Britain is sending its ­biggest team to compete in a foreign ­Olympics, with more women than men for the first time ever

Four of those female athletes will be looking to win gold at three ­separate games in a row, which has never been achieved by UK women stars.

There will be 201 female athletes and 175 men in Team GB, with another 22 reserves ready to go across 26 sports when the games open next Friday.

It is the first time in the event’s 125-year history that the balance has shifted in the favour of women.

Cyclist Laura Kenny, ­taekwondo star Jade Jones, rower Helen Glover and ­equestrian Charlotte Dujardin, are all in line to take home a hat-trick of gongs in Tokyo after winning at London and Rio.

Glover will be the first British rower to compete after becoming a mum, while Kenny – who has also had a baby since Rio – is the UK’s most successful female athlete ever with four golds.

Team GB’s youngest star is skateboarder Sky Brown, who turned 13 on July 12. And at 54, dressage star Carl Hester will be the oldest.

If Hannah Mills scoops a medal in Tokyo, it will make her the most successful female Olympic sailor of all time, after landing silver at London 2012 and gold at Rio 2016.

Proud Team GB chiefs have declared 2021 the “year of the female Olympian”.

They will be hard-pushed to emulate the 67 medals in Rio. But after a grim 18 months of Covid and the disappointment of the Euro 2020 final, any haul will be a huge boost for the UK.

posted Friday July 16th
by Jeremy Armstrong