Countdown to Rio 2016: Summer sports review with 1000 days to go

With 1000 days to go until Rio 2016, British athletes can look back on a successful year on the world stage

mo farah
Mo Farah won 5,000m and 10,000m gold at London 2012 Photo: Tab59/Wikimedia

With 1000 days to go until Rio 2016, British athletes can look back on a successful year on the world stage with 14 gold medals in Olympic events at World Championship level*.

Athlete Mo Farah, cyclist Becky James and slalom canoeist David Florence were all crowned double world champions in their respective sports.

Farah, rower Helen Glover and cyclist Jason Kenny also added world titles to Olympic golds won at London 2012.

Britain’s other new world champions were 400m athlete Christine Ohuruogu, Richard Hounslow, a partner to Florence in canoe slalom’s C2 class, BMX cyclist Liam Phillips, windsurfer Nick Dempsey, triathlete Non Stanford, rower Polly Swann, alongside Glover in the women’s pair, the British men’s rowing eight and Elinor Barker, Dani King and Laura Trott in track cycling’s women’s team pursuit.

In addition, Great Britain won 12 silvers at World Championships in 2013 and 11 bronze medals and also secured a host of podiums at European Championship events, including another double gold for London 2012 dressage star Charlotte Dujardin.

* Sailing’s Laser World Championships and gymnastic’s trampolining World Championships are still to be staged this year.


Two-time Paralympic champion Danielle Brown won her first able-bodied British title with victory in the compound final at the ArcheryGB National Series finals in Nottingham.

London 2012 Olympian Amy Oliver – who has spent most of the last 12 months recovering from extensive shoulder surgery – won the women’s recurve title while Olympic team-mate Alan Wills emerged victorious in the men’s event.

Brown, Rikki Bingham and Andrea Gales were Great Britain’s best performers at the World Championships, finishing fourth in the compound team event.


Mo Farah produced another golden double at the World Championships in Moscow to secure his place in the pantheon of long distance legends.

The double Olympic champion won again over 5,000m and 10,000m in Russia leading British Olympic Association chairman Seb Coe to label him Britain’s greatest athlete of all-time.

Farah – who will make his marathon debut in London next year – has now won five global titles in two years – a feat that only the legendary Kenenisa Bekele, the triple Olympic and five-times world champion, has previously achieved.

Christine Ohuruogu regained the world title she won in 2007 when a sensational victory in the 400m – storming down the home straight to snatch the win on a photo finish.

Elsewhere, there were bronze medals for Tiffany Porter in the 100m hurdles while both women’s relay quartets claimed third places over 4x100m and 4x400m.

James Dasaolu and Adam Gemili – now training partners – also announced their arrival on the global sprinting scene.

Dasaolu moved to second on the all-time British 100m list with a 9.91 second performance at the national championships in Birmingham – only 1992 Olympic champion Linford Christie has gone quicker.

Gemili became only the second Briton in history to dip below 20 seconds over 200m, finishing fifth in his first major world final in Moscow.


Chris Adcock and Gabby White have proved a winning partnership on and off the court.
After getting married this summer, the pair have been quickly rising the mixed doubles rankings.

They recently beat world champions Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir and have been just edged out in two close games against Olympic gold medallists Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei.


New British men’s head coach Joe Prunty was upbeat despite a first round exit at EuroBasket in Slovenia.

Prunty’s side beat Israel and Germany but defeats to France, Ukraine and Belgium – the latter a narrow 76-71 loss – meant despite matching their best-ever showing in the modern era, they didn’t progress.


London 2012 Olympian Zara Dampney and new partner Lucy Boulton had a season in transition as they started their bid to qualify for Rio 2016. They didn’t win a group match at the World Championships in Poland and finished 17th at the European Championships in Austria.


British Boxing’s performance director Rob McCracken declared himself satisfied with a return of two bronze medals from the World Championships.

Just over a year on from the London 2012, Britain left Almaty with podium places for middleweight Anthony Fowler and flyweight Andrew Selby, two more than the equivalent World Championships the year after Beijing 2008.

