Tokyo 2020 - Team GB’s backflippin’ brilliant BMX stars pave path for next generation – Tokyo Warm-Up
Four medals in the BMX and a great amount of exposure means Team GB are set to get the next generation heading for tracks across the UK in the coming weeks. Elsewhere, records were broken in the swimming pool, while a sit-in protest made headlines in the boxing. Coming up today – the men’s 100m final. You want it? We have it. Stream every Olympic event live on discovery+.
‘The first time in history!’ – Worthington claims gold with history-making backflip in BMX freestyle
Just before 3am we were glued to the screen as Charlotte Worthington went for BMX freestyle gold. She was a chef in Manchester four years ago when the sport was confirmed on the Tokyo 2020 programme, and here she was going for history-making tricks at an Olympic Games.
She initially failed to land the unprecedented 360 backflip in her first run, but had the courage to go for it again in her second.
It’s fair to say it paid off – and then some.
‘It is so easy to back down from that!’ – Worthington on the courage behind her history-making gold
It was the first of its kind EVER in women’s competition, and it put her top of the tree with three riders to go. Her score of 97.50 was the one to beat, and eventually it could not be toppled, sparking jubilant scenes from Worthington and the GB camp with her.
It didn’t take a BMX expert to understand what Worthington was doing was special. The handful of us watching from Eurosport HQ could not help but exclaim with awe as each flip and trick landed, and if we were inspired then just think of what a third BMX medal for GB at these Games will do for the youngsters around the country when they watch the replays this morning.
Oh… And did we say three medals? Make that four, with Declan Brooks winning bronze in the men’s freestyle to ensure GB earned a medal in every BMX discipline in Tokyo.
‘No one else is riding it like this!’ – Declan Brooks hits double backflip to seal bronze
Team GB have well and truly announced themselves as a BMX nation. For that, Shanaze Reade is among the trailblazers, and for their efforts in Tokyo we have Worthington, Beth Shriever, Brooks and Kye Whyte to thank, admire and applaud. Time to get pedalling.
What a Games for Team GB in the pool. A silver in the men’s 4x100m medley relay ensured they finished with eight swimming medals – the best British haul at an Olympics ever.
Four golds, three silvers, and one bronze makes for a remarkable return, and Adam Peaty’s unrelenting desire for more means Paris 2024 could be even better.
“I think because we’re all natural racers, we love to win, we love to scrap, there’s got to be a little bit of disappointment there. It’s a silver medal, we’re right next to the world record but the US stepped it up more,” Peaty said after GB lost out to the USA in the final race in the pool.
‘Pain’ of silver will help us come back stronger for Paris 2024, says Peaty
“That’s sport, and kudos to them, but we’ve got to feel the pain, because if we don’t how do we come back stronger for Paris?
“So we regret this moment, but also celebrate what we’ve had this week, we won’t lose touch of that. It’s amazing to see how far this team has come – especially from 2012 – we’ve completely U-turned it.
“Hopefully now the next generation, people watching, we want them to step through and have as much depth as America.”
PROTEST IN THE BOXING
Team GB are guaranteed of at least two silvers in the boxing, while super heavyweight Frazer Clarke is taking home at least a bronze after reaching the semis in dramatic circumstances.
After a walkover helped Pat McCormack reach the welter final, Ben Whittaker enjoyed a 4-1 win over ROC’s Imam Khataev to make the gold medal bout in the light heavy.
TOKYO, JAPAN - AUGUST 01: Mourad Aliev of Team France reacts after his fight against Frazer Clarke of Team Great Britain during the Men's Super Heavy (+91kg) quarter final on day nine of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Kokugikan Arena on August 01, 2021 i
Image credit: Eurosport
Then it was Clarke’s turn, in quarter-final action against Mourad Aliev, though the Brit had long left the ring after he was sent through, his French opponent hung around as he could not accept the result after he was disqualified for a headbutt.
It would be fair to say Aliev was not best pleased with the decision. He looked as though he would edge the tie if it had gone the distance, but a second clash of heads saw him contentiously DQ’d.
Aliev did not want to leave as the French delegation appealed the decision – though as it stands it’s Clarke who marches on.
STILL TO COME
A feast of action. It’s the men’s 100m final this afternoon at 1.50pm, and so you have the semi-finals to enjoy first at 11.15am. Also in athletics there’s the women’s triple jump final (from 12.15pm) and men’s high jump (from 11.10am).
Away from the track, there are also golds on offer in the artistic gymnastics, where the men are in floor (9am) and pommel horse (10.41am) action and the women on the vault (9.52am) and uneven bars (11.24am). Max Whitlock won both the floor and pommel horse five years ago and he’ll be going for the pommel double this time around.
You’ve also got the men’s tennis final between Alexander Zverev and Karen Khachanov, which takes place once the women’s doubles final finishes.
Keep an eye on the men’s hockey too, with the GB team taking on India in the quarter-finals from 1pm.
HEROES AND MORE HEROES
CaelebDressel is a machine. The American swimmer doesn’t even own a silver or bronze medal, but now has six golds to his name after winning the 50m freestyle. It was his fourth of Tokyo 2020 and at 24 he’s got at least another Olympics in him. For reference, Michael Phelps was 31 when he competed in his fourth and final Games.
‘The Dressel Show!’ – USA star powers to fourth Tokyo gold with dominant 50m freestyle display
Also: EmmaMcKeon is a machine. The Australian became the first female swimmer to win seven medals at a single Olympics. She won the 50m freestyle earlier today, adding to her – deep breath – 100m freestyle gold, women’s 4x100m freestyle relay gold, women’s 4x100m medley relay gold, mixed 4x100m medley relay bronze, 100m butterfly bronze, and women’s 4x200m freestyle relay bonze. Blimey.
Oh, and just gold medallist TomDaley causally knitting in the Aquatic Centre as he watches the women’s 3m springboard final. Cool as anything.
High risk, high reward. Worthington’s reaction was everything after a routine that will live long in the memory.
There’s plenty of incredible action to come later today but given it’s the first 100m men’s final where Usain Bolt will not win for 17 years, tuck into the most exciting races in HISTORY – according to Olympics’ own YouTube channel anyway.