Redgrave tips Team GB for bumper medal haul in Rio


With 100 days to go until the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, legendary Olympian Steve Redgrave believes Team GB are capable of collecting more medals than they did at London 2012.

British athletes won 65 medals on home soil four years ago, including 29 golds - an increase of 18 on their total tally from Beijing in 2008.

And, while five-time Olympic rowing gold medallist Redgrave concedes matching that number of victories may be a struggle, he sees no reason why the overall figure cannot be improved upon. 

"I think the gold medal tally is definitely going to be difficult to get to," Redgrave - an ambassador for the Team GB Club supporters' initiative, part of the Bring on the Great campaign - told Omnisport. 

"When I competed in my second from last Games [Atlanta 1996], Great Britain won one gold medal. That was a bit of a shock to all of us. Quite good for me, because I was that one, along with Matt Pinsent!

"We had a big step going to 11 in Sydney, then dropped back to nine in Athens, and with the announcement of London being the Games after Beijing, I was hoping we'd move up from that nine or 11 medals that we'd won.

"I didn't expect to be anywhere near 19 as we did there [in Beijing]. I would have been happy with 19 or low 20s in London, so to get 19 - I was glad it was in the teens and not into the 20s because I couldn't see us doing that much better in London.

"But we did, we got 29, so I think that we possibly could be around that Beijing level - high teens, low 20s - which would be an unbelievable performance.

"But people are thinking that the 65 medals in total [from London] is certainly achievable, so the gold medals may be slightly down but we may be up on our overall medal tally."

Heather Stanning and Helen Glover sparked the British gold rush in 2012 and Redgrave believes they can lead by example once again in the women's coxless pairs.

"The women's pair of Heather and Helen, who are reigning Olympic champions, haven't been beaten in the whole of the four years from being Britain's first gold medallists at London 2012, so they've got to be firm favourites to win," he added. 

"They've had a good winter, they're looking forward to it."

South America has never hosted a World Championship or World Cup event, but Redgrave does not anticipate any issues for Britain's rowers in adapting to the Brazilian climate.

"The foresight for our team is very structured," he commented. "No stone is unturned to make sure that we will get success.

"I'm convinced that they will perform well out there because I do feel that we have a better support structure than any other rowing country in the world."