“It is early days in the Olympic cycle and we arrived with a relatively inexperienced squad, so to come away with two medals from a tough World Championships is a very good outcome and a better result than we achieved at the same point four years ago,” said McCracken.

“Overall, it has been a good learning experience for a lot of the younger boxers and they will be stronger for the experience and go away with a clearer sense of what it takes to become an elite international boxer.

Olympic champion Nicola Adams, world champion Savannah Marshall, Lisa Whiteside, Chantelle Reid and Ebonie Jones all won gold at the women’s European Union Championships in Hungary.
Marshall also won gold at the World Combat Games in Saint Petersburg.

Many of Britain’s Rio hopefuls were also part of the British Lionhearts team that reached the quarter-finals of the World Series of Boxing, only to lose to Mexico.


Double Olympic silver medallist David Florence became a double world champion in Prague.
Florence partnered Richard Hounslow to the C2 title and then won the C1 title – the first British paddler to win an individual world crown since 1995.

Florence also joined forces with Hounslow, Rhys Davies, Matthew Lister, Adam Burgess and Greg Pitt to the C2 team title while Mallory Franklin took silver in the women’s C1 class as Britain ranked third in the overall medal table.


Liam Heath and Jon Schofield upgraded their London 2012 bronze with K2 200m silver at the canoe sprint World Championships in Duisburg.

Russia’s Olympic champions Yury Postrygay and Alexander Dyachenko took gold but Heath and Schofield insist they’re getting closer after four consecutive years on the podium at world or Olympic level.

Elsewhere, in the non-Olympic K5000m class Edward Rutherford took bronze while London 2012 gold medallist Ed McKeever finished sixth in the K1 200M final.


Liam Phillips produced a sensational performance to become BMX world champion in Auckland.
An imperious Phillips, 24, won every race en route to the final to take the rainbow jersey in style.

“Apart from 2011, I’ve been to every worlds since 1996 when I was a kid. It’s the first time I’ve won and it feels amazing,” said Phillips.

Former world champion Shanaze Reade missed the worlds after a frustrating season hampered by injuries.


Rachel Atherton won gold in the non-Olympic downhill event at the mountain bike World Championships in South Africa.

Atherton claimed her second world title and also ended the year as World Cup series winner.
Meanwhile, British juniors performed well with golds for Jack McCarthy and Tahnee Seagrave and bronze for Michael Jones.


Chris Froome followed the lead of Sir Bradley Wiggins to keep the Tour de France’s yellow jersey in British hands on the Champs Elysees.

Wiggins had a season frustrated by injury and illness but won the Tour of Britain for the first time and claimed time trial silver at the road cycling World Championships in Italy a few days later.

Froome and Geraint Thomas were also part of the Team Sky squad that claimed world team time trial bronze in Florence while Katie Colclough was a gold medallist with her American-based team in the women’s team time trial, after which she announced her retirement.

However, bad weather made life difficult for British cyclists in the world road races.

No home rider finished the men’s race – team leader Froome was the last to abandon – while Olympic silver medallist Lizzie Armitstead finished 19th in the women’s race won by London 2012 gold medallist Marianne Vos.

Mark Cavendish took his career wins to 100 with a stage victory at the Giro d’Italia, where he also completed his set of Grand Tours points classification victories, only the fifth rider in history to achieve that feat.

He also won two stages of the Tour de France and dominated the sprints at the Tour of Britain, including the showpiece final stage in London.


Great Britain’s new look cycling team – without the experienced names of Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton – enjoyed a successful track World Championships in Belarus.

Becky James, overlooked for Olympic selection at London 2012, emerged as the star of the team, winning both the women’s sprint and keirin title and also taking silver in the team sprint, with Victoria Williamson, and bronze in the 500m time trial.

Laura Trott combined with Dani King and Elinor Barker to win the women’s team pursuit and finished second in the omnium.

Britain’s men’s team pursuiters – Steven Burke, Ed Clancy, Sam Harrison and Andrew Tennant – settled for second while three-time Olympic gold medallist Jason Kenny took the men’s keirin world title and Simon Yates claimed gold in the points race.

