After Super Saturday at London 2012, there was Magic Monday in Tokyo as British athletes won three gold medals in the space of a few hours.
Adam Peaty was Britain’s banker and did not disappoint, storming to victory in the 100 metres breaststroke to become the first British swimmer to retain an Olympic title.
The 26-year-old is unbeaten in seven years and now owns the 17 fastest times in history. He was as close to a sure thing as it is possible to get.
Peaty said: “It just means the world to me. I thought I had the best preparation but morning finals changed everything and threw that out of window.”
“I felt the pressure but I needed to put myself on edge. You can do whatever you want in your own pool but when it comes to being out here it’s not about a time.
“I was racing myself. It wasn’t about the time but the race.
“Thanks to the nation for being behind me for five years and my family and my beautiful boy.”
Peaty’s success turned into a gold rush in the afternoon in the Japan when divers Tom Daley and Matty Lee claimed a stunning victory in the 10-metre synchronised platform event, before 21-year-old Tom Pidcock dominated the men’s mountain bike race.
Daley made his Olympic debut back in 2008 aged only 14 and has been in the spotlight ever since, enduring the death of his father and biggest supporter Rob when still a teenager and then coming out in 2013.
He had two bronze medals to his name from London and Rio but, at the age of 27, has finally won the gold he coveted alongside debutant Lee, with the pair producing a stunning final dive to defeat the Chinese favourites.
“It’s kind of unbelievable. I’ve dreamt, as has Matty, since I started diving 20 years ago for this moment of becoming an Olympic champion,” said Daley.
“To take it to my fourth Olympic Games when I think a lot of people would have not considered it to be my peak Olympic Games, I thought I was going to win an Olympic gold medal in Rio and that turned out the complete opposite by a long shot.
“It was my husband [Dustin Lance Black] who said to me my story wasn’t finished and that my son or child, we didn’t know at the time, needed to be there to watch me win an Olympic gold medal.”
Lee said: “In 2018 I moved my whole life to London from Leeds, I had nothing really in London.
“Our aim was to get an Olympic medal and for it to go the way we wanted it to is awesome.
“I owe a lot to Tom because he has taught me a lot.”
Pidcock is also an Olympic champion at the age of just 21 after a fearless display in Izu.
He started on the fourth row of the race but quickly got himself into the leading group and powered his way past the Swiss pair of Mathias Flueckiger and Nino Schurter to take control on the fourth of seven laps.
Flueckiger was the only man who could even remotely keep up, as Pidcock won by 20 seconds, even having time to snatch a Union Flag and hold it aloft as he crossed the line.
When asked how it felt to win gold, Pidcock told Eurosport: “Not real really. It’s pretty crazy that I became an Olympian and I was trying to tell myself at the start of the race it’s special just to be here.”
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His victory comes less than two months after he suffered a broken collarbone in a training crash on the road.
Meanwhile, Alex Yee also earned a silver medal in the triathlon.
The 22-year-old from Lewisham, south London, moved into the lead during the run but could not prevent Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt from taking gold.
And there was heartbreak for Lauren Williams who narrowly missed out on gold in the 67kg taekwondo final.
Williams led by three points with 10 seconds to go but a late rally from Croatia’s Matea Jelic forced the Briton to settle for silver.
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