Brits hope to avoid dreaded 4th place at Olympics

Britain is pushing its athletes to turn fourth-place results

into podium finishes to achieve its medal target on home soil at

the London Olympics.

A projected medals table published in the Times of London

newspaper this week predicted Britain and Russia would record more

fourth-place finishes – 21 – than any other nation.

British athletes are looking to translate those performances

into medals, British Olympic Association chief executive Andy Hunt

said Tuesday.

”For many athletes, (fourth place) is the most difficult result

at the Olympic Games,” he said. ”While it represents a remarkable

achievement, it is also painfully close to a podium finish and the

realization of a dream that drives so many athletes – which is to

one day be called an Olympic medalist.”

Britain won 47 medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and finished

fourth behind China, the United States and Russia.

Consolidating that position has been the host nation’s aim ever

since, while Hunt said another goal is to ”win more medals across

more sports than in a century.”

To do that, the BOA has made it a priority to provide athletes

with the resources and support to make the podium in their


”In my many conversations and interaction with the athletes and

coaches who are training and competing day in, day out, in hopes of

representing Team GB at London 2012, one of the observations many

have shared with me is the mixed blessing that is a fourth-place

finish,” Hunt said.

”On the one hand, your or your team are the fourth best in the

world, which is a tremendous accomplishment in any endeavor. On the

other, a podium finish was clearly within reach.”