Great Britain at the 1896 Summer Olympics

Ten athletes from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland competed in seven sports at the 1896 Summer Olympics. The Great Britain athletes were the fifth most successful in terms of overall medals (7) and tied for fifth in gold medals (2). The 7 medals came on 23 entries in 14 events.

Great Britain at the
1896 Summer Olympics
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
IOC codeGBR
NOCBritish Olympic Association
in Athens
Competitors10 in 7 sports
Medals
Gold
2
Silver
3
Bronze
2
Total
7
Summer Olympics appearances (overview)
Other related appearances
1906 Intercalated Games

Two tennis players (one English, one Irish) also played in mixed team squads, contributing to a gold and a bronze medal. These medals are not counted as part of the Great Britain total.

MedallistsEdit

Medal Name Sport Event
  Gold John Pius Boland Tennis Singles
  Gold Launceston Elliot Weightlifting One hand lift
  Silver Grantley Goulding Athletics 110 m hurdles
  Silver Frederick Keeping Cycling 12 hour race
  Silver Launceston Elliot Weightlifting Two hand lift
  Bronze Edward Battell Cycling Road race
  Bronze Charles Gmelin Athletics 400 m

Results by eventEdit

AthleticsEdit

The British athletes took two medals and a fourth-place finish in athletics. The 100 metres and the 800 metres were the two events in which they had little success.

Athlete Events Heat Final
Result Rank Result Rank
Launceston Elliot 100 m 12.9 3 Did not advance
Charles Gmelin 12.9 3 Did not advance
George Marshall Unknown 5 Did not advance
Charles Gmelin 400 m Unknown 2 Q 55.6  
George Marshall 800 m Unknown 4 Did not advance
Grantley Goulding 110 m hurdles 18.4 1 Q 17.6  
George S. Robertson Discus throw N/A 25.20 4

CyclingEdit

Battell and Keeping each won a medal in the cycling program, earning a 4th place and a 5th-place finish as well.

TrackEdit

Cyclist Event Time / Distance Rank
Edward Battell Time trial 26.2 4
100 km DNF
Frederick Keeping Time trial 27.0 5
12 hour race 294.946 km  

RoadEdit

Cyclist Event Time / Distance Rank
Edward Battell Road race Unknown  

GymnasticsEdit

Elliot finished in last place in the rope climbing competition. He did not make it all the way up the 14-metre rope, retiring at some point below 12.5 metres (the distance of the bronze medallist).

ArtisticEdit

Gymnast Event Result Rank
Launceston Elliot Rope climbing Unknown 5

ShootingEdit

Merlin and Machonet were unable to win any medals in the shooting events.

Shooter Event Hits Score Rank
Sidney Merlin 200 m military rifle Unknown 1156 10
300 m free rifle, 3 positions Unknown Unknown 6–18
25 m military pistol DNF
25 m rapid fire pistol DNF
Machonet 200 m military rifle Unknown Unknown 14–41

TennisEdit

Boland (later best known as an Irish nationalist politician) was by far the best player in the tennis competition, amassing a 6-0 record over both events and two gold medals, though one of them was as part of a mixed team. He defeated Traun in the first round of the singles competition, then teamed up with him for the doubles competition. Robertson was much less successful, losing both of the matches he played, though he was awarded a retroactive bronze medal by the International Olympic Committee as his bye in the doubles quarterfinals put him in third place in that event. Like Boland's doubles gold medal, Robertson's bronze is not counted as part of the British total because the two played on mixed teams. Some sources include George Marshall and his brother Frank; the two were entered but appear to have not competed.

Player Event First round Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
Opposition
Result
Opposition
Result
Opposition
Result
Opposition
Result
Rank
John Pius Boland Singles   Traun (GER)
W
  Rallis (GRE)
W
  Paspatis (GRE)
W
  Kasdaglis (GRE)
W 6-2, 6-2
 
George S. Robertson Singles   Paspatis (GRE)
L
Did not advance 8
Opponent nation Wins Losses Percent
  Germany 1 0 1.000
  Greece 5 2 .714
Total 6 2 .750

WeightliftingEdit

Elliot (born in British India of Scottish ancestry) lifted the same amount as Viggo Jensen in the two handed lift, but was declared by Prince George of Greece to have taken second place based on lifting form. In the one handed lift, he easily defeated Jensen, who lifted only 57 kilograms.

Weightlifter Event Weight Rank
Launceston Elliot One hand lift 71.0  
Two hand lift 111.5  

WrestlingEdit

Elliot was defeated by eventual champion Carl Schuhmann in the first round of the wrestling competition, tying for 4th and last place.

Wrestler Event Quarterfinals Semifinals Final
Opposition
Result
Opposition
Result
Opposition
Result
Rank
Launceston Elliot Greco-Roman   Schuhmann (GER)
L
Did not advance 4
Opponent nation Wins Losses Percent
Germany 0 1 .000
Total 0 1 .000

ReferencesEdit

  • Lampros, S.P.; Polites, N.G.; De Coubertin, Pierre; Philemon, P.J.; Anninos, C. (1897). The Olympic Games: BC 776 – AD 1896. Athens: Charles Beck. (Digitally available at [1])
  • Mallon, Bill; Widlund, Ture (1998). The 1896 Olympic Games. Results for All Competitors in All Events, with Commentary. Jefferson: McFarland. ISBN 0-7864-0379-9. (Excerpt available at [2])
  • Smith, Michael Llewellyn (2004). Olympics in Athens 1896. The Invention of the Modern Olympic Games. London: Profile Books. ISBN 1-86197-342-X.