65 Olympic medals: Team GB and ‘the miracle of Tokyo’
Britain finished fourth in the Tokyo 2020 medal table with 22 gold, 21 silver and 22 bronze
Postponed for a year and then playing to empty stadiums: this was in many ways a downbeat Olympics, said Ben Bloom in The Daily Telegraph. But it was a bumper one where Team GB was concerned. Its haul of 65 medals – equalling its tally at the 2012 London Games and just two short of the 67 won in Rio in 2016 – far exceeded expectations. In the final week, the medals had kept on coming: there was a gold apiece for husband-and-wife Laura and Jason Kenny, the “golden couple” of British cycling (with his victory in the keirin event, Jason became Britain’s most decorated Olympian ever, with seven gold medals to his name). There were golds in both the women and men’s modern pentathlon. And Tom Daley won his second medal of the games with a bronze in the 10-metre platform.
Yet for all its achievements, Team GB’s performance in Tokyo did not quite measure up to its showings at other recent Games, said James Gheerbrant in The Times. For one thing, the team won noticeably fewer golds – 22, compared with 29 in London and 27 in Rio. And its successes were less concentrated in the two sports that have “powered Great Britain’s Olympic revolution”: rowing and track cycling. By their high standards, Britain’s rowers had a “disastrous” Olympics, claiming just a silver and a bronze. And though the cyclists did far better, there was a shift away from the velodrome towards ancillary events – notably BMX, which yielded four medals. In short, this was an Olympics in which Britain underperformed in elite, “lavishly funded” sports, but triumphed in more “relatable, accessible” ones.
And nowhere more so than in boxing, said Rick Broadbent in The Times. Here, the team won six medals – its best showing in the modern era. Its two golds came on the final weekend. Galal Yafai, who six years ago was shifting boxes in a Land Rover factory, won the men’s flyweight division. And Lauren Price won the women’s middleweight. Price is a compelling figure, said Jim White in The Daily Telegraph. She was brought up in the Welsh valleys by her grandparents, after her parents had decided they couldn’t cope with her. When she was still a small girl her grandfather (who died of dementia last year) introduced her to kickboxing; she later took up football (while working part-time as a cab driver) and won 52 caps for Wales, before switching to boxing. When her victory over Li Qian of China was declared, she had a “little look up” to her late grandfather. “If it wasn’t for him and my nan,” she said, “I wouldn’t have achieved anything.” It was one of several remarkable Team GB victories, said Bloom in The Telegraph. No wonder the team’s chef de mission, Mark England, dubbed their overall performance “the miracle of Tokyo”.
From Chelsie Giles in judo to Lauren Price in boxing, we take a look at every medal won by Team GB at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games...