North West England wins more medals for Team GB than any other region | GB team
Forget London and Yorkshire – the North West of England is the new home of Team GB’s Olympic medal factory.
The region’s athletes – including Britain’s most decorated Olympian Jason Kenny – have reached the podium 22 times at Tokyo 2020, more than any other part of Britain.
When the duplicate awards for the same event are removed, the region won 19 medals in Japan – seven gold, five silver and seven bronze – which would be enough for a 14th place on the medal table if the north -West of England was a country.
It was one less than New Zealand but ahead of many countries including Spain, Cuba and the Czech Republic.
Greater London came second in the regional tally, with 20 medals, while the Midlands and South East England were tied at 18 apiece and Scottish athletes have been on the podium 13 times.
The Yorkshire, who has long reveled in his exploits at the London 2012 Games, finished seventh in the UK standings with eight medals.
The Guardian analysis is based on the birthplaces of each athlete on the GB team and includes those who have won more than one medal. For example, swimmer Duncan Scott – who became the first British Olympian to win four medals in a single edition of the Games – counts as four medals for Scotland.
Six of the 22 medals in the North West of England were for swimming and five for cycling. Ten were won by women, including Charlotte Worthington, 25, who won gold in BMX freestyle, and Anna Hopkin, 25, who won gold in the 4x100m medley relay.
Wirral-born Chris Boardman, who in 1992 won Britain’s first Olympic cycling gold in 72 years, said part of the region’s success was due to its investment in world-class venues where the young athletes can train alongside world champions.
“In 1994 we had the velodrome, then we had a center of excellence, which meant newcomers could train alongside the Olympic gold medalists. Success breeds success, ”he said.
After winning gold in the women’s madison event, Laura Kenny and Katie Archibald revealed the secret of their victory: deprived of international races during the Covid, they had repeatedly simulated the chaotic event at the velodrome with the help from the Under 23 team. “Won in Tokyo, made in Manchester,” said their coach, Monica Greenwood, after their victory.
All of the UK team’s BMX track cyclists and BMX racers train at the National Cycling Center in Manchester, which features a BMX arena and mountain bike circuit as well as a velodrome.
The center was built for Manchester’s doomed bid to host the 2000 Olympics. An autopsy on why the organizers chose Sydney instead, concluded that “no one in their right mind would spend three weeks in Manchester rather than Sydney”.
Once his ego had healed, the city then successfully offered to host the 2002 Commonwealth Games. This led to the construction of more venues to international standards, including the Commonwealth Pool. The only swimming center in the UK to have two 50-meter pools under one roof, this is where James Guy perfected his swimming. GB Taekwondo senior and junior athletes also train in Manchester, at the National Taekwondo Center in Newton Heath, not far from Manchester City’s Etihad pitch.
There have been calls for Bolton-born Jason Kenny to receive the knight title as the last of the GB team’s athletes returned home on Monday.
The 33-year-old, who rose to prominence at the London Olympics, became the first Briton to win seven Olympic gold medals after defending the men’s keirin cycling title. His two medals in Tokyo make him Britain’s most decorated Olympian, while his wife, Laura Kenny, is the country’s most successful Olympian.
Alex Devany, principal of Jason Kenny’s former school, Mount St Joseph, said: “We think he definitely deserves a knight alongside Sir Chris Hoy and Sir Bradley Wiggins.
“We are extremely proud of all of his accomplishments and have loved seeing him flourish and succeed over the years since he left school in 2004 – from Beijing in 2008, then to London, Rio and now Tokyo. . “