Bold predictions have been dampened by the pandemic but hopes for Team GB remain high as this Olympic year dawns, for a second time

Deep inside the UK Sport offices in central London there is a secret wall, accessible to only the most senior figures, on which the performances of every potential Team GB medal prospect are tracked and scrutinised. Normally seven months out of an Olympics that wall – in a room called the performance lab – would be a hive of activity. Instead it looks like the Mary Celeste.

“I’ve not been in that room since last March, so I don’t know whether the wall has a nice layer of dust or is being brushed down by the one person who still checks the office,” the UK Sport chair, Katherine Grainger, says. “I think it’s fair to say that there’s probably more question marks going into a Games than we’ve ever had.”

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