Will Day 11 at Tokyo 2020 go down as one of the greatest in Great Britain’s Olympic history?
Well, the headlines saluting ‘Tremendous Tuesday’ and overall myriad of medals suggests it could certainly get a mention in the discussion.
Whether that will stand the test of time in terms of recalling days packed with iconic moments remains to be seen. But first, let’s revel in a recap of the success stories from the day.
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We saw Team GB stack up no fewer than eight medals – their highest tally across one day of the Games so far – with Jason Kenny’s silver in the cycling team pursuit moving the unassuming cyclist from Farnworth level with Sir Bradley Wiggins on the all-time leaderboard.
Kenny has eight medals in total but is now regarded as our most decorated Olympian because his haul of six golds and two silver means he has one more gold than Wiggins. The 33-year-old can also boast that he lives in a household where GB’s Olympic power couple reside as his wife, Laura, also took silver in the same event in the women’s competition, to boost her own collection to five (four gold, one silver).
Not bad at all, especially with the possibility of more medals to come. The omnium and madison events are yet to feature with Laura still hoping to become the first British woman to win gold at three separate Olympics.
Of course, it wasn’t all about the Izu Velodrome. Day 11 started with a double gold rush in the Sailing. Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell triumphed in the men’s 49er while Giles Scott successfully defended his title from Rio in the Finn. John Gimson and Anna Burnet topped off a great day on the sea with silver in the mixed Nacra 17 class.
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It leaves no doubt that Britannia have ruled the waves in Japan, notching up more medals than any other sailing team with four so far.
The good news didn’t stop there either. Team GB’s first athletics medal arrived in the shape of 19-year-old superstar-in-the-making Keely Hodgkinson, who not only claimed silver in the 800m, but also set a new British record.
Eurosport expert Greg Rutherford hailed her as ‘a force to be reckoned with – and a future champion’ on Tokyo Today and it was hard not to be blown away by the teenager's strong finish.
Elsewhere, GB's Pat McCormack won welterweight British silver in boxing while Jack Laugher overcame issues with his mental health to finish third in the men's 3m springboard in the diving.
So, Day 11 was indeed, gr-eight. GB claimed a 13th gold of the Games and currently sit sixth in the medal table. But how does that compare to previous all-conquering 24-hour periods?
Is it in the running as the finest ever? This scribe would have to say no, but that’s not to undersell the magnificent achievements of our athletes in Tokyo.
Nine years ago on home soil GB matched today’s haul of eight on Day 9 but it was actually ‘Super Saturday’ that has gone down in folklore when the team won one medal fewer.
The men's coxless four and women's double sculls did the business in the rowing and then the women's cycling team pursuit set the tone before a spellbinding 44 minutes at the Olympic stadium saw Jessica Ennis-Hill, Mo Farah and Rutherford clinch athletics titles in front of 80,000 fans to conclude a six-gold blitz.
Watch: The best of Team GB's historic 'Super Saturday'
It remains the most famous day in recent memory at the Games for GB but it has actually been surpassed in terms of numbers on several occasions.
GB also won nine medals on Day 11 in Rio and 10 on Day 8 in Beijing in 2008. However, 'Super Saturday' was regarded as Britain's most successful day in 104 years at the time as a result of the flurry of golds.
Measuring the success of a specific day is obviously a tricky affair. Do you simply go by the daily medal total or the colours? If so, you probably do have to go as far back as London 1908 when GB ended up accumulating a ridiculous sum of 146 medals on home soil to top the medals table. Given that’s well over a century ago, that’s a tough sell to youngsters currently being inspired by the impact of the likes of Adam Peaty, Bethany Shriever and Max Whitlock.
There are also days and moments that people remember exactly where they were for specific triumphs even if GB did not enjoy success across such a wide spectrum of sports.
What about the day Linford Christie won gold in Barcelona in 1992 or when Sir Steve Redgrave went back on his vow to ‘never get back in a rowing boat again’ to claim a fifth gold in rowing at Sydney 2000? Then there’s Daley Thompson winning the decathlon in 1980 and 1984 as well as the rivalry of Seb Coe and Steve Ovett. Of course, these were not part of a medal rush, so is it all about numbers or do iconic moments within a less successful day create the greater legacy?
‘Super Saturday’ would suggest the mix of a good haul of medals as well as spectacular gold-led stories is the key to a day being crowned as the greatest in Britain’s Olympic history. This remains the ‘gold’ standard for our athletes to aspire to and the benchmark that benefits from the unique aspect of being a ‘home’ Games.
So, August 3, 2021 may not quite live up to some of our other medal-strewn days since the turn of the millennium, but whether you call it ‘Tremendous or Terrific Tuesday’ it was still glorious. So far it has been GB’s strongest day of Tokyo 2020 and we are no doubt all hoping that it will be remembered as the springboard for the team to go on and finish these Games with a real flourish.
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