London 2012 Countdown: The Facts of Team GB
There are just two weeks to go until the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics. The final preparations are being put in place and excitement is growing all the time. Over the last few months, the members of the team who will compete for Great Britain have gradually been revealed. The whole team has now been chosen, with an amazing 542 members competing for their country.
There have been a few controversial decisions over which athletes have been chosen for the team. The first one to make the news was when the taekwondo team was announced. Just one spot was given to the men in the under-80kg weight division, and that was taken by Lutalo Muhammad. However, it wasn't so much him that caused the controversy, but the man he replaced. Whilst Muhammad was ranked just 59th in the world, a fellow Brit who was overlooked- Aaron Cook, was ranked number one in the world and reigning European Champion.
Cook was devastated and felt that the selection process was very unfair. He therefore appealed, firstly to the British Olympic Association and then to the World Taekwondo Federation. However, both upheld the decision made by the GB Taekwondo, claiming their selection process had been transparent throughout.
A second even more high profile controversy was created by the exclusion of David Beckham from the GB football team. The squad is allowed three players over the age of 23, and it was thought that Beckham would surely be one of them. After playing a major role in both gaining the Olympics for London and then presenting the idea to the public over the last seven years, it was thought he was the perfect player to bring some attention to the football tournament.
However, manager Stuart Pearce overlooked Becks, choosing his old Manchester United team mate Ryan Giggs instead, who has since also been named captain. Fear not though, it London 2012 Chief Seb Coe has announced there will still be plenty for Beckham to do as an ambassador for London 2012.
Success in the Lead Up
With the Olympics so close, many of the athletes have been staying away from the limelight recently, busy training hard. However, there have been a couple who have been in the headlines for their achievements this week. Cyclist Bradley Wiggins is taking part in the Tour de France at the moment, and is on track to be the first ever British winner. He has had the famous yellow jersey that denotes the current leader for four days now is looking strong. Amazingly, after completing the gruelling 2,000 mile, three week race, he is taking part in the Olympic road Time Trial just 10 days later.
Another Team GB athlete making headlines is young 100m runner Adam Gemili. Just yesterday, the 18-year-old won gold at the World Junior Championships and set a new British junior record. He became the fastest young Brit ever with a time of 10.05 seconds, which is also the second fastest time run by a European this year. The youngster has appeared on the scene from nowhere, only taking up the sport full-time in January this year. After his times getting faster with every race, he will be looking forward to causing an upset at London 2012.
Team GB by Numbers
- 15: The age of the youngest member of the team- gymnast Rebecca Tunney. She's also the shortest (4ft 9inches) and the lightest (5st 7lb).
- 26: Weight in stone (165kg) of the heaviest member, shot putter Carl Myerscough
- 48: The minimum number of medals the team is aiming for
- 56: The age of the oldest team member 56-year-old dressage horse rider Richard Davison
- 60: Team GB athletes who were born outside of Great Britain making up 11%
- 95: The highest number of medals any research has predicted
- 262: Number of female athletes- the highest total ever
- 519: Number of official support staff for the athletes, plus 300 volunteers on top of that
- 175,000: Number of pieces of Team GB kit produced for the athletes to wear