Great Britain at the 1896 Summer Olympics

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Great Britain at the
1896 Summer Olympics
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
IOC code GBR
NOC British Olympic Association
in Athens
Competitors 10 in 7 sports
Gold Silver Bronze Total
2 3 2 7
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.


Medal Name Sport Event
 Gold Pius Boland, JohnJohn Pius Boland Tennis Singles
 Gold Elliot, LauncestonLaunceston Elliot Weightlifting One hand lift
 Silver Goulding, GrantleyGrantley Goulding Athletics 110 m hurdles
 Silver Keeping, FrederickFrederick Keeping Cycling 12 hour race
 Silver Elliot, LauncestonLaunceston Elliot Weightlifting Two hand lift
 Bronze Battell, EdwardEdward Battell Cycling Road race
 Bronze Gmelin, CharlesCharles Gmelin Athletics 400 m


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 Unknown 3 Did not advance
Charles Gmelin 100 m Unknown 3 Did not advance
George Marshall 100 m Unknown 5 Did not advance
Charles Gmelin 400 m Unknown 2 Q 55.6 Bronze medal icon.svg
George Marshall 800 m Unknown 4 Did not advance
Grantley Goulding 110 m hurdles 18.4 1 Q 17.6 Silver medal icon.svg
George S. Robertson Discus throw N/A 25.20 4


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


Athlete Event Time / Distance Rank
Edward Battell Time trial 26.2 4
100 km DNF -
Frederick Keeping Time trial 27.0 5
12 hour race 314.664 km Silver medal icon.svg


Athlete Event Time / Distance Rank
Edward Battell Road race Unknown Bronze medal icon.svg


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).

Athlete Event Result Rank
Launceston Elliot Rope climbing Unknown 5


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

Athlete Event Hits Score Rank
Sidney Merlin 200 m military rifle Unknown 1156 10
300 m free rifle, 3 positions Unknown Unknown -
25 m military pistol DNF - -
25 m rapid fire pistol DNF - -
Machonet 200 m military rifle Unknown Unknown -


Boland 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.

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


Elliot 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 Weight Rank
Launceston Elliot One hand lift 71.0 Gold medal icon.svg
Two hand lift 111.5 Silver medal icon.svg


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

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


  • 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.