With the 2012 Summer Olympics only days away there is a lot of fuss about the athletes, sporting events and countries, especially the host country of Great Britain.
So to kick off this Olympic mania, we're going to delve a little into some facts and figures about jolly old Great Britain.
Population: 62.3 million
Currency: Great British Pound (GBP)
Head Of State: Queen Elizabeth II
Head of Government: Prime Minister David Cameron
Previous Olympic Games Held in Great Britain: 1908 & 1948
The 1908 Summer Olympics were originally to be held in Rome, but as time got closer and the Olympic committee realized that Rome would not be prepared in time, they awarded them to London. London rose to the challenge and not only held the games at short notice but was the first country to prepare a stadium specifically for the Olympics. This also marked the first time that swimming events were not held in open water, but in a pool within the grounds of a stadium.
Originally, London was picked to host the 1944 Games but due to World War II they were postponed. The 1948 Olympics were the first Olympic Games to be held after a 12-year break due to World War II, and again London was chosen at short notice to be the host city. Despite facing problems due to rationing and shortages left in the wake of the war, Great Britain was able to rise to the challenge again and successfully host the return of the Olympic Games.
Past Olympic Greats from Great Britain: When thinking about past great athletes from Great Britain, these are by far three of the most influential figures in Britain's Olympic career:
Linford Christie: A very successful British sprinter throughout his career. Linford Christie, to date, is the only British male athlete to win a gold medal at all four of the major athletic competitions in the world -- the Olympic Games, European Championship, World Championship, and Commonwealth Championship. Linford Christie is the most decorated male athlete to come out of Great Britain with 23 major championship medals total, 10 of them being gold medals. Christie's last Olympic Games gold medal was in the 100m sprint at the 1992 Games held in Barcelona.
Sebastian Coe: Also known as Seb Coe, ran for Great Britain in the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, as well as the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Specializing in mid-distance running, Coe won gold in the 1,500-meter race at both Olympic Games he competed in, making him the first ever male athlete to win the 1,500-meter race at two consecutive Olympic Games in a row. Sebastian Coe helped lead the campaign to bring the Olympics to Great Britain in 2012, and has also played a big role as a member of the Olympic Planning Committee for the London 2012 Games.
Sir Steve Redgrave: A former British rower that managed to win five Olympic gold medals in consecutive games from 1984 to 2000. After the 2000 Olympic Games Sir Redgrave retired from competitive rowing, but has a busy schedule as a motivational speaker and running a charity, The Steve Redgrave Fund. Just like Sebastian Coe and Linford Christie, Steve Redgrave was a vital key to the success of the campaign to bring the games to London in 2012. On July 10, 2012, Sir Redgrave carried the Olympic Torch along side the River Thames in London.
Great Britain Medal Count from Beijing Olympics 2008: At the 2008 Summer Games, Great Britain found itself in decent standing on the medal table. Out of all 204 countries that competed, Great Britain found itself in 4th place on the medals table with 19 gold, 13 silver, and 15 bronze. The only other three countries that placed higher were Russia, the United States and China.
2012 Athletes To Watch Out For: With 556 athletes competing in the 2012 Olympics, it is said that Great Britain is in brilliant standing to bring home some serious medals. Although it was very hard to chose specific athletes to focus on, below are just four of the amazing athletes Great Britain has to offer this year:
Rebecca Adlington: A 23-year-old swimmer that specializes in the women's 400m freestyle, women's 800m freestyle, and women's 4x200m freestyle relay. Rebecca competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and became a gold medalist in both the 400m and 800m freestyles. She also placed first in the 800m freestyle and second in the 400m freestyle at the World Championships in 2011. She is being looked at as a medal hopeful for Team GB swimming.
Alistair Brownlee: A 24-year-old men's triathlon competitor. He competed in the 2008 Olympics and ranked only 12th, but has managed to come a long way since then. He has ranked first in the European Championships for both 2010 and 2011, as well as first in the World Triathlon Series for 2009 and 2011. He is a Team GB favorite for bringing home a medal in the men's triathlon.
Jason Kenny: Jason is a track cyclist for Team GB. He competes in the men's sprint, keirin and team sprint events. Beijing 2008 was his first Olympic event, in which he came home with a silver for the men's sprint and a gold for the team sprint. Has has consecutively places first and second in the World Championships for 2010/2011 and 2011/2012, and Great Britain is hoping that he can pull off another successful Olympic medal attempt.
Keri-Anne Payne: Keri-Anne is a 24-year-old women's 10km marathon swimmer for Great Britain. She is a veteran Olympic competitor after competing in her first Olympic Games in Beijing 2008. In the marathon 10km event she placed second, bringing home a silver medal. She has continued to compete in the marathon 10km events at various World Championships in 2009 and 2011, both placing her first place. She is another gold medal contender for Great Britain in the London 2012 games.
Additional Resources:United States, as well as an avid spectator of the Summer Olympic Games, especially swimming, track & field, rowing and gymnastics.