Tokyo Olympics: Great Britain claim THREE Olympic golds and a silver

Britain had a sensational day in Tokyo today on what has been dubbed ‘Mega Monday’ as Team GB claimed a string of Olympic medals – including three golds in just five hours.

Adam Peaty became the first British swimmer to retain an Olympic title with a dominant display in the men’s 100m breaststroke, while Tom Pidcock stormed to gold with a dominant ride in the mountain bike race.

And Tom Daley finally won his first Olympic gold alongside Matty Lee in the men’s synchronised 10m platform – which was Daley’s third Olympic medal after he won bronze at London 2012 and Rio 2016.

Another silver or gold is guaranteed later today after Lauren Williams booked her place in the women’s -67kg taekwondo final against Matea Jelic at 1.30pm UK time after a pulsating win over Rio bronze winner Ruth Gbagbi.

The British medal flurry began earlier in the day when Alex Yee continued Team GB’s run of success in Olympic triathlon events with a silver medal on his debut, behind Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt. 

Tom Pidcock

Swimmer Adam Peaty (left) and mountain bike competitor Tom Pidcock (right) win gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics today

Tom Daley (left) and Matty Lee celebrate winning gold in the men's synchronised 10m platform final at Tokyo 2020 today

Tom Daley (left) and Matty Lee celebrate winning gold in the men’s synchronised 10m platform final at Tokyo 2020 today

In the diving, nerveless duo Daley and Lee finished with 471.81 points having never dropped out of the top two and took the Olympic title 1.23 points ahead of China, with the Russian Olympic Committee third.

The pair started well after an inward one-and-a-half somersault pike in the first round and continued their form to lead with two rounds left.

London breakthrough and Tokyo triumph: Tom Daley’s diving career

Tom Daley claimed his third Olympic medal when he won gold in the synchronised 10 metres platform with Matty Lee in Tokyo today. Here are some of the big moments of the 27-year-old’s career:

London breakthrough

Daley was an 18-year-old poster boy for the London Games – having competed at Beijing four years earlier – and he eventually delivered in the 10m platform. A poor performance in the preliminary rounds ranked him 15th out of 18 qualifiers for the semi-final. He improved to reach the final and was dramatically granted a re-dive following his first attempt after camera flashes distracted him. But he still finished third behind the USA’s David Boudia and China’s Qiu Bo to claim only the seventh medal Britain has ever won in Olympic diving. ‘To be honest, I was very nervous. I went in to it with a do-or-die mentality,’ he said at the time.

Synchro disappointment

Daley’s bronze came after disappointment at the Aquatics Centre in Stratford. Along with Pete Waterfield he missed out on an Olympic medal in the synchronised 10m platform event after coming fourth. They had led the competition after three of their six dives but a poor fourth round effort cost them. Their attempt at a three-and-a-half somersault, when Waterfield over-rotated and suffered a poor entry, dropped them out of gold medal contention and they could not recover.

Commonwealth Comforts

At the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Daley won a silver medal in the men’s synchronised 10m platform with partner James Denny. He also collected gold in the men’s 10m platform, defending the title he won at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010. At the World Championships in Russia later that year, Daley won gold with Rebecca Gallantree in the inaugural team event competition. He then won bronze in the individual 10m platform. At the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia he won the 10m synchronised platform with Daniel Goodfellow.

Rio bronze

At the 2016 Games in Brazil, Daley and Goodfellow won bronze in the synchronized 10m platform. ‘Going into the last round there’s an intense pressure in any competition, but when it’s the Olympics it multiplies by a million,’ said Daley. Despite his synchro success, Daley suffered disappointment individually after failing to reach the individual 10m platform final, despite initially setting an Olympic record score of 571.85 points in the preliminaries.

Tokyo Triumph

Daley and Lee held their nerve with a flawless performance at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre to claim Olympic gold in the synchronised 10m platform. The pair never dropped out of the top two to beat China to the title by just 1.23 points. It was the crowning glory of an Olympic career which started in Beijing in 2008 as a 14-year-old. A near perfect final dive – a four-and-a-half somersaults tuck – when the pressure was on in the last round proved the pair’s star quality.

