Moving team GB forward

As Mick pointed out, I did an interview with Radio 4’s iPM earlier in the week, in which they were interested to draw out some discussion around this post I did more than 18 months ago. It was broadcast earlier this evening and you can listen to it here.

Interesting to me is the very unsatisfactory response from the Chief Executive of the BOA, who thinks that changing the name from Team GB to Team UK would be pointless, as the BOA represents all British overseas dependencies and Crown dependencies which do not have their own Olympic Committee. Which is an argument that there is no point in changing the name of the team to represent a country that actually exists, as it still wouldn’t fully represent all those under its auspices. Which is strange, as his own website has this to say:

Team GB is the Great Britain and Northern Ireland Olympic Team.

No mention of overseas dependencies there. I said it twice in the interview, and I’ll say it again here – there is no good reason not to change the name.

I used to write and get paid, now I read and don’t.

Former UUP staffer, currently living in London. @mjshilliday

  • Michael, these matters take a little time. I raised the name with ONS about 1999 and it eventually ‘graduated’ from Britain to UK.

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    Perhaps they should change the name to ‘The United Kingdom of Northern Ireland and Great Britain’!

    Would folk be happy with that then?

  • ozy

    A few years ago Trimble tried to persuade the govt to change the designation on car license plates from GB to UK – but seemingly so far without success.

    GB seems a bit anachronistic and narrow to me – particularly as the Olympic team does represent the Overseas Dependencies. These would be dependencies of the United Kingdom as a whole (rather than just GB)

    Here’s to Team UK in 2012.

  • 0b101010

    Note that Gordon Brown specifically corrected himself on this when calling for a “Team UK” football squad for 2012.

  • fenian bastard

    This is what it’s like when you’re “ulster”
    Thus is what it like when you’re small
    This is what it means when you mean nothing
    Nothing at all
    Nothing at all

  • George

    At least the official Olympic website says Paddy Barnes is from Great Britain. Oh, wait a minute, he’s not.

  • Phil

    Rather than carry on all the British nationalist nonsense and quibling over the name of the state and its olympic team (with emphasis on the word state as neither the UK nor GB are a true nation anyway) how about this for a revolutionary idea to bring the olympics into line with most other sports and which would also reflect the political and cultural reality that exists on these islands:

    Team England

    Team Scotland

    Team Wales

    and for those of you who really can’t stomach having anything to do with Team Ireland:

    Team Northern Ireland?

  • Conchúr

    “Team Northern Ireland”

    Complete non-runner I’m afraid. Olympic sports that are organised on an All-Ireland basis are affiliated with the OCI, hence Ireland is present at the Olympics as Ireland not the Republic of Ireland. The Irish Olympic team is regarded as representing the whole island. NI athletes who choose to represent GB are doing just that, representing GB not NI.

    To illustrate my point if for example Rugby 7s is included in the Olympics there would not be two teams from this island competing, just an Ireland team as it is an All-Ireland sport represented by an All-Ireland governing body as has always been the case.

  • Michael Shilliday

    That’s mostly nonsense.

    The “Ireland” team is not an “Ireland” team, it is a Republic of Ireland team. Some sports are organised on an all island basis, like hockey. And the last time Team GB won Hockey Gold on the team was one Jimmy Kirkwood of Lisnagarvey HC.

    Most people born in Northern Ireland are entitled to Irish citizenship, and are therefore entitled to compete with that team. A number of people do so because it is much easier to get into the Irish team than the British one. The British one however, remains a UK one regardless of the marketing speak.

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    How about Team ‘BRITISH’ Northern Ireland? Would Unionist folks be happy? Everyone would know then that athletes representing this team are all BRITISH citizens, where as folks who have an allegiance to the Irish nation can represent Team IRELAND!


    By the way, if the SNP have there way will there still be a Team GB in 2012?
    Plus considering that the Scots booed the GSTQ anthem at Hampden when it was performed for NI!

  • willis

    We are not the only country that isn’t quite sure what it is.

    If you look a looooooong way down the medals table you will find. Clue – It is below Ireland

    80 Chinese Taipei 0 0 4 4

  • Dewi

    Final medal table:

    Scotland Golds:3, Silvers:3, Bronzes:0
    Wales Golds:3, Silvers:2, Bronzes:0
    Ireland Golds:0, Silvers:2, Bronzes:2


    Did Russia not top of the gold medal list during the cold war when they had all those extra countries attached to the Soviet Union?

    The state of Northern Ireland is part of United Kingdom. There has been no official country called ‘Great Britain’ for 207 years since 1801 when the Act of Union was passed in the House of Commons.

    ‘Team GB’ instead of ‘Team UK’ is a mystery to me.
    Was Northern Ireland left out for political reasons
    or is this just plain ignorance on behalf of the organisers?

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    Final medal table:

    Scotland Golds:3, Silvers:3, Bronzes:0
    Wales Golds:3, Silvers:2, Bronzes:0
    Ireland Golds:0, Silvers:2, Bronzes:2

    ……and don’t forget England!

    Golds:13, Silvers:7, Bronzes:15

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    …..and fair play to Chris Hoy, who won all 3 gold medals for Scotland!

  • John Taylor

    it took a while but here we have more hand outs being asked for!