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Great Britain at the 1896 Summer Olympics

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Great Britain at the
1896 Summer Olympics
NOCBritish Olympic Association
in Athens, Greece
April 6, 1896 – April 15, 1896
Competitors10 in 7 sports and 19 events
Summer Olympics appearances (overview)
Other related appearances
1906 Intercalated Games

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.

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.


The following competitors won medals at the games. In the discipline sections below, the medalists' names are bolded. Medals awarded to participants of mixed-NOC teams are represented in italics. These medals are not counted towards the individual NOC medal tally.

Medal Name Sport Event Date
 Gold John Pius Boland Tennis Singles April 11
 Gold John Pius Boland Tennis Doubles April 11
 Gold Launceston Elliot Weightlifting One hand lift April 7
 Silver Grantley Goulding Athletics 110 m hurdles April 10
 Silver Frederick Keeping Cycling 12 hour race April 13
 Silver Launceston Elliot Weightlifting Two hand lift April 7
 Bronze Charles Gmelin Athletics 400 m April 7
 Bronze Edward Battell Cycling Road race April 12
 Bronze George S. Robertson Tennis Doubles April 9
Medals by sport
Sport 1st place, gold medalist(s) 2nd place, silver medalist(s) 3rd place, bronze medalist(s) Total
Athletics 0 1 1 2
Cycling 0 1 1 2
Tennis 1 0 0 1
Weightlifting 1 1 0 2
Total 2 3 2 7

Multiple medalists[edit]

The following competitors won multiple medals at the 1896 Olympic Games.

Name Medal Sport Event
Launceston Elliot  Gold
Weightlifting Men's one hand lift
Men's two hand lift



Track & road events

Athlete Event Heat Final
Time Rank Time 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
Launceston Elliot 400 m DNS Did not advance
Charles Gmelin 1:00.5 2 Q 56.7 3rd place, bronze medalist(s)
Grantley Goulding DNS Did not advance
George Marshall DNS Did not advance
George Marshall 800 m Unknown 4 Did not advance
George Marshall 1500 m DNS
Grantley Goulding 110 m hurdles 18.4 1 Q 17.7 2nd place, silver medalist(s)

Field events

Athlete Event Final
Distance Position
George S. Robertson Men's shot put DNS
George S. Robertson Men's discus throw 25.20 4



Athlete Event Time / Distance Rank
Edward Battell Men's time trial 26.2 4
Frederick Keeping 27.0 =5
Edward Battell 100 km DNF
Frederick Keeping Men's 12 hour race 294.946 km 2nd place, silver medalist(s)


Athlete Event Time Rank
Edward Battell Men's road race Unknown 3rd place, bronze medalist(s)
Frederick Keeping DNS


Athlete Event Result Rank
Launceston Elliot Men's rope climbing Unknown 5


Athlete Event Record Touches Rank
Wins Losses For Against
Edgar Seligman Sabre DNS


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

Athlete Event Final
Score Rank
Machonet Men's 200 m military rifle Unknown 14-41
Sidney Merlin 1156 10
Sidney Merlin Men's 300 m free rifle Unknown 6-18
Sidney Merlin Men's 25 m military pistol DNF
Sidney Merlin Men's 25 m rapid fire pistol DNF


Athlete Event Final
Time Rank
H.F Suter 100 m freestyle DNS
H.F Suter 500 m freestyle DNS


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.

Athlete Event First round Quarterfinals Semifinals Final
John Boland Singles  Traun (GER)
W 6–0, 2–6, 6–2
 Rallis (GRE)
 Paspatis (GRE)
 Kasdaglis (GRE)
W 6-3, 6,1
1st place, gold medalist(s)
George S. Robertson  Paspatis (GRE)
Did not advance
Frank Marshall DNS
George Marshall DNS
 John Boland (GBR)
 Friedrich Traun (GER)
Doubles  Akratopoulos /
Akratopoulos (GRE) W
Bye  Kasdaglis /
Petrokokkinos (GRE)
W 5-7, 6-4, 6-1
1st place, gold medalist(s)
 George S. Robertson (GBR)
 Edwin Flack (AUS)
Bye  Kasdaglis /
Petrokokkinos (GRE)
Did not advance 3rd place, bronze medalist(s)


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.

Athlete Event Result Rank
Launceston Elliot Men's one hand lift 71.0 1st place, gold medalist(s)
Launceston Elliot Men's two hand lift 111.5 2nd place, silver medalist(s)


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

Athlete Event Quarterfinal Semifinal Final
Launceston Elliot Men's Greco-Roman  Schuhmann (GER)
Did not advance =4


  • 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.