The Edinburgh 1986 Commonwealth Games - We Are England
The Edinburgh 1986 Commonwealth Games
Steve Redgrave Andy Holmes 1986

The Edinburgh 1986 Commonwealth Games

North of the border England stormed to the top of the medals table - to date their most recent success.

16 years on from staging Scotland's first Games, Edinburgh was once again the host city. England sought to capitalise on a team of fantastic talent, among it Steve Cram, Daley Thompson, Steve Redgrave (above left), Gillian Clark, Sarah Hardcastle and Tessa Sanderson.

It was England's biggest ever delegation at the Games with a total of 290 athletes and a further 93 officials. Despite Edinburgh's financial problems and the sadness of a boycott by 32 of the Commonwealth nations, the Games were described by General Team Manager R. W. Palmer as one of England's 'most successful Games for years... Whilst Games signify more than mere medal hunting it is gratifying to note that England won more medals (and more gold medals) than any other country."

Edinburgh 1970 was the last time rowing had featured and the Games' return to the city meant the sport's return to the programme. A legend in the making made his mark - Steve Redgrave. Winning three gold medals and setting records he stole the show, winning the single sculls, coxless pairs with Andy Holmes and coxed fours with Martin Cross, Adam Clift, Andy Holmes and Adrian Ellison. Redgrave later said that it was his three titles in Edinburgh that prevented him from an early retirement, long before he won his four other Olympic golds.

In the pool Adrian Moorhouse added the 200m breaststroke title to his 100m gold four years earlier to confirm his place as a Commonwealth Games favourite. Sarah Hardcastle won her first medals at the Games at the second attempt with two gold medal victories in the 400m and 800m freestyle events.

England dominated track and field thanks to a series of household names. In the men's track events Roger Black won the 400m, Steve Cram (above, centre) the 800m and 1500m (the former a Games record that still stands as of 2014), Steve Ovett the 5000m, and Jon Solly the 10,000m. Linford Christie, Mike McFarlane and Peter Elliott were among the names to win silver and bronze in their events. A 4x100m relay team comprised of Kriss Akabusi, Phil Brown, Roger Black and Todd Bennett beat Australia by less than a second for gold too.

England's women did just as well. Heather Oakes (100m), Sally Gunnell (100m hurdles), Joyce Oladapo (long jump), and Judy Simpson (heptathlon) won gold. Oakes then joined Paula Dunn, Kathy Cook and Joan Baptiste for the 4x100m relay title. All combined it saw England thrash Canada by eight gold medals to finish with 18 gold, 18 silver and 12 bronze.

It was business as usual in badminton as the mixed team, men's and women's singles, and the women's doubles titles all went to England. A fantastic array of talent including Steve Baddeley (men's and mixed team champion) and the two Gillians, Clark and Gowers (mixed and women's doubles champions - pictured above) stormed to success.

Malcolm Cooper and Ian Peel were the two standout names in shooting. Cooper won two golds in the small bore rifle events, one with his wife Sarah Cooper (both above). Peel took home two trap titles.

Whilst the boycott may have had a great deal of influence, boxing had five English champions. John Lyon, Sean Murphy, Darren Dyer, Rod Douglas and Jim Moran the victorious group.

A gold medal each in lawn bowls (Wendy Line, women's singles) and wrestling (Noel Laban, light heavyweight) added to England's final tally of 52 gold medals. Having missed out by a single gold four years earlier, it was perhaps fitting that a single gold medal made all the difference in 1986. Canada finished second with 51.

England's place at the top of the medals table would come under threat in Auckland however as the city hosted the 1990 Games.