Which British athlete has won the most Olympic medals? All you need to know

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Britain's Bradley Wiggins raises his hand as he takes a victory lap after winning the men's cycling individual time trial at the London 2012 Olympic Games (Reuters)

Image credit: Reuters

01/04/2020 at 15:43 | Updated 01/04/2020 at 17:09

Which British athlete has won the most Olympic gold medals? Who is the most decorated Team GB Olympian? Answers to these questions and more...

When Team GB touch down in Tokyo next summer it will mark the country’s 29th appearance at a Summer Olympic Games.

Great Britain made its debut at the inaugural modern Games in Athens in 1896, where weightlifter Launceston Elliot claimed the nation’s first ever gold medal in the one hand lift.


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Elliot’s ascension to the top step of the podium was matched by tennis player John Pius Boland a few days later, and in the 124 years since a further 261 gold medals have been won by British athletes at Summer Games at home and abroad.

That tally puts Great Britain second on the all-time Summer Games medal table, behind only the USA and Soviet Union.

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But who are the greatest British Olympians?

Most medals

Team GB has dominated on the cycling track since the turn of the century so it should come as little surprise that it is inside the velodrome that the biggest medal hauls have been won.

Sir Bradley Wiggins competed at five Olympics, winning gold at four consecutive Games between 2004-2016.

The Breakaway - Bradley Wiggins' memories of winning gold in the London 2012 Olympic time trial


The most decorated female British athlete is rower Katherine Grainger, who won five medals during a 16-year Olympic career.

  • Bradley Wiggins - eight medals (five gold, one silver, two bronze)
  • Chris Hoy - seven (six gold, one silver)
  • Jason Kenny - seven (six gold, one silver)
  • Steve Redgrave - six (five gold, one bronze)
  • Ben Ainslie - five (four gold, one silver)
  • Jack Beresford - five (three gold, two silver)
  • Henry Taylor - five (three gold, two bronze)
  • Max Whitlock - five (two gold, three bronze)
  • Katherine Grainger - five (one gold, four silver)
  • Kathleen McKane Godfree - five (one gold, two silver, two bronze)

Most gold medals

Rio 2016 was Great Britain’s most successful overseas Summer Games with the team returning home with 130 medals, 59 of which were gold.

Male cyclist Jason Kenny helped himself to three cycling gold medals, to draw level with Chris Hoy — who beat him in the sprint final at Beijing 2008 — on six Olympic titles.

Gold medalist Jason Kenny (GBR) of Britain poses with his gilfriend, women's omnium gold medalist Laura Trott (GBR) of Britain.

Image credit: Reuters

Kenny’s wife and fellow cyclist, Laura Kenny has won more gold medals (four) than any other British female athlete. Steve Redgrave is the only British athlete to win gold at five consecutive Games.

  • Chris Hoy - six
  • Jason Kenny - six
  • Bradley Wiggins - five
  • Steve Redgrave - five
  • Ben Ainslie - four
  • Mo Farah - four
  • Laura Kenny - four
  • Matthew Pinsent - four
  • Paulo Radmilovic - four
  • Jack Beresford - three
  • Ed Clancy - three
  • Reginald Doherty - three
  • Charlotte Dujardin - three
  • Richard Meade - three
  • Pete Reed - three
  • Henry Taylor - three
  • Andrew Triggs Hodge - three
  • George Wilkinson - three

Most track and field medals

Great Britain has won 55 track and field gold medals to date, most recently Mo Farah’s 5,000m and 10,000m double in Rio four years ago. The distance runner is Britain’s most successful Olympic track and field athlete.

  • Mo Farah - four medals (four gold)
  • Seb Coe - four (two gold, two silver)
  • Guy Butler - four (one gold, one silver, two bronze)
  • Christine Ohuruogu - four (one gold, one silver, two bronze)
  • Albert Hill - three (two gold, one silver)
  • Linford Christie - three (one gold, two silver)
  • David Hemery - three (one gold, one silver, one bronze)
  • Mary Rand - three (one gold, one silver, one bronze)
  • Steve Backley - three (two silver, one bronze)
  • Kriss Akabusi - three (one silver, two bronze)

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Most medals won at a single Games

Henry Taylor became the first British athlete to win three gold medals at a single Summer Games when he claimed victory in the 400m freestyle, 1500m freestyle and 4x200m freestyle at the 1908 Olympics in London.

He remained the sole Brit to achieve that feat for exactly 100 years, until Chris Hoy took completed a gold medal triple at Beijing 2008.

  • Chris Hoy - three medals (three gold)
  • Jason Kenny - three (three gold)
  • Henry Taylor - three (three gold)
  • Reginald Doherty - three (two gold, one bronze)
  • John Arthur Jarvis - two (two gold)
  • George Larner - two (two gold)
  • Albert Hill - two (two gold)
  • Richard Meade - two (two gold)
  • Kelly Holmes - two (two gold)
  • Rebecca Adlington - two (two gold)
  • Bradley Wiggins - two (two gold)
  • Charlotte Dujardin - two (two gold)
  • Mo Farah - two (two gold) (twice)
  • Chris Hoy - two (two gold)
  • Jason Kenny - two (two gold)
  • Laura Kenny - two (two gold) (twice)

By Martyn Thomas


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