British cyclists have started the new season in style too – with an impressive medal haul from the European Championships in Holland and four golds at the track World Cup in Manchester.

The women’s team pursuit is now raced with four riders over 4,000m and the British quartet have consistently brought down the fledgling world record with every race in recent weeks.
Their current 4:19 best, set in Manchester, would have even won men’s bronze at the 1984 Olympics.


Tom Daley claimed 10m platform gold at the diving World Cup in Edinburgh while Alicia Blagg and Rebecca Gallantree were 3m synchro silver medallists at the Edinburgh and Beijing legs of the series.

European champions Tonia Couch and Sarah Barrow, Britain’s top 10m women’s synchro pair, also claimed silver in Guadalajara.

There were no British medals in the pool diving at the World Championships in Barcelona but three-time world series champion Gary Hunt won silver in the high diving, which made its debut at the event.


Double Olympic champion Charlotte Dujardin won two more golds at the dressage European Championships in Herning, Denmark.

Dujardin, 28, took the individual and freestyle title, breaking her own world record in the process.

She then joined with team-mates Carl Hester, Michael Eilberg and Gareth Hughes to finish third in the team event.


William Fox-Pitt won the 17th major medal of his career with a bronze at the eventing European Championships in Malmo – but the British team failed to make the podium for the first time since 1993.

Fox-Pitt was also the top British finisher at the Badminton and Burghley Horse Trials, finishing fifth and fourth respectively.

He also nearly made history by sweeping the podium at the four-star FEI event in Pau, but settled for first and third, despite coming into the decisive jumping around in all the top three positions.


Olympic gold medallist Ben Maher enjoyed more success in 2013, joining forces with Michael Whitaker, William Funnell and Scott Brash to win the European team title.

Maher also claimed silver in the individual event, Brash took bronze, and finished the season ranked number one in the world, leaping from 19th in 2012.

British riders also clinched the 2013 FEI Nations Cup eventing title ahead of Germany, which is based on combined performances through the season.


Richard Kruse won men’s foil gold at the World Combat Games in Saint Petersburg and was part of the British team that reached the foil quarter-finals at the World Championships in Budapest.

Great Britain’s men – Kruse, Marcus Mepstead, Keith Cook and James Davis – also won team foil bronze at the European Championships, beating world-class opposition from France and Russia in the process.

Davis also won an individual individual bronze at the event.


Golf will makes its Olympic debut in Rio and it’s been a solid year for British players in the men’s and women’s game.

Justin Rose ended a 43-year wait for a British winner of the US Open, winning his first Grand Slam title at Merion Golf Club in Pennsylvania, while Ian Poulter finished second in the defence of his World Golf Championship title in Shanghai.

Catriona Matthew will end the season as the highest ranked British woman in the world in tenth place while Jodi Ewart Shadoff enjoyed a solid season with career best finishes at two majors – seventh at the Nabisco Championships and fourth at the women’s US Open.

Both were part of the European team – which included fellow British player Charley Hull – that beat the USA 18-10 to win the Solheim Cup in Colorado.


Max Whitlock enjoyed a World Championships to remember after taking pommel horse silver and just missing a men’s all-around medal in Antwerp.

Kristian Thomas claimed Britain’s first ever world vault medal when he took bronze while rising star Ruby Harrold was the most impressive member of the women’s team – reaching the uneven bars final, where she finished seventh, and ranking 17th in the all-around.

Earlier in the year Whitlock won floor gold and pommel bronze at the European Championships in Moscow. Daniel Keatings topped the podium on the pommel horse while Sam Oldham took silver on the horizontal bars.

First year senior Laura Halford won the British rhythmic gymnastics title in the absence of London 2012 Olympian and six-time champion Frankie Jones.


Great Britain’s men’s team – under the charge of new coach Bill Baillie – failed to qualify for the 2016 European Championships after defeats to higher ranked rivals Greece and Italy.

Competitive handball returned to the London 2012 Olympic venue The Copper Box with a new team, Oly Cats, formed and coached by British team goalkeeper Bobby White, in action.

They are hoping to earn promotion to the men’s Super 8 League after their first season.


