Rio 2016 round-up: Mo Farah wins third Olympic gold as Team GB dominate in the velodrome on a special Saturday

Farah retains his 10,000m Olympic title but Jessica Ennis-Hill and Greg Rutherford have to make do with silver and bronze respectively

Matt Gatward
Rio de Janeiro
@indymattgatward
Sunday 14 August 2016 00:14
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Team GB's women's team pursuit after their gold success
Team GB's women's team pursuit after their gold success

This winning a gold medal thing is becoming a bit of a habit for Great Britain who added three more on day eight to take their tally to nine – with success coming in the rowing, cycling and athletics on another 'Super Saturday'.

The GB joy was delivered at the scenes of their recent successes: the velodrome and Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, home of the rowing. Yet it was the sight of Mo Farah powering home down the final straight inside the Olympic Stadium that could prove to be the iconic image of this Olympics from a British perspective.

Farah's dreams of a third consecutive gold medal - and the second in the 10,000m following his double triumph at London 2012 - was nearly derailed by aan early fall when his American training partner, Galen Rupp, accidentally tripped him.

But Farah bouonced back immediately, and held off a spirited last-lap attack from Kenyan Paul Kipngetoch Tanui to clinch a thrilling victory.

Farah's success came minutes before a thrilling long jump final came to an end where Greg Rutherford was unable to retain his Olympic title, though he did at least show the resolve of a champion to clinch bronze with his final jump. American Jarrion Lawson thought he'd snatched victory away from his American compatriot Jeff Henderson - and a medal from Rutherford - with a mammoth final jump, only to be pegged back by over 50cm after his right hand touched the sand. Henderson took gold, leaving Rutherford disappointed with bronze four years after finishing on top of the world.

Jessica Ennis-Hill was able to go one better, but still fell short in her efforts to replicate her London 2012 Olympic victory as she finished runner-up in the women's heptathlon behind gold medallist Nafissatou Thiam of Belgium. Ennis-Hill led heading into Saturday's action, but saw her lead slip in the long jump when Thiam leapt clear of the reigning champion and the lead grew further when Thiam threw a huge javelin throw that meant Ennis-Hill needed to beat Thiam in the 800m final event by nearly 10 seconds.

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Ennis-Hill won her 800m race but it wasn't enough as Thiam finished within touching distance to claim gold, with Britain's Katarina Johnson-Thompson finishing down in sixth after a disappointing javelin.

The night was completed in the swomming pool, and while Great Britain took silver in the men's 4x100m medley relay final, the night belonged to Michael Phelps as the most successful Olympian ever bowed out in style with his 23rd gold medal.

The women’s team pursuit were the happy victors in the cycling, the quartet of Laura Trott, Katie Archibald, Elinor Barker and Joanna Rowsell-Shand breaking their own world record. They toyed with the United States until the final four laps at which point they floored it to dismiss their opponents and cruised home in 4 minutes and 10.236 seconds of exhilarating action.

Ennis-Hill took silver in the women's heptathlon

Becky James was the width of a spoke away from claiming another gold in the Keirin as she burst through the pack on the final lap only to lose out to the Dutch woman Elis Ligtlee by the narrowest of margins: just 0.033sec. Australia’s perennial challenger Anna Mears came home in third.

Out on the lake, the men’s Eight steamed to victory in the final leaving the rest in their wake.

Archibald, Trott, Barker and Rowsell-Shand celebrate winning gold

Jürgen Gröbler’s team led the way from start to finish and by 1000m, the halfway point, had built up a two and a half second lead on Germany; an ocean in rowing terms. The Germans fought back in the closing 500m but never looked like hauling in the Brits who won by 1.3sec.

They celebrated frantically, rocking the boat, splashing the water, four years of hard work rewarded with gold.

Gröbler, the genius behind GB rowing, claimed it was his finest hour in coaching terms. Given he has overseen the likes of Redgrave, Pinsent and Cracknell down the years, it was some claim. Nonetheless, Britain's victory in the eight is certainly up there with his best (and he’s had a few down the years...)

“With all the tradition, the Eight in our sport is the Blue Riband event. The power in our race was fantastic. They executed it as we discussed," he said.

Gröbler also oversaw the men’s coxless fours to victory on Friday. “In every team not all your dreams go in the right direction. But what can you ask more than two gold medals? In 2000 we had it and 16 years later we did the same thing again. It is fantastic.”

Andrew Triggs-Hodge and Pete Reed now have three gold medals each having won titles in Beijing and London in the men’s four. They were joined on the podium by Scott Durant, Tom Ransley, Matt Gotrel, Paul Bennett, Matt Langridge, Will Satch and cox Phelan Hill.

“I can't put it into words,” Reed said. “We've never been so ready. They're an amazing bunch of guys. That was a big, big, race.

"It's time like this that you just think you could do this forever. This is the greatest sport, it's the greatest feeling.”

Earlier, Team GB Women’s Eight took silver behind pre-race favourites the United States.

The GB team of Katie Greves, Melanie Wilson, Frances Houghton, Polly Swann, Jessica Eddie, Olivia Carnegie-Brown, Karen Bennett and Zoe Lee were last at the halfway point but fought back brilliantly and overtook Canada in the closing stages to take the lead. They then had to fight off the surging Romanians to hang on to silver by just 12 hundredths of a second. The US won by 2.49sec.

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It was a special win for five-time Olympian Houghton whose father passed away in the build-up to the Games.“The medal is for all of us,” she said. “My dad [Robin] is up there, with a great view and would have got to watch a great race.”

Andy Murray breezed into the men’s singles tennis final guaranteeing at least a silver beating Japan’s Kei Nishikori in straight sets. The Olympic gold medal winner in London four years ago now meets Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina in Sunday’s final.

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