LONDON (Reuters) - Britain could win more medals at the Rio Olympics than at any previous "away" Games and possibly exceed the record haul of 65 at home in London four years ago, UK Sport said on Tuesday.
No nation has ever followed up hosting a Summer Olympics with an even bigger medal tally at the subsequent Games, but the body responsible for promoting sport in Britain refused to rule that out come August.
"UK Sport's latest intelligence suggests confidence should be high in British athletes achieving the best ever 'away' Olympics," it said in a statement. "Based on the latest sophisticated analysis, UK Sport also believes the aspirational goal of doing what no host nation has done before by winning more Olympic and Paralympic medals at the next Games post hosting, remains 'within sight'."
UK Sport Director of Performance Simon Timson told reporters that "if all stars align and things go perfectly" Britain could be looking at up to 79 medals in Rio. Team GB's previous best away from a home Games was 47 medals won in Beijing in 2008. British athletes won 29 golds, 17 silvers and 19 bronzes in London.
Britain won more medals than ever at the diving, gymnastics and swimming world championships last year, while cycling also picked up the pace. Final medal targets will be made public in July after team selection is finalised but are likely to be a in a range of 47 to 79.
"I remain confident the aspirational goal will be within the medal target ranges when we announce them in July but the least I expect is the best ever 'away' Olympics and to remain as competitive at the Paralympic Games," said Timson.