Jason Lee’s England women’s hockey team, including eight members of the Great Britain team that won bronze at London 2012, suffered penalty shoot-out heartache at the European Championships in Belgium.

After ending their final with Germany deadlocked at 4-4, Lee’s team – who had beaten the Netherlands in the semi-finals on penalties – were edged out from close range.

England’s men settled for fourth, losing 3-2 to the Netherlands in their bronze medal match.

Hockey’s new-look World League began in 2013 with both English teams booking their place in the finals and also securing their qualification to next year’s World Cup at The Hague.


Great Britain failed to medal at the judo World Championships in Rio de Janeiro.

But Colin Oates provided the best performance of the championships, beating reigning Olympic champion Lasha Shavdatushvili and triumphing over double former world champion and double Olympic bronze medallist Rishod Sobirov in the -66kg category.

Oates, Euan Burton and Sarah Adlington won golds at the European Open in October.


Double Olympian Nick Woodbridge secured the performance of his career with a silver medal at the modern pentathlon World Championship in Chinese Taipei.

Kate French, Samantha Murray and former world champion Mhairi Spence took gold in the women’s team event.

James Cooke ended the year ranked fourth in the world after some solid World Cup performances while London 2012 Olympian Spence finished the season just outside the women’s top ten in 11th.


Olympic champion Helen Glover forged a powerful new partnership with Polly Swann, going through the season unbeaten and claiming the world pairs title in Chengdu.

Glover won at London 2012 with Heather Stanning, who has since returned to active service with the army. But Swann has proved a more than capable replacement.

The decision of British men’s coach Jurgen Grobler to pack his best rowers into a powerful eight was rewarded with Britain’s other gold in China.

After some mixed World Cup results, the crew of Daniel Ritchie, Tom Ransley, Alex Gregory, Pete Reed, Mohamed Sbihi, Andrew Triggs Hodge, George Nash, Will Satch and cox Phelan Hill claimed the scalp of long-time unbeaten Germany in a dramatic final.

Elsewhere, there were bronze medals in Olympic class racing for Graeme Thomas, Sam Townsend, Charles Cousins and Peter Lambert in the men’s quadruple sculls; brothers Richard and Peter Chambers in the lightweight double sculls and Adam Freeman-Pask, William Fletcher, Jonathan Clegg and Chris Bartley in the lightweight men’s four.

In non-Olympic classes, lightweight single sculler Ruth Walczak and lightweight men’s pair Sam Scrimgeour and Mark Aldred also claimed third places.


England claimed second place at the rugby sevens World Cup in Moscow after a 33-0 defeat by New Zealand in the final – their best performance since winning the inaugural event in 1993.

Wales were eliminated at the quarter-final stage while Scotland didn’t progress through their group and lost to Canada in the semi-finals of the plate competition.

England’s women lost to eventual champions New Zealand in the quarter-finals and went on to lose 15-4 to Australia in the plate final.


Olympic silver medal winning windsurfer Nick Dempsey become the first man to claim two windsurfing World Championship titles.

The 32-year old bettered long-time Dutch rival and Olympic champion Dorian Van Rijsselberge to take gold at the Brazilian resort of Buzios.

Team-mate Bryony Shaw – a bronze medallist at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing – took silver in the women’s fleet behind three-time world champion Israel’s Lee Korzits.

Ed Wright secured silver at the Finn World Championships, as did new pairing Ben Saxton and Hannah Diamond, competing in the Nacra 17, the mixed crew catamaran that will make its Olympic debut in Rio.

Elsewhere, there were medal near misses for Olympic silver medallists Luke Patience and Joe Glanfield – who finished fourth at the 470 World Championships and 49er duo Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign, who occupied the same position in their class worlds.

The Laser World Championships for both men and women will be staged in November.


Olympic champion Peter Wilson took a year out from the sport but there was still plenty to cheer about for British shooters.

Two-time Olympian Elena Allen enjoyed individual and team success at the shotgun World Championships

Allen won women’s skeet bronze and then joined forces with Amber Hill and Pinky Le Grelle to take team silver.

Promising shooter Dan Tarrant won bronze in the men’s junior trap event.

