Rio Olympics 2016: GB top table of fourth places - the 'worst position to finish'

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GB women beaten as Canada claim first ever Olympic rugby sevens medal

Fourth place is often described by athletes and commentators as the "worst position to finish" at the Olympic Games.

A lifetime of preparation can amount to missing the podium by a fraction of a second on the track, a finger length in the pool or a stumble on the gym apparatus.

As Rio 2016 enters its fifth day of competition, Great Britain are 11th in the medal table, with six medals.

But for fourth-place finishes, and the heartbreak that ensues, British athletes are out on their own.

Of the completed events, Team GB competitors have finished six in fourth place.

They are: James Guy in the 200m freestyle, Max Litchfield and Hannah Miley in their respective 400m individual medleys, Richard Kruse in the men's foil, the women's rugby sevens team and the men's gymnastics team.

The full 'fourth-place table' is:

6: Great Britain

4: China; US

3: Australia

2: Italy, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Japan, Colombia

1: North Korea, Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland, Ukraine, India, Slovakia, Mexico, Spain, South Africa, Russia, Hungary, Netherlands, Kazakhstan, Dominica, Latvia, Ecuador

According to Gracenote Sports' 'Virtual Medal Table, Team GB were forecast to take 17 fourth-place finishes in total - up from eight at London 2012.

That would put GB second in a fourth place table, behind the US with 28, and ahead of France (15) and China (14).

Predicted fourth-placed finishes for GB

  • Athletics - Shara Proctor (long jump); Team GB men (4x400m relay)
  • Canoe/kayak - Liam Heath (K1 200m); Liam Heath/Jon Schofield (K2 200m)
  • Diving - Chris Mears/Jack Laugher (3m springboard synchro)
  • Gymnastics - Team GB women (artistic) *Finished fifth
  • Modern pentathlon - James Cooke
  • Rowing - Jonathan Walton/John Collins (double sculls); Team GB (women's eight); Kat Copeland/Charlotte Taylor (lightweight double sculls)
  • Rugby sevens - Team GB women *Finished fourth
  • Sailing - Dylan Fletcher/Alain Sign (49er); Alison Young (laser radial)
  • Shooting - Steven Scott (double trap); Amber Hill (skeet)
  • Swimming - Team GB men (4x100m medley relay); Fran Halsall (50m freestyle)

Underachieving Team GB?

Team GB's medal target is a minimum of 48 to make it their best overseas Olympics. UK Sport said the best medal tally it could hope for was 79.

GB finished with 65 medals at London 2012 - a best ever total.

Gracenote Sport's Virtual Medal Table predicted 56 medals for Britain before the Games - with 18 golds, 16 silvers and 22 bronzes putting them in third place.

Their projections also suggested GB should have won 13 medals by the start of day five.

Head of analysis Simon Gleave said: "There is a shortfall of seven medals. These will have to be made up somewhere if GB is going to get anywhere near that total of 56.

Gleave acknowledged that GB got off to a slow start at London 2012, but added that they then claimed five medals including two golds on day five, and three more golds on 'Super Saturday'.

"Obviously we get some medals wrong but generally most right," said Gleave. "The only other country which is currently underperforming what we predicted by more than two medals is Mongolia - who have one instead of our predicted four at this stage."

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