Which Team GB Athletes Could Strike Gold at Paris 2024?

Team GB are predicted to collect 66 medals in the 2024 Paris Olympics, which would be a very slight improvement on the 64 they managed in Tokyo three years ago. Medals are expected to come from a variety of sports ranging from rowing to trampolining and from canoeing to taekwondo but our focus in this article is on athletics events.

The British athletes we will cover in this article are among the best in the world when it comes to track and field events. With a good performance and perhaps a little bit of luck too, they could end up winning gold inside the 77,083 capacity Stade de France.

How Many Golds Should GB Expect in Athletics?

Dina Asher-Smith, centre
Dina Asher-Smith, centre (Credit Erik van Leeuwen via Wikipedia)

There will be 48 athletics gold medals up for grabs this summer in Paris and 1,810 competitors gunning for them. Looking back at recent Olympics, athletics has not been a massive area of strength for Team GB of late. At Tokyo they managed just five medals in total, none of which were gold, putting them 23rd in the table. The performance was better in Rio in 2016 with seven medals total, two of which were gold, but this is still not a particularly big haul.

Based on these last two efforts then, a couple of golds would mark a decent return for Team GB. Their top performance this side of the century in athletics came in London 2012 (four golds) but home advantage played its part in that. Although Paris is only a train journey away, matching this tally will be an extremely big ask especially as most of Britain’s very best talents compete in events outside of athletics.

Statisticians Gracenote, who made the 66 medal prediction for Team GB, are not expecting any golds in athletics. From the 13 golds their statistical model predicts, all of them come outside of track and field events. So, here are the names though that have the best chance of proving Gracenote wrong.

Josh Kerr

Current 1,500m world champion, Josh Kerr, has been in fine form coming into Paris. In May’s Diamond League meeting in Eugene he proved his World Championship win was no fluke as he once again beat Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway, this time in the non-Olympic distance of a mile. In the process, the Scot clocked a rapid time of three minutes and 45.34 seconds, beating Steve Cram’s British record which had stood for 39 years. Additionally, his performance in Oregon made him the sixth-fastest miler in history.

Ingebrigtsen has the ability to bounce back though, so another triumph is no guarantee for Kerr. Whatever happens though, this sometimes frosty rivalry looks set to produce another fascinating encounter.

Katarina Johnson-Thompson

Injury denied Johnson-Thompson a shot at a medal in Tokyo but she is back again, this time with another Hepathlon World Championships gold medal to her name. In Budapest, she narrowly edged out Anna Hall of the USA with a season-best performance. Keep a close eye on her in the European Athletics Championships in Rome as a good showing there might give her the confidence to grab gold in Paris.

Dina Asher-Smith

The fastest British woman ever, over 100m and 200m, is hungry to add her medals collection in Paris. The 28-year-old has two Olympic bronzes to her name (4 x 100m relay) but nothing in an individual event despite much success in other competitions. Although Asher-Smith was disappointing in the 2023 World Championships, finishing seventh and eighth in the two sprinting distances, it was a year impacted by niggling injuries. Now fully fit, she is getting back to her best as shown by her 10.98 finish in the recent 100m Diamond League meeting in Eugene (although that was only good enough for a third-place finish).

Matthew Hudson-Smith

Continuing the trend of double-barrelled names we have Matthew Hudson-Smith, a 400m specialist. His personal best of 44.26 seconds puts him as the current British and European record holder and it was a time he clocked recently. While aiming to book a place in the final of the 2023 World Championships, he could have run even faster had he needed to, but the race was clearly in the bag. He did have to settle for silver in the final but he was only 0.09 seconds behind Antonio Watson, a margin that will not be impossible to overcome in Paris.

Keely Hodgkinson

Another World Championship silver medalist comes in the form of Keely Hodgkinson. The 800m runner put in a battling performance against two big rivals, Mary Moraa and Athing Mu, in what was described as one of the races of the entire event. Any of these three could pick up gold in Paris, given how little there is to separate them at the top of the women’s 800m scene. It would be no real surprise if it is Hodgkinson though as the improving 22-year-old emphatically beat Moraa at the recent Eugene Diamond League meeting, setting a WL time of 1:55.78 in the process.

Laura Muir

Muir had to settle for silver in Tokyo 2020 as she did not have the speed to match Faith Kipyegon who clocked an Olympic record time of 3:35.11. The British record holder for the women’s 1,500m is set to face the Kenyan again in Paris and will need a herculean effort to beat the three-time world champion. While we would not put our money on her causing an upset, she will surely be one of the runners putting the most pressure on Kipyegon and there to capitalise on any mistake.

Molly Caudery

Any athletics success set to come to GB looks most likely to be from running events but Molly Caudery could be an exception to the rule. The pole vaulter claimed gold in the World Indoor Championships in Glasgow with a winning height of 4.8m, just 6cm short of her personal best. This kind of height might be enough to claim an Olympic gold but there is a lot of competition from the likes of Nina Kennedy and Katie Moon who both successfully cleared 4.9m in the 2023 World Championships.

Possible Team Golds

4 x 400m Relay
4 x 400m Relay (Credit Erik van Leeuwen via Wikipedia)

Team GB will be backing themselves for medals, possibly of the gold variety, in a few of the relay events, namely the 4x100m (men and women) and the 4x400m relay (women) following strong recent performances. The men finished a very respectable fourth in the 2023 World Championships, less than half a second by the USA and 0.04 seconds behind Jamaica in third.

As for the women, the 4x100m quartet managed third at the same event in Budapest although they were comfortably behind both Jamaica and USA who may prove too strong in Paris. Hopes of gold then perhaps look most likely among the 4x400m quartet who set an indoor British record in March at the World Athletics Indoor Championships.