Image: Marc / flickr
Image: Marc / flickr

Tokyo 2020 – Day 11: Team GB medal rush, Biles back in action

It was an eight-medal rush for Team GB on Day 11, with history made across the Games – records were shattered, big names made comebacks or retired, and Britain saw a new most decorated Olympian crowned.

The day got off to a solid start in the water with three sailing medals. Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell clinched the men’s 49er gold, and Giles Scott retain his men’s Finn title shortly after. John Gimson and Anna Burnet earned Britain’s third sailing medal of the day in the mixed Nacra 17, taking the silver after being guaranteed a medal going into the final race. Fletcher and Bithell led for most of the medal race, facing sparing opposition from New Zealand’s Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, while Scott’s fourth-place finish was enough to guarantee a gold after winning six of the 10 opening races.

In the cycling, Jason Kenny won a record-equalling eighth Olympic medal with silver in the team sprint, minutes after wife Laura took team pursuit silver. The women’s team of Kenny, Katie Archibald, Neah Evans and Josie Knight performed strongly, but they were beaten by a dominant German side which set a phenomenal new world record of 4:04.242. The GB team won silver with a time of 4:10.607. In the men’s sprint, Kenny, Ryan Owens and Jack Carlin lost their final to the Netherlands team, with a time of 44.589 to the Dutch 41.369, an Olympic record. Jason Kenny now has six gold and two silver medals and shares the status of most decorated British Olympian with Sir Bradley Wiggins.

There were more medals to come. 19-year-old Keely Hodgkinson won Britain’s first athletic medal of the Games, coming second in the women’s 800m and breaking Dame Kelly Holmes’ record with a time of 1:55.58. Jack Laugher won bronze in the men’s 3m springboard, while Pat McCormack took silver after the men’s welterweight final, beaten by Cuba’s Roniel Iglesias. But not every athlete scored a medal – in the men’s 200m, medal hope Adam Gemili injured his hamstring in the heats.

In the men’s team pursuit, GB’s hope of a fourth straight gold ended after a crash caused by Danish rider Frederik Madsen, riding straight into the back of British rider Charlie Tanfield. The event was a contentious one – a number of teams called for the Danes to be penalised after using illegal equipment in Monday’s qualifying session, and the announcement of GB veteran Ed Clancy’s sudden retirement due to a back injury. After deliberations, cycling’s governing body allowed Denmark to advance to tomorrow’s final against Italy, meaning GB will not pick up a medal in the event.

There were more records to break out on the track. In the men’s 400m hurdles, Norway’s Karsten Warholm set a new world record of 45.94 seconds to take the gold. Jamaica’s reigning champion Elaine Thompson-Herah ran the second fastest women’s 200m (21.53 seconds) to clinch an unprecedented female sprint double-double.

Meanwhile, Simone Biles made a triumphant comeback in the women’s beam final, winning bronze. She had not competed since last week’s team final, but returned for the final day of artistic gymnastics. She scored 14.000 with a solid routine – China’s Guan Chenchen scored 14.633 to win the gold medal, while her compatriot Tang Xijing won the silver with a score of 14.233. After the event, Biles said: “I didn’t expect a medal today, I just wanted to go out there for me and that’s what I did. I was proud of myself just to go out there after what I’ve been through.”


Medal table:

  1. China

Gold (32), Silver (21), Bronze (16), Total (69)

  1. USA

Gold (24), Silver (28), Bronze (21), Total (73)

  1. Japan

Gold (19), Silver (6), Bronze (11), Total (36)

  1. Australia

Gold (14), Silver (4), Bronze (15), Total (33)

  1. Russian Olympic Committee

Gold (13), Silver (21), Bronze (18), Total (52)

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