 

China’s poor dive – a score of 73.44 points was ranked sixth in the fourth round – left the route to gold open for Daley and Lee. They scored 93.96 in the fourth round with an impressive backwards three-and-a-half somersaults pike to take charge.

A fifth dive – a reverse three-and-a-half somersaults tuck – earned 89.76 points to put the pressure on China ahead of the final round.

The British pair were 1.74 points ahead and an impressive forward four-and-half somersault tuck earned them 101.01 points and China could not catch them with their final effort.

Daley said he could not believe it after securing his first Olympic gold medal at his fourth games.

‘I mean to finally have this gold medal around my neck after so many – I mean I’ve been diving now for 20 years and this is my fourth Olympic Games and lots of people probably would have counted me out of this Olympics being the older person but I’m in the best shape physically and mentally,’ Daley told the BBC.

‘With the support of Matty coming into this competition and the way that we’ve been preparing, I think we’ve just had that unstoppable mentality this year and this is the first year that I’ve ever been able to think like that – that we are the ones to beat.

‘I still honestly can’t believe what’s happening and I honestly didn’t think I would get there in the first place, but here we are.’

Daley also said: ‘You want to win an Olympic gold medal but never think you actually will. I will carry on but I will definitely take a break. There are some beverages with my name on it to celebrate with my husband and family.

‘This means an incredible amount. All athletes put in such hard work and dedication into our performances. To be an Olympic champion after four attempts at it feels extremely special.’

Lee added: ‘In 2018 I moved my whole life to London from Leeds, I had nothing really in London. Our aim was to get an Olympic medal and for it to go the way we wanted it to is awesome.

‘I owe a lot to Tom because he has taught me a lot.’

Elsewhere, relief poured out of Peaty after he became the first British swimmer to retain an Olympic title in the final of the men’s 100m breaststroke.

While he was unable to break his own world record of 56.88 seconds, the 26-year-old from Uttoxeter stormed to Team GB’s first gold of Tokyo 2020 by clocking 57.37secs, the fifth fastest time in the event’s history.

His supremacy therefore remains unchallenged with closest challenger Arno Kamminga, the only swimmer other than Peaty to breach the 58-second barrier, finishing a distant 0.63s behind.

Peaty’s coronation has seemed inevitable as not only is his personal best almost a second quicker than anyone else who has ever competed over the distance but he is unbeaten in major competitions in seven years.

But Peaty, who swore twice on the BBC in an emotional poolside interview in the moments after writing his name into the history books, admitted the past year, which has included becoming a first-time father, has had its upheavals.

He said: ‘It’s been a heavy investment. A lot has changed this last year, more than the last five. Becoming a father, buying my first house and some days when I woke up and was like ‘this is hard, this is really hard’.

‘There’s been so many challenges, so many challenges and f****** some breakdowns as well. It’s like ‘what am I doing every single day? Why am I training three times a day, giving it everything for this swim?’.

‘I’ve hidden a lot of emotion from my own family, I’ve hidden a lot of stress and a lot of those moments where I was like ‘this is very, very hard’.

Tom Daley of Britain and Matty Lee Team GB wipe away tears on the podium after winning the gold medal at Tokyo 2020 today

Tom Daley of Britain and Matty Lee Team GB wipe away tears on the podium after winning the gold medal at Tokyo 2020 today

Tom Daley (front) and Matty Lee (back) produced a near-perfect display to take a gold medal

Tom Daley (front) and Matty Lee (back) produced a near-perfect display to take a gold medal

Gold medallists Britain's Tom Daley and Matty Lee pose with their medals after wining the men's synchronised 10m platform

Gold medallists Britain’s Tom Daley and Matty Lee pose with their medals after wining the men’s synchronised 10m platform

The British pairing were reduced to tears after the judges’ scores came through to confirm they had won the syncronised title

