Britain’s Olympians excelled at Tokyo 2020, picking up 65 medals across the tournament - 22 of them gold.
While there were disappointments, not least the shock early exit of Jade Jones from the taekwondo, Team GB’s women’s football team crashing out against Australia and sprinter Dina Asher-Smith failing to reach the women’s 100m final and pulling out of the 200m with a hamstring injury, British athletes were magnificent throughout, not least in the pool, on the BMX track and on the water.
Here’s a complete list of all GB’s gold medallists.
Swimming, men’s 100m breaststroke
The mighty British swimmer picked up the men’s 100m breaststroke gold to record Team GB’s first win of the Games on Day Three, delivering on sky-high expectations and once more demonstrating his total dominance over the discipline. In so doing, Peaty became the first British swimmer to defend their title at back-to-back Olympics, following his triumph in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
His winning time of 57.37 seconds did not trouble his own world record time of 56.88 but he nevertheless coasted to victory in Japan after taking the lead at the 50m-mark, smashing the pool’s surface with his fists in triumph at the end before closing his eyes to soak in the moment.
The Netherlands’ fast-improving Arno Kamminga won silver and Italy’s Nicolo Martinenghi took bronze, while another member of Team GB, James Wilby, finished fifth.
Tom Daley and Matty Lee
Diving, men’s synchronised 10m platform
The dynamic diving duo claimed a stunning gold in the synchronised 10m platform in Tokyo on Day Three, the pair picking up 471.81 points and never dropping out of the top two.
Daley and Lee 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, presented with an opportunity by a surprisingly poor dive by China in round four.
They scored 93.96 in their own fourth round dive with an impressive backwards three-and-a-half somersaults pike to take charge.
Their fifth - a reverse three-and-a-half somersaults tuck - earned them 89.76 points to put the pressure on their Chinese and Russian rivals, before they finished with an impressive forward four-and-half somersault tuck to earn themselves 101.01 points and an unassailable lead.
The win was particularly sweet for Daley, who previously had to settle for bronze at the London and Rio Games in 2012 and 2016.
Mountain biking, men’s cross-country
The 21-year-old Yorkshireman produced a remarkable performance to win Olympic gold in the men’s mountain bike race at the Izu track on the outskirts of Tokyo on Day Three.
Pidcock worked his way to the front over the first three laps and then gradually pulled away, completing a dominant win by finishing 20 seconds ahead of Swiss silver medallist, Mathias Flueckiger.
Over seven laps of an 5.3-mile course made up of undulating dirt track, boulders, jumps, bridges and other obstacles, Pidcock mastered everything in front of him to dominate the race, although he did benefit from Dutch favourite Mathieu van der Poel suffering an unfortunate tumble over his handlebars.
Swimming, men’s 200m freestyle
Back in the pool, a high-quality men’s 200m freestyle race on Day Four saw Maidenhead’s Tom Dean, 21, take gold and Glasgow’s Duncan Scott take silver in a breathless finish that went down to the last couple of strokes.
Dean’s victory over his old friend was all the more remarkable given that he had twice been taken ill with Covid-19 during the pandemic - not life threatening in either instance but a major setback to his strict training regime nonetheless.
“When I was sitting in my flat in isolation, Olympic gold seemed like a million miles off,” he said after picking up his medal in Japan. “But here we are!”
Tom Dean, James Guy, Matt Richards and Duncan Scott
Swimming, men’s 4x200m freestyle relay
Dean and Scott were back on the podium on Day Five after triumphing again as part of the men’s victorious 4 x 200m relay team.
The quartet finished in six minutes 58.58 seconds, just 0.03 seconds off a world record time, as they left their rivals eating waves, with the Russian Olympic Committee picking up the silver and Australia the bronze.
The achievement also meant that Dean became the first British swimmer to win more than one gold medal at a single Olympics in 113 years. “I can’t even put it into words,” he said. “I couldn’t yesterday and I can’t today. I can’t thank these boys enough, from the bottom of my heart. Unreal.”
BMX, women’s racing
The 22-year-old from Leytonstone won BMX racing gold on Day Seven by beating defending champion Mariana Pajon of Colombia down the final straight, securing her win just moments after teammate Kye Whyte secured silver in the men’s event.
In so doing, Shriever and Whyte became the first British medallists in the sport since it was introduced to the Olympics at Beijing 2008.
Shriever utterly dominated the women’s event, winning all three of her semi-final runs before leading the final from start to finish.
Jessica Learmouth, Jonny Brownlee, Georgia Taylor-Brown and Alex Yee
Triathlon, mixed relay
Team GB’s first track gold arrived on Day Eight in the triathlon mixed relay, with Jonny Brownlee, 31, finally escaping the shadow of his decorated brother Ali to play a crucial role in the quartet’s win.
It was Brownlee’s second leg that proved decisive, capitalising after Jessicia Learmonth had started strongly to keep GB in the front bunch and allowing individual silver medallists Georgia Taylor-Brown and Alex Yee the platform they needed to beat the field.
