Exclusive Interview: Gail Emms MBE – Team GB’s Success at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games
Having earned a total of 67 Olympic medals, the Rio Games was the most success for Team GB since 1908, where the team brought home the same number of medals. Former Olympian Gail Emms MBE watched closely as the Badminton team won multiple bronze medals, despite the fierce competition from Japan and China.
We caught up with Gail to ask her thoughts of the Games, including her favourite moment and predictions for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Who is Gail Emms MBE?
Badminton champion, Gail Emms MBE, is one of the most respected British athletes in modern history. She started playing at just four years old, showing incredible dedication and talent from a young age, before turning professional upon her graduation from Kingston University. With a degree in Sports Science, and extensive experience of international Badminton courts, Gail is a leading authority on peak performance and marginal gains, topics of her public speeches.
Gail Emms’ Athletic Achievements Include:
X2 Gold Medals at the European Championships
X2 Gold Medals at the Commonwealth Games
X1 Gold Medal at the World Champions
X1 Silver Medal at the Olympic Games
Q: Did you expect Team GB to do so well at the Games?
“We knew it was possible, but didn’t know if they could actually go out there and do it. It just shows how much we have invested in elite sport as we’ve put everything into trying to find those marginal gains, into sports science and this group showed what we do with it. We showcased to the world what we now do in elite sport.”
Q: How did you react to the Badminton team’s bronze medal?
“It was possibly the biggest shock of the whole Games. It was just incredible as they scraped into the Olympics, are ranked 22 in the world and for them to then come away with a bronze medal was incredible.”
“We saw both sides of Team GB in Rio as those expected to win went out and did it and then there were magical stories like Ellis and Langridge who suddenly performed out of their skins, embodying the Olympic spirit, and just did it. They went out there determined to do their best, never thinking they were going to win a medal, which is what makes it so lovely.”
Q: What can you tell us about Rajiv Ouseph’s performance?
“He had a good draw, and he’d had a good draw in London too but didn’t capitalise on it. This time he went out and did what he should have. I’m really pleased for Raj because he’s such a skilful badminton player, a lovely bloke and sometimes it can be frustrating that he hasn’t achieved what he’s capable of.”
“In Rio, he went out and silenced a lot of people, so he’ll be really happy.”
Q: What did you think of Chris and Gabrielle Adcock’s disappointing defeat?
“It was a difficult group, but they had match points in all of their matches. For them, it will be a massive learning curve, but they are still young enough to go to Tokyo. They will be hurting, but they’ll learn from it and come back stronger.”
Q: How well did the host city, Rio de Janeiro, organise the Games?
“They did the best they could and for that you’ve got to hold your hands up and say well done. They maybe shouldn’t have got the Games because of the whole financial situation as it puts a lot of stress on a city, but they did what they could and that’s all you can ask from an Olympic host.”
Q: What was your favourite moment of the Games?
“The Brownlee brothers finishing first and second in the triathlon and of course the badminton boys getting that bronze has to be right up there. Mark Cavendish getting an Olympic medal was also great to see.”
“I also stayed up to watch Jason Kenny win the Keirin and then to see Mo do the ‘double double’ after winning the 5000m was great. Laura Trott and all the girls were brilliant too; everyone did us proud.”
Q: What are your predictions for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games?
“Tokyo have plenty of money to spend so it will be different from Rio. For Team GB, they will be up there again, in the top three, as I can’t see us going down the medals table due to the amount of money we have available to invest.”
“It’s onwards and upwards for us as, despite questions being asked about corruption and drugs in elite sport, Team GB will just do their thing and keep on winning.”
Book Gail Emms MBE
From marginal gains to the next Olympic Games, event host and sports speaker Gail Emms MBE can discuss a wide range of topics at conferences and functions. She has experienced first-hand the highs and lows of competitive sport, making Gail a leading authority on the winning mindset, and how to remain calm under pressure.
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