Daley (seen right) has waited 13 years to claim a gold medal having landed bronzes at the previous two Olympic Games

Daley (seen right) has waited 13 years to claim a gold medal having landed bronzes at the previous two Olympic Games

The 27-year-old was left lost for words when it was confirmed that his Olympic dream was complete in winning a gold medal

The 27-year-old was left lost for words when it was confirmed that his Olympic dream was complete in winning a gold medal

The two British divers placed the medals around each other's necks as they stood top of the podium in the diving centre

The two British divers placed the medals around each other’s necks as they stood top of the podium in the diving centre

Lee, making his Olympic debut in Tokyo, showed no fear as they fought back in the final few rounds to defeat China

Lee, making his Olympic debut in Tokyo, showed no fear as they fought back in the final few rounds to defeat China

Daley (left) made his Olympic debut back in 2008 in Beijing but had never before managed to win more than a bronze medal

Daley (left) made his Olympic debut back in 2008 in Beijing but had never before managed to win more than a bronze medal

Team GB's high score of 471.81 was untouchable even with a thrilling finish by China as they watched on having dived first

Team GB’s high score of 471.81 was untouchable even with a thrilling finish by China as they watched on having dived first

The British pair faced an agonising wait after the Chinese pair were last to dive but it was not enough to go and beat Team GB

The British pair faced an agonising wait after the Chinese pair were last to dive but it was not enough to go and beat Team GB

It was one of the most emotional scenes for Team GB of the Games so far as Lee and Daley added to the Mega Monday haul

It was one of the most emotional scenes for Team GB of the Games so far as Lee and Daley added to the Mega Monday haul

‘It’s like going for a promotion and trying to prove yourself every five years in 56-57 seconds, it’s like to trying to prove what you’re worth.

Adam Peaty: A man who made British Olympic history in the pool 

Adam Peaty is part of a select band of athletes in Olympic history where the burning question is not so much about whether he will win but by how much and if another world record will tumble.

For Peaty, who as a child developed a fear of water and being put in a bath after his older brothers mischievously told him sharks could get in via the plughole, is redefining what appears possible in the men’s 100 metres breaststroke.

Being unbeaten in seven years in major events is remarkable but to be almost one second clear of anyone in history is scarcely credible. It seemed only coronavirus or a slip on a wet board could have denied him glory at Tokyo 2020.

On the horizon with a time of 57.8 seconds in Friday’s heats was Arno Kamminga, but, to put that into context, Peaty breached the 58-second barrier for the 20th time after retaining his Olympic title.

No British swimmer had ever done so but Peaty’s path to gold in Japan has seemed inevitable. He duly delivered in Monday’s final in a time of 57.37secs – half a second slower than his personal best, but that was a mere footnote.

Peaty’s status as one of Britain’s best swimmers is well established and some would argue he already tops the list. He could remove any doubt in the minds of some by claiming a hat-trick of golds at Paris 2024, before he turns 30.

It is a far cry from his early relationship with the pool, where aged 14 his front crawl underwhelmed the coach who would become his guru so much that she packed him off in one of the slower lanes with younger girls.

However, Mel Marshall spotted his natural ability in the style he has come to master, helping to hone a chiselled 6ft 3in frame that is able to power adroitly through the water and leave all his rivals struggling to keep up.

It was at the City of Derby Swimming Club where the pair first met and it was his mother Caroline who woke up at 4.30am every morning to take the youngest of her four children from their home in Uttoxeter to training.

Peaty has credited his father Mark for instilling a relentless work ethic that only surfaced in a sliding doors moment while watching London 2012, which put the then unfocused 17-year-old on the right path.

He has not looked back, rising to prominence at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow by pipping his idol Cameron van der Burgh to gold. Peaty and the South African would go toe-to-toe many times with the Briton often prevailing.

European and world honours swiftly followed – as he dominated both in the 100m and 50m, which to Peaty’s chagrin is not an event included in the Olympics – before making his presence felt as he won Team GB’s first gold in Brazil.

