Glorious golden weekend lifts Britain to third in medals table

It will be remembered as Britain's golden weekend. The country's most successful two days at an Olympic Games for a century were rounded off here yesterday when the track cyclist Rebecca Romero won the eighth British gold medal in 48 hours. A total of 17 medals were won as Britain climbed to third place in the overall table behind China and the United States.

Twelve years after returning from Atlanta with one gold and finishing an all-time low of 36th in the medals table, the British team are poised to enjoy their most successful Games since winning 56 golds at the London Olympics of 1908. Their tally stands at 11 golds, six silvers and eight bronzes. With the cyclists favourites to win up to five more golds, the total of 15 from Antwerp in 1920 looks certain to be surpassed.

Colin Moynihan, chairman of the British Olympic Association, described it as "the greatest weekend in British Olympic history". He added: "We haven't delivered at this level of consistency across some of the sports which I would call the formula one sports for many, many generations." The Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, who will write a personal letter of congratulations to every British medallist, said: "The whole country has been watching and has been thrilled by Team GB. We are immensely proud of what they have achieved so far and inspired by their performance. Our Olympians' talent and dedication represent the very best of Britain."

The 1920 Games were the last at which Britain finished as high as third in the medals table. Although the team are likely to slip from that position by the time the Olympic flame is extinguished here next Sunday, their performance still represents astounding progress. They have already surpassed the nine golds won in Athens and need one more to beat the Sydney 2000 total, which was the highest since 1920. UK Sport's target of 35 medals here looks certain to be beaten.

It was the sailors who showed the way yesterday. Britannia ruled the waves at Qingdao as Ben Ainslie won his third successive Olympic gold in the Finn class and Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson finished top of the Yngling standings. It was a second Olympic gold in a row for Ayton and Webb, who won alongside Shirley Robertson in Athens.

The lightweight double sculls partnership of Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter won rowing gold at Shunyi Lake, where the women's quad and men's eight both took silver. Twenty-four hours earlier the men's four won their third successive Olympic title, overhauling Australia in a thrilling finale. Britain's final tally of two golds, two silvers and two bronzes was their best Olympic rowing performance for 100 years and saw them finish on top of the sport's medals table.

To win gold in the track cycling individual pursuit, Romero beat her colleague Wendy Houvenaghel in the final.

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Arts and Entertainment
James Hewitt has firmly denied being Harry’s father
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Catherine (Sarah Lancashire) in Happy Valley ((C) Red Productions/Ben Blackall)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?