Image: Wikimedia Commons
Image: Wikimedia Commons

Tokyo 2020 – Day 5: Dujardin makes British history, GB swimmers win gold

On Day Five of the Tokyo Games, Charlotte Dujardin won the dressage bronze to become Britain’s most decorated female Olympian. It was a positive headline to end the day, which began on a high with Team GB’s swimmers securing Britain’s fifth Tokyo gold.

200m champion Tom Dean, silver medallist Duncan Scott, James Guy and Matthew Richards won the 4x200m freestyle relay in a phenomenal time of 6:58.58, 3.23 seconds clear of the second-placed Russian Olympic Committee. In the process, they set a new British record, European record and the third-fastest time in history. Their dominance in the pool was so impressive, the conversation almost immediately shifted to talk of them beating the freestyle world record and winning the event in Paris 2024.

In the quadruple sculls, Britain won its first medal since the discipline was introduced into the Games in 1976. Harry Leask, Angus Groom, Tom Barras and Jack Beaumont picked up the silver, holding off the Australian boat by 0.22 seconds – the gold went to the Netherlands team. Beaumont said: “We decided that, as we were in lane one with an outside chance of a medal, we were going to take it to them and we really did it.”

In the dressage, Dujardin was denied a third successive individual title by two German riders, Jessica von Bredow-Werndl on TSF Dalrea and Isabell Werth on Bella Rose II, but her impressive display (scoring 88.543% on the relatively inexperienced Gio), was enough for the bronze. It is her sixth Olympic medal (three golds, one silver, two bronzes), after winning a record-equalling fifth with a bronze in the team dressage a day before. “It is mind-blowing,” Dujardin said. “To think I have achieved all of that. It’s just so surreal.”

There were a number of disappointments for Team GB. In the men’s four rowing, a run of golds over the past five Olympics was ended with a fourth-place finish, due in part to some erratic steering over the final 500m, gifting the gold to Australia. In the 200m individual medley, Abbie Wood came within 0.11 seconds of a bronze, and the men’s rugby sevens side lost their bronze medal match against Argentina 17-12. Britain’s hopes of a tennis medal have now been ended – Liam Broady is out of the singles, while Andy Murray and Joe Salisbury were knocked out of the men’s doubles.

In the pool, the battle between the USA’s Katie Ledecky and Australian Ariane Titmus continued. In the women’s 200m freestyle, Ledecky’s weakest format, she finished fifth, her worst ever showing in an Olympic event – Titmus took gold, adding to the 400m freestyle gold she won on Monday. An hour later, Ledecky won the sixth gold of her career in the 1500m freestyle, winning in 15:37.34 and equalling the individual medal tally of legendary Hungarian Krisztina Egerszegi (only Michal Phelps has more individual swimming medals).

After pulling out of the women’s team final on Tuesday, US gymnast Simone Biles has now withdrawn from Thursday’s individual all-around final, citing a need to prioritise her mental wellbeing. Biles’ decision has received a lot of support from fellow athletes, and encouraged a conversation about the mental health of those competing at the Games.

Medal table:

  1. Japan

Gold (13), Silver (4), Bronze (5), Total (22)

  1. China

Gold (12), Silver (6), Bronze (9), Total (27)

  1. USA

Gold (11), Silver (11), Bronze (9), Total (31)

  1. Russian Olympic Committee

Gold (7), Silver (10), Bronze (6), Total (23)

  1. Australia

Gold (6), Silver (1), Bronze (9), Total (16)

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