A time of 57.13s – a jaw-dropping 1.56s clear of the field – shattered the world record he had set days earlier as he became the first British male to become Olympic champion since Adrian Moorhouse in the same event at Seoul 1988.

The great Michael Phelps was left astonished in his final race later on in the Games as Peaty clocked 56.59s in his split of the 4x100m medley relay. The United States won but Peaty had a fan in the 23-time Olympic champion.

Peaty had a lion and the Olympic rings tattooed on to his left arm as a reminder of his success but pride did not come before a fall on this occasion, as his achievements in Rio only spurred him on further.

Thus ‘Project 56’ was born and conquered as he clocked 56.88s en route to yet another gold medal at the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, to continue a hegemony few have enjoyed in any sport.

Peaty talks well about offbeat topics such as his beloved grime to more serious issues such as diversity, having last year become a father to a mixed-race baby boy with girlfriend Eiri Munro, who is of Nigerian descent.

He has credited the arrival of son George with giving him a fresh perspective on life and while many questioned whether the burden of expectation would get to him, Peaty spoke with authority about how he embraces pressure.

Peaty certainly showed no sign of being overwhelmed on his way to making history. He may not finish with the medal counts of the likes of Phelps or Usain Bolt, but what he is achieving is no less extraordinary.

‘I don’t think people back home would understand the amount of investment which has been put into this swim. For a lot of people they could lose it just in that last moment. For me that amount of investment has paid off.

‘There’s a lot of emotion, I’m probably not going to sleep for a while now, I’m so buzzed because that was the first British swimmer to ever defend a title. You can do what you want all year round; in your own arena, in your own backyard, it doesn’t mean anything, it means everything here.

‘The 99.9 per cent of time that we spend in the dark is for the 0.01 per cent we spend in light.

‘That’s something me and (coach) Mel (Marshall) have always believed in. That’s why I don’t think anyone deserves it more than me and that’s not an arrogant thing.’

Nicolo Martinenghi collected bronze in a time of 58.33s as Britain’s James Wilby missed out on a podium position, settling for fifth as he clocked 58.96s, in a race where Peaty showed his enduring class from the off.

Asked whether he was disappointed he did not lower the benchmark over the discipline he has mastered for much of the last decade, Peaty responded: ‘No, I don’t give a s*** about the time! No one thinks about times.

‘Yes, it would have been amazing to finish on a world record but it’s not about that and Mel said this morning ‘it isn’t about the time, it’s about the race’ and no one races better than me.’

Peaty – who brought a gold medallion with him to the Japanese capital which reminds him of his son, George, who was born last September – read a letter his partner, Eiri, wrote the night before his historic gold medal.

Peaty, who could win a second medal in the 4x100m medley relay later this week, added: ‘The letter goes ‘this is what it’s about’. I’ve had some messages from home but I only choose to read a few because that’s all I need.

‘There’s that film, The Last Samurai: too much mind, too much mind. All you’ve got to do is be present, be in the moment and enjoy it.

‘You don’t even have to think about the stroke, that takes care of itself, so I’m glad I can go home with at least one gold medal.’

Also today, Tom Pidcock stormed to gold with a dominant ride in the men’s Olympic mountain bike race in Izu.

The 21-year-old Yorkshireman started on the fourth row of the race but quickly got himself into the leading group and powered his way past the Swiss pair of Mathias Flueckiger and Nino Schurter to take control on the fourth of seven laps.

Flueckiger was the only man who could even remotely keep up as Pidcock kept the power down to win by 20 seconds, having time to snatch a Union Flag and hold it aloft as he crossed the line.

Pidcock adds the Olympic mountain bike title to his already long and diverse list of accolades, having won world titles in cyclo-cross, road and mountain bike events at under-23 level. This is Britain’s first Olympic mountain biking medal of any colour.

When asked how it felt to win gold, Pidcock told Eurosport: ‘Not real really. It’s pretty crazy that I became an Olympian and I was trying to tell myself at the start of the race it’s special just to be here.’

