Team GB look to repeat yesterday's golden Super Saturday


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The Independent Online

Team GB will bid for further gold glory today on the back of the country's most successful day in modern Olympics history.

Last night saw a golden hat-trick for Britain in the Olympic Stadium when Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford each won their events within 45 minutes of one another.

"Super Saturday" had earlier seen three other gold medals awarded to Team GB athletes - two in rowing and yet another in the velodrome, propelling Britain to third place in the medals chart.

The frenzied crowd in the 80,000-capacity stadium went wild as Ennis, the poster girl of the London Games, won the 800m with a sprint finish, crowning two days of tough competition in the heptathlon.

In front of spectators including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Olympic silver medalist Zara Phillips and Prime Minister David Cameron, Ennis wept as she stood on the podium to receive her gold medal.

She said: "I can't believe I've had the opportunity to come to my first Games in London and won an Olympic Gold medal. It's unbelievable."

Former sports minister and ex-Sheffield MP Richard Caborn, who was in Sheffield's Don Valley Stadium with his family, said: "She's our golden girl. She's stuck with Sheffield and Sheffield's stuck with her."

Her first coach, Mick Thompson, said: "You can't get better than this. Where does she go next?"

Rutherford was the next athlete to claim victory for Team GB, with a surprise gold medal in the long jump. He described his victory as the "most amazing feeling in the world".

He was followed by Farah who danced for joy around the track after winning the 10,000m, hailing it as "the best moment of my life".

London Games chairman Lord Coe said it was the "the greatest night of British athletics".

It topped off a day which also saw success away from the stadium - a sensational world record-breaking performance by women cyclists in the frenzied atmosphere of the velodrome led to another gold in the team pursuit.

The team of Dani King, Laura Trott and Joanna Rowsell led from the start to beat the US in a world record time of 3:14.051.

The trio were presented with their medals before a spontaneous rendition of Hey Jude led by an onlooking Sir Paul McCartney.

And earlier, at Eton Dorney, an ecstatic crowd cheered the men's coxless four of Andrew Triggs Hodge, Pete Reed, Tom James and Alex Gregory to a victory, which extended Britain's dominance in the event to 16 years.

This was followed just minutes later by Kat Copeland and Sophie Hosking claiming gold in the lightweight event.

It was the best day for gold medals since 1908 with Team GB now boasting 14 gold, seven silver and eight bronze and in third place after China and the US.

The team will be hoping to retain its position in the chart as medal hopefuls compete in their events today.

Andy Murray is certain to win silver or gold when he takes part in two tennis finals: against old rival Roger Federer in the singles and then with Laura Robson in the mixed doubles.

All eyes will be on Louis Smith as he looks to win Great Britain's first ever gymnastics Olympic gold when he competes in the pommel horse final and back in the velodrome, Ed Clancy will battle it out in the men's omnium.

And in sailing Ben Ainslie will become the greatest Olympic sailor of all time if he manages to topple Denmark's Jonas Hogh-Christensen in his final race at Weymouth, while Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson are guaranteed at least bronze in the Star class.

Those with tickets inside the stadium will no doubt be keenly anticipating the chance to see Jamaica's Usain Bolt's bid to defend his 100m title tonight.

Jessica Ennis spoke today of the pressure she had felt as the poster girl of the Olympics.

She told BBC Breakfast: "It has been hard, I am not going to lie, it has been a lot of pressure and there were times through those two days I was worried something would go wrong, if it was three no-jumps or three no-throws, and I would have been devastated. It's a massive relief to have actually done it.

"I have always said that I felt lucky coming into a home Games in such a great position and hopefully being a big part of the Games," the Olympic champion added.

"Obviously having missed the last Olympics in Beijing, I was just trying to make the most of it and enjoy it.

"But yeah, it was so much pressure, everybody expected me to win and I just knew how hard it was going to be, so I'm just so relieved that I've got the medal now."

Greg Rutherford hailed the support and noise generated by the 80,000-strong crowd at the stadium last night, saying "it was the lift I needed to win".

The 25-year-old revealed he did not sleep a wink last night after his jump of 8.31 metres saw him take long jump gold just minutes after Jessica Ennis crossed the line for gold in the heptathlon.

But the Milton Keynes athlete has yet to be given his medal, with the ceremony taking place during tonight's athletics events, he told BBC Breakfast.

"The crowd were absolutely fantastic, they were getting behind every single Brit that went out there," he said, admitting the sheer volume of noise affected his first round jump before he composed himself for round two.

"It was absolutely amazing. I am fortunate enough to compete on the circuit and compete in front of some big crowds. To go out there and you have 80,000 people behind you, it was the lift I needed to win," he added.

He said he had tried to sleep after his win but his body would not switch off.

"Everything was going through my head, I still don't think I can quite take in what actually happened - this is what I have wanted my entire life and I have worked incredibly hard for it and my team around me have worked incredibly hard," he said.

"I have given everything I possibly could to do this and all of a sudden it has happened and you just don't know how to react really.

"I don't have the medal yet so I don't really have that to look at and cherish. I'm sure once I have it might sink in a little bit more and hopefully I might be able to sleep because I haven't actually slept at all.

"I have been up the entire night staring at the ceiling desperately trying to sleep and my body just didn't want to switch off."

He also said he owed a debt to former US sprinter and four-time long jump Olympic gold medallist Carl Lewis, after adopting his jumping style in a bid to overcome a persistent hamstring injury caused by his own technique.

"I have basically managed the entire year without an injury ... and here I am," he said.

Gold medal-winning cyclist Joanna Rowsell told how she and her team pursuit colleagues Dani King and Laura Trott took inspiration from the British cyclists who won medals earlier in the Games, including Bradley Wiggins' gold in the men's time trial.

"It gives a great boost to the team when somebody else wins gold," she told BBC Breakfast.

"That was such a great inspiration to the rest of the team watching television, screaming at the television shouting and cheering them on.

"It was incredible to watch and I have to say it gave us a definite boost."