Team GB complete their best Olympics for 108 years
By Maria Hopwood
- Second in medal table
- Only host nation to go on to win more medals at the next Olympics
- Gold medals won across 15 different sports
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Olympics are over for another four years, what are we going to do without the daily excitement of Team GB’s exploits?
To put off those post Olympics blues for a few more days, let’s look at their continuing successes and some heart breaking misses in the final few days of competition, and consider their overall achievement.
After finishing second in the medal table, beating China, the future is looking very bright for Team GB. Only twenty years ago they came 36th in the medal table at the Atlanta games, securing a solitary gold. In Rio gold medals were won across 15 different sports, a diverse achievement other countries were unable to match.
In the last few days many great medals were won to add to the amazing medal haul, this is how it was achieved.
The Brownlee Brothers fought through the Rio heat to win gold and silver in the triathlon, with Alistair winning gold becoming the first man triathlete to retain an Olympic title. They celebrated by lying on the ground together at the finishing line, resulting in one of the best photographs captured at the games. In the women’s event Vicky Holland won an excellent bronze medal, beating her housemate and friend Non Stanford right at the end of the race.
Jade Jones became a double Olympic medallist by retaining her Taekwondo title, in doing so she became the youngest British athlete to defend her title. Jones was not the only Taekwondo success at the games, with Lutalo Muhammad winning silver, to add to his bronze in London, agonisingly losing out on gold in the last second of his fight. Bianca Walkden also came away with a Taekwondo medal, claiming bronze and is keen to improve on that at Tokyo 2020.
In the individual show jumping event, Nick Skelton won gold breaking several records as he did so. Skelton won Britain’s first Equestrian gold in his seventh Olympics, becoming the oldest Team GB competitor to win since 1908 and the oldest medallist in Rio and the oldest ever in Olympic Equestrian.
Mixed fortunes continued for Team GB in Athletics, with the great Mo Farah winning his second gold of the games in the 5000m, his hard work paying off and giving him the ‘double double’ after his London 2012 heroics and the first man to retain both titles. Farah confirmed later the world championships in London in 2017 will be his last track running events. Britain’s most successful Olympic track and field athlete of all time, and the world’s most successful in terms of medals, will be missed.
Elsewhere on the track the Women’s 4x100m relay team winning bronze and breaking a British record along the way. The team included Desiree Henry who was one of the young sports stars who lit the Olympic flame at the London 2012 opening ceremony.
Not so good news came for Adam Gemili who just missed out on a 200m bronze medal, coming fourth behind France’s Christophe Lemaitre losing out by an astonishing 0.003 seconds. Meanwhile Britain’s 4×400 relay men’s team were controversially disqualified from their semi-final, when Matthew Hudson-Smith was ruled to have his foot outside of the take-over zone.
On the hockey field, Team GB’s Women’s Hockey team made history by winning gold, a first for Team GB women’s hockey, with an exciting penalty shoot-out. Whilst on the water, Liam Heath won his second medal of the games in the canoe sprint.
Boxer Nicola Adams retained her title and is now Britain’s most decorated amateur boxer of all time, having also won the commonwealth games, European championships, and world championships. In the men’s category, Joe Joyce claimed silver.
In the diving pool Tom Daley qualified for the 10m semi-final by amazingly diving to an Olympic record and personal best. Sadly for him he had a reversal of fortune in the semi-final finishing last on the leader board and missing out on a chance to improve on his bronze at London 2012.
Thanks to funding from the National Lottery and extremely hard work by competitors and those behind the scenes, Team GB have much to look forward to. In the immediate future they will have two celebrations in their honour, in Manchester and London, whilst some people’s thoughts have already turned to who exactly will win the BBCs Sports Personality of The Year this year, a tough choice!
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