“If someone had said at the start of my international career I’d have three Olympic medals and three different colours I’d have taken that. It’s super special,” Brownlee said afterwards.
“The way we all raced today was amazing. Jess set us up perfectly, we didn’t make any mistakes, we did everything as well as we could and Alex finished it off. To finally get a gold medal, I’m quite emotional.”
Adam Peaty, Kathleen Dawson, James Guy and Anna Hopkin
Swimming, mixed 4x100m medley relay
This golden generation of British swimming talent enjoyed another triumph in the mixed medley 4x100m relay in race best-described as an exhibition of fascinating chaos.
GB’s starting trio of Kathleen Dawson, Adam Peaty and James Guy had earned the lead before Anna Hopkin’s strong freestyle leg of 52.00 seconds proved good enough to hold off second-place China’s Yang Junxuan (52.71) and Australia’s Emma McKeon (51.73) in third.
Hopkin had the extraordinary experience of finding herself hunted down by five-time US Olympic champion Caeleb Dressel. “It’s pretty cool to say I beat Caeleb Dressel,” she said afterwards with a grin.
BMX, women’s park freestyle
Following on from Beth Shriever’s heroics, 25-year-old Mancunian Charlotte Worthington also triumphed on her bike, this time bringing home the freestyle gold at the Ariake Sports Park by overcoming a strong challenge from Hannah Roberts of the USA.
Worthington’s title was claimed with a jaw-dropping move early on in an exemplary ride that even the 97.50 score awarded to her did not do justice.
Her second trick in the sequence was an outlandish 360-backflip she botched in her first run. Despite her arm and confidence still feeling the impact of a battle lost to gravity, she took it on again second time around and landed it perfectly, becoming the first woman to pull off such a manoeuvre in top-level competition.
Gymnastics, men’s pommel horse
The British gymnast, 28, became the first Olympian in 30 years to defend their pommel horse title, overcoming the nerves to score 15.583 and match his exploits at the Rio Games of 2016.
In between the anxious before and the euphoric after, Whitlock was at his most calm: nailing a set-piece with such precision that his fears seemed unfounded. He now has six medals from three Games, placing him in the pantheon of British Olympic royalty alongside the cyclists Sir Bradley Wiggins, Sir Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny.
“Not since John Wayne has anyone made such thrilling action in the saddle look so natural,” wrote The Independent’s Vithushan Ehantharajah enthusiastically from Tokyo.
Tom McEwen, Oliver Townend and Laura Collett
The trio’s eventing gold was Britain’s first at the Olympics for 49 years but, perhaps more importantly, it marked the astonishing return of Laura Collett after she suffered a horror fall in 2013 that left her comatose, permanently blind in one eye and with her spine, shoulder and ribs shattered.
“Before having the accident I could have only dreamed of being here, let alone standing here with a gold medal around my neck,” she said. “I look back and I think back to where I was eight years ago, I knew I was lucky to be alive, let alone able to do the job that I love and be lucky enough to have a horse like this. It’s been a long road with a lot of ups and downs along the way. The moment like this, it makes every bad day worth it.”
Team GB had come close to gold in the last half-century - silver medallists in Los Angeles 1984, Seoul 1988, Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and London 2012 and bronze medallists in Beijing 2008 - but finally reached the top of the podium, with all three riders paying tribute to their respective “horses of a lifetime”.
Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell
Sailing, men’s 49er
The duo claimed the narrowest of victories in the 49er race on Day 11, kickstarting a spectacular run for Team GB on the water.
Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell went into the final medal race (where double points are awarded) in second, four points behind New Zealand’s Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, but overcame the Kiwis as well as a robust challenge from Germany’s Erik Heil and Thom Plossel to win the day.
“I think it’s been super close all week in racing and today showed off what it’s been like. It was an intense race but it’s mind-blowing to be sat here now being Olympic champions,” Fletcher said.
Sailing, men’s Finn
Less than an hour aftet Fletcher and Bithell’s victory, Giles Scott, 34, brought home another gold in the men’s Finn class, his victory meaning Britain has claimed six successive titles in the discipline dating back to Iain Percy’s success in Sydney 21 years ago. Ben Ainslie subsequently won three consecutive titles before Scott clinched his first gold in Rio, repeating the feat in Tokyo.
Scott had a nine-point lead going into the final medal race but had to play catch-up after a poor start and crossed the line in fourth, which was nevertheless enough to keep him ahead of Hungary’s Zsombor Berecz, who had to settle for silver.
Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre
Sailing, women’s 470
Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre took gold in the women’s 470 on Day 12 to continue Team GB’s incredible success on the water, yielding five medals - three of them gold.
Mills became the most successful female sailor in British Olympic history in the process, adding to her gold at Rio 2016 and silver at London 2012, and both she and her partner celebrated their victory by diving into the bay.
Switzerland took first place in the race, but Britain finished fifth to top the points table. After some late drama, Poland took silver and France were left in bronze.
