially set Team GB a target of winning 48 medals in Rio, one more than they won in the 2008 Beijing Games, with the hope of Rio 2016 becoming the most successful overseas Olympics. The target was a lot lower than the 65 medals won in the 2012 London Olympics, but this was an Olympic Games devoid of home preparation and support.

Having surged past the target of 48 medals with 5 games remaining, Team GB leave Rio with 67 medals in total, nearly 130 medallists across 19 different sports. But why have Team GB been so successful?

BOA chairman, Bill Sweeney, puts the success down to the 20 years of investment in National Lottery Funding, whilst others point to the legacy of London 2012. There is no argument that funding has played a huge part in Team GB’s success (on average each medal at the Rio Olympics cost £5.5m in funding) but campaigns ran by Sports England to get more people active and playing sport must surely have contributed.

Here at Rayburn Tours, we believe that travel broadens horizons and what better way to prepare future athletes than on a Sports Tour? Young adults mature and develop away from home and the classroom, taking in new sights, sounds and cultures. We believe stepping outside your comfort zone is a great character-builder and gives sportsmen and sportswomen the chance to develop a sense of trust, decision making, finance management and goal setting – vital skills they need to succeed in future life.

All of these new experiences are great life skills to take into the future, and being able to learn these skills at a young age means that future sportsmen and sportswomen will be fully prepared to tour and compete overseas, if they want to make sport their fulltime occupation.

Who knows, an athlete experiencing their first sports tour abroad this summer might be receiving a Team GB call up of their own in a few years – wouldn’t you want to make sure they’re prepared?


*Image sourced from Ian Burt