Olympics day three: ‘Magic Monday’ for Team GB with three golds as Peaty and Daley triumph | Other | Sport
Team GB enjoyed a brilliant day three, dubbed ‘Magic Monday’, at the Tokyo Olympics as they picked up three golds and two silvers to extend their overall medal total to seven. Great Britain are fifth in the medal table with hosts Japan ahead of USA at the summit.
Adam Peaty kickstarted Great Britain’s gold medal rush in Tokyo and hopes his achievement can lift the mood of the nation after revealing he has spent every day of the last 18 months “almost in the dark”.
Peaty became the first British swimmer to successfully defend an Olympic title after roaring to victory in the men’s 100 metres breaststroke final in 57.37 seconds, the fifth fastest time in the history of the event.
His coronation has seemed inevitable for a while as not only is he unbeaten in major competitions over the distance in seven years, his personal best of 56.88s is almost a second quicker in the event than anyone else in history.
But the 26-year-old, who was followed to gold by diving duo Tom Daley and Matty Lee and cyclist Tom Pidcock on a memorable Monday for Team GB, admitted the Covid-19 pandemic has brought its own unique challenges.
“Sport has an amazing power to inspire people and an amazing motivation for people this morning getting up in Britain who have been through a tough time,” said Peaty.
“These last 18 months, every single day has almost been in the dark. Covid has taken a lot of fun out of things. We have been at home a long time.
“All these days we spend, if you put into a percentage, it’s 99.9 per cent in the dark, searching for a bit of light, then the 0.01 per cent was that performance. That’s why I put that amount of investment into what I do.
“Hopefully this is a catalyst for not only Team GB but also the people back home to go to another gear and say we’ve been through a tough time, there is a lot of complaining, a lot of excuses, just negative things, but you’ve got to switch your mindset and that’s exactly what we had to do.”
New Olympic diving champion Daley relished a dream come true as he won the synchronised 10m platform with Lee. They beat China by just 1.23 points after a flawless performance left the Team GB pair with a top score of 471.81.
Daley made his Olympic debut as a 14-year-old in Beijing before finishing third in the 10m platform in London and synchronised 10m platform in Rio.
Daley and Lee were not expected to win, with China the favourites, but they never dropped out of the top two, winning following an exceptional forward four-and-a-half somersaults pike when the pressure was on in the final round.
China’s poor fourth-round dive let the Team GB pair take the lead and they never looked back, with the ROC claiming bronze.
“It’s kind of unbelievable. I dreamt, as has Matty, since I started diving 20 years ago for this moment,” said Daley.
“I thought I was going to win an Olympic gold in Rio and that turned out the complete opposite by a long shot. My husband said to me my story wasn’t finished and my son needed to be there to watch me win an Olympic gold medal.
“I can say my son watched me become an Olympic champion, albeit on TV as they couldn’t be here. It’s such a great feeling.”
Elsewhere, Pidcock blew the opposition apart to win gold in the men’s Olympics mountain bike race when he seized control after four laps of the 4.1km Izu circuit and was never challenged.
He said: “It’s nothing like any other race. The Olympics just transcends any sport. You compete and represent your country and everyone in your country is behind you, no matter in what sports they like. It’s just national pride, it’s unbelievable.”
Briton Lauren Williams narrowly missed out on gold in an exciting Olympic taekwondo final in the women’s -67kg category on Monday.
Croatia’s Matea Jelic converted a three-point deficit into a lead to take the gold medal away from Briton Williams in the final seconds.
Welsh-born Williams, who collected Team Britain’s second silver medal in taekwondo after Bradly Sinden’s on Sunday, said she was “gutted” by the result but took it in her stride.
“To be 22 and stood on the Olympic podium is incredible,” she said. “This is what I’ve worked all my life for – obviously it’s the wrong colour but I’m really enjoying myself.”
Japan meanwhile shot to the top of the medal tally with eight golds on Monday night when mixed doubles partners Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito upset China in a table tennis thriller.
Organisers, however, reported 16 new Olympics-related coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of cases to 148.