With the start of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo imminent, amongst a packed sporting summer in the UK, British sport is in an exciting place! This is why we wanted to take the opportunity to relive some of the magic moments Great Britain has enjoyed at the Summer Olympic Games over the years before we all get stuck into the 2021 edition.
Great Britain is one of just three nations, along with France and Switzerland, to have competed at every Summer and Winter Olympics since the inception in 1896. It has a fantastic history of winning medals at the Games too, sitting third overall globally in terms of medal won and fourth in terms of Gold Medals.
This year’s event in Tokyo will be the 32nd Summer Olympic Games and given the delay due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is highly anticipated and should provide an amazing spectacle.
So, what better way to whet the appetite for the upcoming Games than look back at some of GB’s finest moments from past and present heroes…
Super Saturday at London 2012
Where else could we start but with probably the greatest day in GB’s Olympic history. In front of a packed crowd at London’s Olympic Stadium, three athletes wrote themselves into British sporting folklore… all in the space of 45 minutes!
Jessica Ennis-Hill kicked off the action by breaking her own British to take gold in the heptathlon, and was shortly followed by Greg Rutherford, who won gold in the long jump with a huge 8.31m leap. The day was capped off by Mo Farah, who stormed his way to a stunning 10,000m gold medal.
This all came after an amazing start to the day for GB, which saw golds in two rowing events – men’s coxless four Alex Gregory, Tom James, Pete Reed and Andrew Triggs-Hodge completed their victory, before Kat Copeland and Sophie Hoskings took gold in the women’s lightweight double sculls. A gold in the cycling for women’s team pursuit trio Dani King, Joanna Rowsell Shand and Laura Trott completed the set and a stunning day of sport.
The 2012 Opening Ceremony
Whilst not one from the track, it would be impossible not to think of London 2012’s Opening Ceremony as one of the nation’s greatest Olympic achievements. After the bidding process began way back in July 2003, huge amounts of planning and preparation went into an incredible spectacle to start of a memorable event.
The opening ceremony was given the name “Isles of Wonder” and represented the great and the good of the nation, with Danny Boyle brought in as artistic director and Underworld’s Rick Smith taking charge of music direction.
A host of talent was on display, from Daniel Craig as James Bond and Rowan Atkinson as Mr Bean, to the London Symphony Orchestra, Arctic Monkeys, Dizzee Rascal, and the great Sir Paul McCartney. Audience figures peaked at more than 27 million on a memorable opening night.
Dame Kelly gets double gold
The reaction of Kelly Holmes after completing her first gold medal at the 2004 Athens Games is to be forever etched in the memory of Olympics fans.
Having battled injuries throughout her career, she claimed an incredible victory in the 800m which produced that amazing reaction upon crossing the line, and just a few days later she became the first Briton to win the Olympic middle-distance double in 84 years as she won the 1500m.
Mo repeats double in Rio
Mo Farah sealed his place as the most successful British Olympic track and field athlete of all time at the Rio Olympics in 2016 with a memorable 5,000m and 10,000m double gold, repeating his feat from London 2012 four years earlier.
The first victory, in the 10,000m, was not straightforward after being accidentally tripped by a fellow athlete, but he staged a superb recovery to win gold. A week later he retained his 5,000m title to make it four golds on the spin.
Barcelona ’92 – Christie, Gunnell and Redmond
This Olympic truly showed the highs and lows of being an athlete at the top level. When Linford Christie pipped world record holder Leroy Burrell to the 100m champion (the oldest in the event’s history, at 32) and Sally Gunnell secured a thrilling win in the 400m hurdles, GB could herald two great champions.
Things did not go to a similar plan for 400m runner, Derek Redmond. Halfway through the semi-final his hamstring popped. But the devastation soon turned to adulation, as in a moment of amazing Olympic spirit, Redmond refused to give up and was helped by his father Jim to limp across the line and complete the race.
Wiggins writes name into history as most decorated British Olympian
Bradley Wiggins concluded a staggeringly successful Olympic career at Rio 2016 with a fifth gold medal, and eight medals in total.
His Olympic career began at Sydney 2000 where he contributed to a bronze medal in the team pursuit and among many highlights was a home gold at London 2012 in a year when Wiggins was at the peak of his powers. Having become the first Briton to win the Tour de France, he took a gold in the road time trial – Wiggins went on to win Sports Personality of the Year following his achievements.
The “Real McHoy” seals Beijing hattrick
Chris Hoy is another of Great Britain’s most decorated Olympians, with an incredible six gold medals. He enjoyed a fantastic home Olympics in 2012, winning two gold medals, but it was four years earlier in Beijing when he reached the top.
Hoy became the first Briton in 100 years to win three golds at one Games, when he completed a team spring gold with teammates Jason Jenny and Jamie Staff, followed by individual gold medals in the individual sprint and keirin events.
Redgrave’s fifth and final
Undoubtedly one of GB’s greatest-ever Olympians, Steve Redgrave began his story at the Games back in 1984 with a gold medal in the coxed four. Three more Olympics followed at Seoul, Barcelona and Atlanta, along with three more gold medals.
After at Atlanta though, he famously said that if anyone found him near a rowing boat again, they could shoot him. Despite this, he couldn’t stay away, and a few months later he was back in the boat with his eyes set on Sydney 2000. He duly pulled a final performance out of the bag alongside teammates Matthew Pinsent, James Cracknell and Tim Foster to beat the Italian quartet by just 0.38 seconds and seal and fairy tale finish.
We hope this has got you warmed up for what promises to be an amazing event as we enjoy a sporting summer that has shown some great signs for things returning to something like normal.
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