David Valero Serrano won the battle for bronze, 34 seconds down, the distance to the chasing pack underlining Pidcock’s dominance on the day.

Mathieu van der Poel, another of the pre-race favourites, pulled out after the fifth lap having crashed heavily early in the race.

Pidcock was racing in Japan less than two months after suffering a broken collarbone in a training crash on the road, but looked in supreme form as he bossed this race.

After Pidcock got himself in front his rivals gradually fell away, with Flueckiger the only one who could stay in touching distance.

But a slip for the 32-year-old on the fifth lap proved crucial as the man who tops the world rankings lost ground, then hope.

On his return from injury, Pidcock added: ‘Really hard. I haven’t done a good race since. I’ve trained really hard, I knew I was in great shape but there’s always doubt when I haven’t performed in a race.

‘But once the race started, I knew I was in a good place. The heat, I mean, obviously I didn’t feel good but everyone just told me no-one will feel good.’

Yee began the medal flurry as he began his first ever Olympic medal, claiming silver in the men’s triathlon.

Yee came agonisingly close to Britain’s first gold medal of these Olympics in the early hours of this morning, only to be beaten by Kristian Blummenfelt.

The Norwegian passed with just two kilometres remaining of the brutal test, running away to take the elusive prize.

Team GB's Adam Peaty made Olympic history in Tokyo by winning the men's 100 breaststroke

Team GB’s Adam Peaty made Olympic history in Tokyo by winning the men’s 100 breaststroke

Briton Peaty held his medal aloft and beamed during the medal ceremony after his triumph

Briton Peaty held his medal aloft and beamed during the medal ceremony after his triumph

Peaty dominated the field again to remain king of the pool and take Team GB's first gold medal

Peaty dominated the field again to remain king of the pool and take Team GB’s first gold medal

Peaty poses with his gold medal after he wins the Men's 100m Breaststroke and retains his Olympic title in Tokyo today

Peaty poses with his gold medal after he wins the Men’s 100m Breaststroke and retains his Olympic title in Tokyo today

Yee said: ‘I’m just a normal guy from south-east London. Dreams really do come true.

How Mega Monday now rivals Super Saturday

Super Saturday’ at London 2012 was Team GB’s most successful day at an Olympic Games in 104 years.

The gold rush started at Eton Dorney – in the rowing, with Alex Gregory, Pete Reed, Tom James and Andrew Triggs Hodge winning gold in the men’s four. Just 10 minutes later, women’s double sculls pair Katherine Copeland and Sophie Hosking did the same.

Over at the Velodrome in Stratford, Laura Trott, Dani King and Joanna Rowsell twice broke the world record on the way to winning women’s team pursuit gold.

And then, at the London Stadium: Jessica Ennis-Hill won the heptathlon, Greg Rutherford triumphed in the long jump and Mo Farah finished the job with gold in the 10,000m.

One day – six gold medals.

‘It hasn’t sunk in quite yet, it doesn’t feel quite real that it’s me. I hope I can just serve as an inspiration to many people that this is possible and I’m not anything special.’

He added: ‘I think I probably timed it (the run) a little bit wrong, leaving it a little bit late to close the gap to Kristian. Once I got halfway across it I was pretty cooked, I was starting to feel the heat and stuff.’

Jonny Brownlee finished fifth to add to his brilliant collection of one bronze and one silver.

Also today, Lauren Williams booked her place in the women’s -67kg taekwondo final with pulsating win over Rio bronze medallist Ruth Gbagbi in Tokyo.

The Blackwood 22-year-old stormed into an early lead and kept her advantage throughout to win 24-18 and advance to the gold medal match.

Williams, a former kick-boxing star who suffered a series of recent injury problems, will face top seed Matea Jelic of Croatia in the final later today.

In the hockey, Great Britain’s men’s hockey team continued their impressive opening to the Tokyo Olympics by recording a second successive win.

After defeating South Africa in their first pool game, Britain saw off Canada 3-1 at the Oi Hockey Stadium. Sam Ward and Liam Ansell, scorers in the South Africa encounter, were once again on target.

