Adlington named in all-time GB Olympic top 20

Swim star Rebecca Adlington.Swim star Rebecca Adlington.
Swim star Rebecca Adlington.
Swim star Becky Adlington has been named in a poll of the top 20 best British Olympians of all time.

Sir Chris Hoy, the former track cyclist, who won two gold medals in the London 2012 Olympics, came out top in the poll of 2,000 people.

But Adlington, of Mansfield, finished up in 19th place.

Second place went to rower Sir Steve Redgrave who won gold in five consecutive Olympic Games from 1984 to 2000.

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Decathlete Daley Thompson, briefly a footballer at Mansfield Town, came third followed by distance runner Mo Farah, who won gold in both the 10,000m and 5,000m at London 2012.

Current Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill, who was one of the medal winners during the famous ‘Super-Saturday’ of the London 2012 Olympics, completed the top five.

Other athletes to feature in the top 50 include Andy Murray, Sally Gunnell and Beth Tweddle.

A spokesman for Team GB’s Olympic outfitters Simon Jersey, said: “It’s true that Chris Hoy has one of the most successful careers in British sporting history.

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“He’s the most decorated of all, so we aren’t surprised that he’s been voted the greatest British Olympian of all time above so many other famous names.

“And many will remember Sir Steve Redgrave winning his fifth consecutive Olympic gold medal which has earned him his runner-up spot.

“With the 2016 Olympics in Rio just around the corner, many will be looking forward to the same excitement with both new and familiar Olympic faces on our televisions.”

Sixth place in the poll went to double Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes, followed by tennis star Andy Murray, cyclist Bradley Wiggins and track and field athlete Seb Coe,

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Roger Bannister, who ran the first sub-four minute mile in 1954 alongside his Olympic success, came 10th.

Marathon runner Paula Radcliffe, cyclist Victoria Pendleton and sailor Ben Ainslie also featured in the top 20 alongside Steve Ovett, Sally Gunnell, Steve Cram, Tom Daly, Paralympian Tanni Grey-Thomson, and Colin Jackson.

Also featuring in the top 50 were names who retired many years before the London Olympics in 2012, such as Steve Backley, best known for javelin in the athletics between 1996 and 2004.

British boxer Amir Khan and Redgrave’s team mate James Cracknell also appeared well within the best British Olympians of all time.

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Some names from much earlier days of the Olympics feature on the list such as Harold Abrahams, a track and field athlete who won the 100m gold in 1924, and Eric Liddell who won gold for the 400m sprint at the same Games in 1924 in Paris.

The spokesman added: “While many of our top 50 are now sadly retired from this level of sport, there are still many of them hoping to bring back the medals this summer.”


1. Chris Hoy (Cycling 2000-2012)

2. Steve Redgrave (Rowing 1984-2000)

3. Daley Thompson (Athletics 1980-1988)

4. Mo Farah (Athletics 2008-2012)

5. Jessica Ennis-Hill (Athletics 2012-)

6. Kelly Holmes (Athletics 1996-2004)

7. Andy Murray (Tennis 2008-)

8. Bradley Wiggins (Cycling 2012-)

9. Seb Coe (Athletics 1980-1984)

10. Roger Bannister (Athletics 1952)

11. Paula Radcliffe (Marathon/athletics 1996-2008)

12. Victoria Pendleton (Cycling 2004-2012)

13. Ben Ainslie (Sailing 1996-2012)

14. Steve Ovett – (Athletics – 1976-1980)

15. Sally Gunnell (Athletics 1988-1996)

16. Steve Cram (Athletics 1984)

17. Tom Daly (Diving 2008-)

18. Tanni Grey Thompson (Wheelchair racing 1988-2004)

19. Rebecca Adlington (Swimming 2008-2012

20. Colin Jackson (Athletics 1992-2000)

21. Mary Peters (Athletics 1972)

22. Fatima Whitbread (Athletics 1984-1988)

23. Matthew Pinsent (Rowing 1992-2004)

24. Sharron Davies (Swimming 1976-1990)

25. Beth Tweddle (Gymnastics (2004-2012)

26. Denise Lewis (Athletics 2000-2004)

27. Jonathan Edwards (Athletics 1996-2000)

28. Tessa Sanderson (Athletics 1976-1996)

29. Chris Boardman (Cycling 1992)

30. Roger Black (Athletics 1992-1996)

31. David Weir (Paralympic athletics 1996-2012)

32. James Cracknell (Rowing 1996-2004)

33. Ellie Simmons (Paralympic swimming 2008-2012)

34. Kriss Akabusi (Athletics 1984-1992)

35. Greg Rutherford (Athletics 2008-)

36. David Hemery (Athletics 1968-1972)

37. Amir Khan (Boxing 2004)

38. Laura Trott (Cycling 2012-)

39. Mary Rand (Athletics 1964)

40. Alistair Brownlee (Triathlon 2012-)

41. Steve Backley (Athletics 1996-2004)

42. Eric Liddell (Athletics 1924)

43. Nicola Adams (Boxing 2012)

44. Anita Lonsbrough (Swimming 1960)

45. Harold Abrahams (Athletics 1920-1924)

46. Louis Smith (Gymnastics 2008-2012)

47. Christine Ohuruogu (Athletics 2008-2012)

48. Jonny Brownlee (Triathlon 2012-)

49. Katherine Grainger (Rowing 2000-2012)

50. Sarah Storey (Paralympic swimming and cycling 1992–2012