Monday, November 29

Great Britain team boss praises “greatest achievement in Olympic history” | GB team

Team GB’s groundbreaking performance in Tokyo has been hailed as “the greatest achievement in British Olympic history” after its young team equaled the London 2012 medal count on the final day.

With Jason Kenny successfully defending his keirin title to become the first Briton to win seven Olympic gold medals, and boxer Lauren Price also winning gold at middleweight, the British team finished fourth on the medal table with 66 total. , 22 of them gold.

While that lagged behind the United States, which finished on top with 39 gold medals, with China with 38 and Japan with 27, GB team mission chef Mark England insisted it still represented the best hour of Great Britain given the problems caused by the pandemic and inexperience. of the team.

“Against all odds, I think it is the greatest achievement in British Olympic history,” he said. “It was the miracle of Tokyo.”

England also revealed that Team GB had faced numerous challenges, including four false positives from Covid during the Games. One of them was in a team sport, and it would have forced the entire team to isolate themselves given the strict rules surrounding close contacts.

“That this team delivers 65 medals is absolutely extraordinary,” he added. The team has made history based on the most complex, challenging and difficult environments we will face, certainly in my life. And I can say that because I’ve been involved in five or six Summer Games. “

UK Sport President Katherine Grainger also praised GB’s ‘pioneer team’ for seeking new terrain on and off the field of play.

Composite image of Team GB medalists from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, with 22 gold, 21 silver and 22 bronze medals.
Composite image of Team GB medalists from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, with 22 gold, 21 silver and 22 bronze medals. Photograph: Adam Davy / PA

“I really think they have set new standards in so many different ways, and they have really burned their name into Olympic history in ways we weren’t expecting,” said Grainger, a five-time medalist and one of the best-considered figures in British sport.

“We had Jason Kenny, our most decorated Olympian. Charlotte Dujardin and Laura Kenny also as our most decorated Olympians. We have had our most successful swim team. We have had our most successful boxing team in a century. We just had these amazing moments.

“But beyond that, we have many firsts,” he added. “We have had our first medals in skateboarding, BMX and women’s weightlifting. We have had many newcomers to these Games and there is always a question of ‘Will you be able to deliver in your first games?’ and they have. And we’ve also had seasoned activists, like Laura Muir and Tom Daley, who have finally made their dreams come true for themselves. “

Grainger also emphasized how proud she had been of the Team GB athletes for talking about mental health or trying to do more for the environment, saying they were role models that should not just be thought of once every four years. during the Olympics.

“This team is truly pioneering as they have gone beyond their own sport in so many ways,” he added. “We have the most memorable role models who speak out on topics that are very close to their hearts, that are powerful on the field of play, but equally powerful off the field of play.

“We have Adam Peaty talking about mental health. We have Tom Daley speaking on LGBTQ issues. We have Alice Dearing in the water, talking about inclusion and diversity. And Hannah Mills talking about sustainability. These athletes are more than just athletes, they are wonderful people who are incredible examples to the rest of us. And I think that’s why they will be pioneering in all the different ways and will continue to do so for a long time to come. “

England, for their part, noted that not only were they the second most successful overseas Olympic Games after Rio 2016, but Team GB also won medals in 18 sports, more than any other country.

Once again, it was the Kennys who were the center of attention on the final day of action in Tokyo, with Jason running clear with three laps remaining to claim victory in the kierin and his ninth overall Olympic medal. His wife Laura finished sixth in their bid for a third consecutive omnium title. Laura Kenny leaves the Games as the only British woman to have won gold in three consecutive Olympics, having won gold in Madison on Friday alongside Katie Archibald. Jason and Laura also won silver in team events earlier in the week.

Great Britain’s last medal from these Games was won by Price, who finished a magnificent Olympics for Team GB by beating Li Qian to win middleweight gold with a unanimous decision.

England insisted that the GB team would only improve for the Paris Olympics three years from now. “We have had 16 fourth places in Tokyo,” he said. “This is a very young team. It is a very talented team. And it is a team in which I am absolutely sure that it will go to Paris in less than three years and it will do exceptionally well ”.

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