Ansell gave his team the lead before Ward struck, then Ansell’s second – it came after Canada had cut the deficit – eased any late nerves.

Ansell and company are next in action on Tuesday, with the much tougher proposition of tackling Germany. Ireland’s women conceded three times during the final quarter as they suffered a 4-0 defeat against Holland.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Mountain Bike - Men's Cross Country - Final - Izu MTB Course - Shizuoka, Japan - July 26, 2021.  Tom Pidcock of Britain celebrates winning gold. REUTERS/Matthew Childs

Tom Pidcock underlines his status as the most exciting young cyclist in Britain as he storms to victory in the men’s Olympic mountain bike race in Izu

Pidcock, whose qualification for the event was only confirmed late on because of his commitments in other disciplines, started on the fourth row but wasted no time in getting himself into a leading group

Pidcock, whose qualification for the event was only confirmed late on because of his commitments in other disciplines, started on the fourth row but wasted no time in getting himself into a leading group 

Tom Pidcock then capped off a marvellous Monday by winning gold in men’s mountain bike cross-country cycling

Having already collected junior or under-23 world titles in cyclo-cross, mountain biking and on the road, the 21-year-old Yorkshireman took things to another level with an Olympic crown today as he rode clear of the field, having time to grab a Union flag and hold it aloft as he crossed the line

Having already collected junior or under-23 world titles in cyclo-cross, mountain biking and on the road, the 21-year-old Yorkshireman took things to another level with an Olympic crown today as he rode clear of the field, having time to grab a Union flag and hold it aloft as he crossed the line

Meanwhile Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski’s hopes of a medal in the men’s doubles were ended by a second-round defeat against Japanese pair Ben McLachlan and Kei Nishikori.

Murray and Skupski survived a nail-biter in the first round but were unable to produce another comeback, going down 6-3 6-4 at Ariake Tennis Park.

It has been a difficult season for Murray and his lack of confidence was clear at times, while Skupski also missed some key shots, and one break in each set was enough for the impressive Japanese duo to progress to the quarter-finals.

Murray said: ‘We’re disappointed to lose, obviously. The Olympic Games comes round once every four years and everyone wants to do well, everyone dreams of coming in and winning a medal.

‘It was a tough match for us today. I think the other guys played very well, especially at the start to put us under the pump a bit. Just a tough day.’

This was Murray’s fourth appearance at the Olympics and he had to digest another early loss after only one win in three Games alongside his brother Andy.

It is not unusual for doubles players to compete into their 40s and, asked if he could have another shot in Paris in 2024, Murray said: ‘Maybe.

Alex Yee (back) bagged a silver medal on his Olympic debut in an impressive men's triathlon

Alex Yee (back) bagged a silver medal on his Olympic debut in an impressive men’s triathlon

Yee (right) was making his Olympic debut and he showed he will be a big player in the future

Yee (right) was making his Olympic debut and he showed he will be a big player in the future

‘I’ll be 38 then. There’s plenty of guys here still going strong at that age so we’ll see. If I am there, I guess it’s testament to the longevity of my career to play at that level for however many years.’

Andy Murray and Joe Salisbury will play their second-round match against German duo Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz on Tuesday, while Liam Broady takes on Hubert Hurkacz in the second round of the singles.

Elsewhere, Momiji Nishiya made history at the age of just 13 today as she became the first women’s Olympic street skateboarding champion.

A day after Yuto Horigome won the men’s competition for the host nation, Nishiya doubled up for Japan as she triumphed ahead of Brazil’s Rayssa Leal, also 13.

The sport, making its Olympic debut, has already taken these Games by storm and the sight of these two youngster battling it out for gold only added to the drama at the Ariake Urban Sports Park.

Nishiya finished with a score of 15.26 compared to 14.64 for Leal, who was looking to become the youngest ever Olympic champion but instead had to settle for being the youngest medallist in 85 years.

Japan’s Funa Nakayama, 16, completed an all-teenage podium with a score of 14.64.

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