Team GB

Athletes from the United Kingdom, all but three of its Overseas Territories, and the three Crown Dependencies, can compete in the Olympic Games as part of Team GB. Athletes from Northern Ireland (part of the UK) can also choose to compete as part of Team Ireland instead (though most sports in NI are organised on an all-Ireland basis). It has sent athletes to every Summer and Winter Games, since the start of the Olympics’ modern era in 1896, including the 1980 Summer Olympics, which were boycotted by a number of other Western nations. From 1896 to 2020 inclusive, Great Britain & NI has won 918 medals at the Summer Olympic Games, and another 32 at the Winter Olympic Games. It is the only national team to have won at least one gold medal at every Summer Games, lying third globally in the winning of total medals, surpassed only by the United States and the former Soviet Union.

Team GB is organised by the British Olympic Association (BOA) as the National Olympic Committee for the UK. While the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and BOA both refer to the team as ‘Great Britain’ and the team uses the brand name Team GB, the BOA explains that it is a contraction of the full title, the Great Britain and Northern Ireland Olympic Team. Great Britain was one of 14 teams to compete in the first Games, the 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens, and is one of only three nations (France and Switzerland being the others) to have competed at every Summer and Winter Olympic Games. In 1908, the country finished in the Olympic table in first place for the first and only time in its history; its most successful performance both post-War and away from a home Games was in 2016, finishing second.

The most successful British Olympian by gold medals won is Sir Jason Kenny, who has won seven gold medals in track cycling. He is followed by Sir Chris Hoy who won six. Kenny also has the most total medals with 9, followed by fellow cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins who has eight. Dame Laura Kenny, with five gold medals, has the most golds of any British female athlete and became the first British woman to win gold at three consecutive Olympic Games at Tokyo 2020. She shares the designation of most total medals by a British female competitor with horse-rider Charlotte Dujardin. Sir Steve Redgrave is the only British Olympian to win a gold medal in five consecutive Olympic Games, winning his first in 1984 Los Angeles and last in 2000 Sydney.

The British Olympic Association (BOA)

The British Olympic Association (BOA) is the National Olympic Committee (NOC) for Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The BOA selects ‘Team GB’ from the best athletes who will go on to compete in the 33 summer and seven winter Olympic sports at the greatest sporting competition in the world.

The BOA was formed in 1905 in the House of Commons and at that time consisted of seven National Governing Body (NGB) members from the following sports: fencing, life-saving, cycling, skating, rowing, athletics, rugby, football and archery.

The BOA now includes as its members the 42 NGBs of each Olympic sport, both summer and winter. Great Britain is one of only five countries to have been represented at each summer Olympic Games since 1896 and Great Britain, France and Switzerland are the only countries to have been present at all Olympic Winter Games since 1924. Great Britain has also played host to three Olympic Games, each held in London in 1908, 1948 and 2012, making our capital the only city to have staged the Games on three separate occasions.

The BOA is one of 206 NOCs currently recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Their role is to lead the promotion of Olympism in accordance with the Olympic Charter, which details the philosophy, aims and traditions of the Olympic Movement.

The British Olympic Foundation (BOF)

The British Olympic Foundation (BOF) is the charitable arm of the British Olympic Association, responsible for the development of the Olympic Movement, its ideals and values and encouraging participation and awareness of Olympic sport within the UK.

The Foundation aims to create learning opportunities for young people through sport as well as education to encourage personal development, fair play and personal excellence. With a variety of initiatives including the award-winning Get Set education programme, workshops, conferences, international exchanges and educational resources, the BOF aims to touch young people’s lives with the Olympic dream from primary through to university level students.

The BOF trustees have overall responsibility for the direction, management and control of the Foundation. The Foundation takes its responsibility for Good Governance seriously and extensive policies and procedures are in place, being updated annually, to ensure we maintain the highest standards.


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