The Enfield rider, 38, took gold on his horse Explosion W in the individual final, having previously won team gold at London 2012, beating silver medallist Peder Fredricson of Sweden and Maikel van der Vleuten of the Netherlands, who claimed the bronze.
Maher produced a dazzling display under the floodlights to give Team GB its second successive Olympic showjumping champion following Nick Skelton’s success with Big Star in Rio in 2016.
Maher might not have been able to take part had the Tokyo Games gone ahead as planned last summer, having undergone back surgery in January 2020, so is a rare beneficiary of the coronavirus pandemic. He now returns to the UK to get married.
Track cycling, men’s ominium
Ed Clancy won bronze at London 2012, Mark Cavendish won silver at Rio 2016 and 23-year-old Matt Walls completed the set in Tokyo, finally delivering Olympic omnium gold for Team GB with a complete display of powerful sprinting and tactical nous.
The competition - a battle to accumulate points over several disciplines - was reduced from six events over two days to four packed into three gruelling hours in Japan, but Walls was already the reigning European champion and laid down a marker with victory in the opening scratch race.
He subsequently finished third in the tempo and second in the elimination to lead the 20-man field heading into the points race finale. Despite the attacks of reigning Olympic champion Elia Viviani, Walls stayed calm to clinch the win.
Laura Kenny and Katie Archibald
Track cycling, women’s madison
Laura Kenny and Katie Archibald took gold for Team GB as they won the first-ever Olympic women’s Madison in dominant fashion. It was a fifth career Olympic gold for Kenny, who surpassed Dutchwoman Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel to become the most successful female cyclist in Olympic history as she took gold at a third consecutive Games.
The British pair looked in control from the off, winning the first three sprints on the track and then further extending their advantage after the Dutch pair of Kirsten Wild and Amy Pieters, reigning world champions, were caught in a crash with a little over 70 laps remaining.
The British duo got themselves in a series of breakaways in the second half of the race, hoovering up points in the sprints and gaining a lap with a little over 20 to go to build an all-but-insurmountable lead, finishing on 78 points, more than twice the tally of second-placed Denmark on 35.
Women’s modern pentathlon
Kate French put together a brilliant series of performances to become Britain’s second Olympic champion in modern pentathlon.
The Rio Games were the first Olympics since the women’s event was introduced in 2000 that Britain had not won a medal but French - who finished fifth in 2016 - made up for that in spectacular fashion, keeping her cool superbly in the final run-and-shoot.
The Kent native began the last event in fifth but surged into the lead by the end of the first lap and never looked like letting that go, hitting her targets with her laser gun impeccably, missing just two of her 22 shots.
Men’s modern pentathlon
Great Britain’s Joseph Choong won the men’s individual modern pentathlon title, becoming the first British man to take gold in the event by doing so.
The 26-year-old’s victory also confirmed a pentathlon double for Team GB after French’s gold in the women’s competition. World No. 1 Choong entered the laser run with a lead in the event, having emerged on top in the fencing, show jumping and swimming.
Choong and Egpyt’s Ahmed Elgendy left the last shooting range at the same time after the Briton made all five shots, leaving an 800m run to determine who would become Olympic champion. There was little to separate the pair, but it was Choong who ultimately surged ahead in the final 200m, ensuring Elgendy was left with the silver medal.
Boxing, men’s flyweight
Galal Yafai was still working full-time at the Land Rover factory in Solihull when his older brother Kal controversially missed out on a place in the boxing squad for London 2012.
Nine years later, the 28-year-old ended any lingering sense of Olympic injustice by dropping and defeating Carlo Paalam of the Philippines to claim the flyweight gold medal at the Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo
While Kal went on to claim a professional world crown and another brother, Gamal, won a European title, Galal admitted he always struggled to believe those who persistently told him he was capable of achieving a similar level of boxing success. But his split decision win over Paalam capped a series of stellar performances that have assured him, at least temporarily, of the family bragging rights.
Track cycling, men’s keirin
The British cyclist followed his wife Laura in taking gold in Tokyo and in so doing became this country’s greatest-ever Olympian, securing his seventh gold medal and ninth overall.
After progressing through the rounds, Kenny found himself in a six-man final, with his teammate Jack Carlin - bronze medallist in the men’s sprint - eliminated in the semi-finals.
He sprung clear of his rivals with three laps to go and hammered down the power, catching them all napping to open up a huge advantage that proved unassailable - tactical genius of quite breathtaking audacity.
Boxing, women’s middleweight
Lauren Price realised a childhood dream of becoming Olympic champion after a nerveless display in the women’s middleweight final before dedicating the gold medal to her grandparents.
Price was inspired by watching Dame Kelly Holmes storm to victory in both the women’s 800m and 1500m at Athens 2004 and the 27-year-old from Wales now has her own gold following a unanimous decision win over Li Qian.
After receiving the medal, she looked skywards in remembrance of her grandfather Derek who alongside Linda took Price in and raised her from the age of three, the pair helping their grandchild realise her sporting ambitions.
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