Rio 2016: How Team GB are shaping up

24 March 2015 / 14:25

With 500 days to go until the start of the 2016 Olympic Games, Rio is very much the focus of many of our athletes as qualification for next summer’s Games begins to gather pace. So how does it all work?

Rio qualification at a glance

The road to Rio actually began back in August of last year with the first qualification places being snapped up at the 2014 World Equestrian Games.

Between then and July 2016, each of the 28 sports set to feature in Brazil will offer the chance for athletes to secure either quota or named places at a variety of championships, qualifying events or based on ranking lists.

Each sport and event has a set number of places to give to athletes, with a maximum for each nation per event.

How many places have Team GB secured?

After success at the 2014 World Equestrian Games, followed by the shooting and then sailing World Championships, Team GB are already up to 25 quota places for Rio 2016.

Silver medals in the eventing and dressage events in Normandy secured two four-person teams before Ed Ling (men’s trap) and Elena Allen (women’s skeet) took shooting silvers to take the tally to 10.

Britain then enjoyed a fruitful sailing World Champs in Santander booking places in each of the 10 events on offer in Spain.

What is the difference between a quota and a named place?

Qualification for the Olympic Games are usually split into two categories; quota and named.

With quotas, the place is awarded to the country rather than the specific athlete who achieves the necessary standard.

The person who is eventually selected for the Games is done so at a later date, usually based on a performance at a number of events or, in some instances, more subjective criteria.  

Each sport will produce a selection policy setting out the basis on which it will select athletes for the quota places achieved.

With a named place the spot is usually reserved for the athlete who qualified the place. However, this does not guarantee that this individual will be chosen for the Games.

The final selection decision will be based on whether other athletes have also achieved named places in the same sport/discipline and whether the athlete has met other selection criteria set by their sport.  

When is the final team announced?

Each of the 28 Olympic summer sports will announce their teams for Rio 2016 separately once their final make-up has been decided upon.

Team announcements are likely to start later this year, with the bulk coming in 2016 as we get nearer to the Games.

What’s coming up to look out for?

Now spring is here the summer sport action is well underway, which means Rio 2016 qualification events have started to appear on the sporting calendar.

The 2014/15 World Series Boxing concludes next week with Joe Joyce in contention for Team GB’s first named place for the Games if he can finish top of the super-heavyweight rankings.

With two quota places already in the bag, Britain’s shooters will have further opportunities at various World Cup events through the spring, while the first four teams for both the men’s and women’s rugby sevens events will be decided at the end of May based on the final standings of the respective World Series.

Also this summer, the inaugural European Games in Baku will offer Team GB athletes Rio 2016 opportunities in 10 events via automatic qualification, ranking points or indirect qualification through qualification standards or securing a World Championship place.