Elsewhere, London 2012 Olympian Charlotte Kerwood hailed her trap gold medal win at the shotgun World Cup in Abu Dhabi as the best performance of her career.


Great Britain endured a difficult swimming World Championships in Barcelona with Fran Halsall waiting until the final day of competition to win their only medal – a bronze in the women’s 50m freestyle.

Olympic silver medallist Michael Jamieson has been in impressive form in the recent World Cup series, with five podium performances in Moscow, Dubai and Doha.


Double Olympian Jenna Randall quit the sport for a new career at Cirque du Soleil.

Randall and partner Olivia Federici claimed top ten finishes at the World Championships in Barcelona – eighth in the technical duet and ninth in the free final.

Great Britain also ranked 12th in the team event.


No British player managed to reach the last 32 of the table tennis European Championships in Austria.

Liam Pitchford, Daniel Reed, Sam Walker and Andrew Baggaley suffered a painful 3-0 team defeat at the hands of Romania, meaning they missed promotion to the championship division in the team event.

Joanna Drinkhall, Kelly Sibley, Hannah Hicks and Tin-Tin Ho also missed out on promotion.


After two medals at the London 2012 Olympics, Great Britain’s taekwondo team returned from their World Championships in Mexico empty handed.

The team won four medals in 2011 but suffered a series of early eliminations, Olympic champion Jade Jones reaching the quarter-finals and admitting that other countries have caught up on tactics pioneered by British fighters.

However, team officials remain confident the results were just a blip on the road to Rio and have high hopes for the inaugural World Taekwondo Grand Prix Series staged in Manchester in December.


Olympic champion Andy Murray ended Britain’s 77-year wait for a men’s singles champion at Wimbledon with a famous victory over Novak Djokovic, gaining revenge for his defeat at the Serbian’s hands at the Australian Open in January.

Laura Robson finished the year ranked 46th in the world – though at one point she rose to 26 after reaching the last 16 at the All England Club.

Murray returned to Davis Cup action after a two year break and helped Leon Smith’s team beat Croatia to set up their first World Cup match since 2008 – an away tie against the USA in February.

Great Britain’s Fed Cup women – coached by Judy Murray – lost 3-1 to Argentina in the World Cup II play-offs.


Non Stanford completed a memorable year by becoming Britain’s latest triathlon world champion in Hyde Park.

Stanford was consistent throughout the seven race series and took advantage of others’ misfortunes to convincingly win the decisive concluding race in London.

And it was a double celebration as team-mate Jodie Stimpson took silver after her year to remember.

Jonathan Brownlee settled for second in the men’s world standings after he was beaten by Spain’s Javier Gomez in London.

Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee paid the price for an injury disrupted season ending the season ranked fourth in the world.


Coach Paul Metz insists Britain’s women’s water polo team must return stronger from their ‘huge learning experience’ at the World Championships in Barcelona.

They suffered defeats against all their higher ranked opponents, Canada, Greece, USA and Hungary in their first appearance at the event in a decade.

Konstantinos Vamvakaris has since been appointed to oversee Great Britain’s women’s water polo team. He was previously assistant coach of the Greek men’s team, who ranked ninth at the London 2012 Olympics.

Great Britain’s men’s team will take on Russia, Slovenia, Israel and Moldova in the final qualification tournament for next year’s European Championships in November.


London 2012 Olympian Jack Oliver showed improvement as three Brits travelled to Wroclaw for weightlifting’s World Championships.

The 22-year-old won the British title in the 85kg class with a total lift of 312kg and was to place 21st in the came category in Poland.

Natasha Perdue ranked 18th in the women’s 69kg event, lifting a combined 204kg while English champion Emily Godley, competing in the women’s 63kg, ranked 19th.

Commonwealth Games medallist and London 2012 Olympian Zoe Smith missed the event through injury.


Yana Stadnik was the only British competitor at the wrestling World Championships in Hungary – losing in the second round.

Stadnik, who became a British citizen after London 2012, finished fifth at the event four years ago and is a European silver medallist but lost 11-4 to Poland’s Anna Lukasiak.

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