Great Britain serves as the host country for the 2012 Summer Olympics. It's a role London should be used to by now--the huge city has hosted three Olympics dating back to 1908.
As a country, Great Britain has several well-known athletes and special moments throughout Olympic history.
Country name: Great Britain, United Kingdom
Population: 62,698,362 (July 2011 estimate)
Regions: England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland
Main language: Queen's English
Political leader (head of government): Prime Minister David Cameron
Head of state: Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Current Olympic athletes: 542
Team motto: "Our greatest team"
Best Summer Olympics medal haul: 145 in 1908 (56 gold, 51 silver, 38 bronze)
Best Winter Olympics medal haul: 4 in 1924 (1 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze)
Medal haul four years ago: 47 (19 gold, 13 silver, 15 bronze), second-best in the country's history
Notable sports: Rowing, sailing, swimming
Most decorated Olympic athlete: Sir Steven Redgrave, five gold medals in rowing in five successive Olympics
Teams to watch in 2012: Rowing, football (soccer), canoeing
Other notable facts: Official marathon distances were changed because of the 1908 London Olympics. The Los Angeles Times reported the official marathon distance is 26 miles, 385 yards because of a rush job that had to be done in London after Rome backed out of the 1908 Olympics. … Great Britain is expected to increase its average medal haul by 54 percent because of the games on its home turf. The Associated Press states an additional 21 medals may be won this year alone. … More than $500 million has been spent since 2008 by various entities preparing British athletes for the 2012 Summer Olympics. … The greatest rival with Britain to watch in these games is Australia. During the 2008 Beijing games, Great Britain pushed the Aussies out of fourth place in the medal table due to Britain's resurgence.
In a vote of all 2,400 surviving British Olympians, 58 percent chose rower Sir Steven Redgrave as the greatest of all-time. The Telegraph reports decathlete Daley Thompson came in second with 13 percent and Lord Sebastian Coe came in third with four percent. … The Associated Press reports Andrew Murray, fresh off his runner-up finish at Wimbledon, will be returning to the venue to try to win a medal in tennis. The 25-year-old took five days off after losing the Wimbledon final to Roger Federer.
William Browning has been a fan of the Summer Olympics since the games of 1984 in Los Angeles.