More than a third of Britain’s London 2012 Olympic medal winners were born abroad or had a foreign parent or grandparent, a new study has suggested.
Researchers studying our most successful Games team in more than a century found immigration was a factor in least 24 of the 65 medals won by Team GB.
The analysis of podium places, by British Future, a think tank, found at least 11 gold medals, three silvers and 10 bronzes were won by athletes whose immediate family came to Britain from overseas.
Mohamed “Mo” Farah, 29, who won the historic 5,000m and 10,000m double, was born in war-torn Somalia and moved from Djibouti to Hounslow, west London when he was eight.
Heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis, 26, has Jamaican roots from her father Vinnie while 32 year-old Bradley Wiggins, the cycling time trial winner, was born in Belgium while his father, Gary, was Australian.
Peter Charles, 52, has spent most of the last two decades jumping for the Irish national team after taking up nationality in 1992 just prior to the Barcelona Olympics.
Laura Bechtolsheimer, 27, who won gold and a bronze in the dressage competition, was born in Germany while high-jump bronze medallist Robert Grabarz, 24, is proud of his heritage after his late grandfather, Ernst Karl Grabarz, 67, was born in Poland.
At least 16 medal-winners have family links to Nigeria, including 400m silver medal-winner Christine Ohoruogu, 28, whose parents moved to Britain in 1980 while 23 year-old boxing bronze medal-winner Anthony Ogogo’s father is Nigerian.
“The record-breaking achievements of Team GB athletes have reflected an inclusive and authentic pride in the shared, multi-ethnic society that we are today,” said Sunder Katwala, a director of British Future.
“It’s a different British Olympic team from the last London Games of 1948.
“Then, the popular sprinter McDonald Bailey from Trinidad stood out of the team photo as the only black athlete in a sea of white faces.”
The former general secretary of the Fabian Society told the Independent: “In 2012, Team GB has changed because Britain has changed.
“Our athletes, selected by fierce meritocratic competition, offer an everyday snapshot of the Britain that we have become, just as the volunteers and the crowds did.”