It’s that time again when we all start to convince ourselves we’re experts on sports we’ve literally never watched before, bit of Canoe Slalom anyone? Tokyo 2020 has started, although a year late, and with so many sports going on, that eight hour time difference and the absolute scandal of most the coverage not being on the BBC but Eurosport and Discovery+ (it’s complicated), it’s been pretty hard to keep up with Team GB’s efforts. If you’re feeling a bit lost on the whole thing but don’t want to miss out on the Olympics chat at the pub this weekend, Gef’s got you covered. We’ve put together a quick breakdown of GB’s efforts on each day of the games, including every single one of the 24 medals won by us so far (Team GB does represent Manx athletes when we send them).
No medals for Team GB on the first day of Tokyo 2020 but we still saw impressive sporting achievements such as the return of Helen Glover in the rowing after having three children since winning gold in Rio, she made it to the semi-finals of the women’s pair event alongside Polly Swann. However, there were also some unfortunate losses as former Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas crashed out of the men’s cycling road race which was won by Ecuadorian Richard Capraz, gaining only the country’s second-ever Olympic medal. The day also saw Andy Murray return to the Tennis, GB’s men’s gymnastics team begin their campaign, and the beginnings of Adam Peaty’s attempt to retain his gold in the pool.
Day two saw GB claim their first medals of the Games in the silver and bronze varieties. Chelsie Giles had the fortune of winning GB’s first medal in Tokyo with a bronze in the -52kg Judo event. The silver came thanks to Bradley Sinden who just lost out on the gold in a close final with Uzbekistan’s Ulugbek Rashitov at his first Olympics. Swimmer Max Litchfield came very close to a bronze with his fourth-place finish in the men’s 400m medley. It wasn’t all near misses in the pool though as swimming superstar Adam Peaty won his 100m breaststroke semi-final. However, there were also a couple shocks with returning champion Jade Jones out in the opening round of the Taekwondo, another defending champ Andy Murray pulled out of the Tennis men’s singles to focus on his doubles campaign with Joe Salisbury. The women’s hockey team, who won in 2016, also had a rough start to their campaign with a loss to Germany in their Pool A match.
Team GB’s medal campaign really kicked into gear on day three with three golds before most of us had even got to work. Adam Peaty managed to become the first British swimmer to retain an Olympic title with his victory in the 100m breaststroke this morning. Soon after, diver Tom Daley finally clinched that gold medal after 13 years of trying and two bronzes since his first appearance in Beijing, the win finally came alongside his 10m synchro partner Matty Lee who claimed the medal on his Olympic debut. Minutes after the diving victory, mountain biker Tom Pidcock won gold by 20 seconds in the cross country event to make history with GB’s first ever Olympic medal in the sport. There was also a silver in the ‘Alistair Brownlee’less Triathlon as Alex Yee fought to a triumphant second, despite the other Brownlee brother, Jonny, missing out on his third medal after finishing fifth.
Tuesday came with yet another historic day for Team GB who won six medals in total. The morning saw the first time since 1912 that GB will finish a Games with two swimmers gaining golds and the first one-two finish for over 100 years. Tom Dean’s win in the men’s 200m freestyle means he joins Adam Peaty with a gold medal and Duncan Scott’s silver finish behind him gave the team their first swimming one-two finish since 1908, especially remarkable given the fact that Dean has contracted Covid-19 twice in the last year. More history was made later when the women’s gymnastics team came back from a rough start to gain a bronze, the first GB women’s team medal in the sport since 1928. The women’s Triathlon saw Georgia Taylor-Brown claim silver despite almost missing the event with a leg injury just 12 weeks ago. It was a busy day for the women’s Taekwondo team with Bianca Walkden winning her bronze medal match for the +67kg category and Lauren Williams getting a silver after a close fought -67kg final. The team Dressage event saw GB, meaning that Charlotte Dujardin became the joint most decorated female British Olympian ever.
Charlotte Dujardin was again the big story on day five of the Games after her bronze in the individual dressage event helped her surpass Dame Katherine Granger and Kitty McKane to become the most decorated female British Olympian of all time with six in total. Before that though, the day’s gold came again from Tom Dean who, joined by Duncan Scott, James Guy and Matthew Richards, won the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay in the pool. They finished with a time just 0.03 seconds out of the world record, surpassing the silver won by Team GB in the event in 2016. Another medal came in a mixed day for rowing with a silver in the men’s quadruple sculls despite the end of a five Olympics run of golds in the men’s four where the GB team finished fourth.
Thursday was a day of mixed fortunes for GB’s athletes with two medals won in Canoe Slalom and Shooting but near misses elsewhere. World champion Matthew Coward-Holley won the first medal of the day with bronze in the trap shooting final and was followed shortly after by Mallory Franklin who claimed a silver in women’s Canoe Slalom, the second medal ever in the sport for a British woman. It was even more close calls in Rowing though as Helen Glover and Polly Swann finished fourth in their event, and so did Emily Craig and Imogen Grant who missed out on a medal by 0.01 of a second for GB’s fifth fourth place in the rowing this year.
Friday saw the start of the athletics and the British Isles wake up to a whopping six medals for Team GB across four sports. It was a third medal for swimmer Duncan Scott who claimed a silver in the 200m individual medley to join his silver and gold from earlier this week, he was joined by Luke Greenback as well who backstroked to the bronze position in the 200m event. Also in the water, GB’s men managed to finish a tough rowing campaign with a bronze in the men’s eight final, although the rowing team finished the Games with their lowest medal tally since 1996 and their first without a gold since 1980. The gold of the day, and the first for a British woman this year, came thanks to Bethany Shriever who went from an outside chance of even getting to the final with a crowdfunded journey to the Games to winning the whole thing. She was supported by her training partner Kye White who had earlier taken the silver in the men’s race, making it a successful day for GB who had never won a medal in the event before. The final medal of the day, which also saw the women’s rugby sevens team get to the semi-finals, came thanks to Bryony Page who won GB’s second ever trampolining medal, she also won the first back in Rio.